Rescuing a Dog in an Unlikely Predicament

A Maryland pup was saved after falling into a dry well.
By JoAnna Lou, August 2016
Mabel with Harford County Technical Rescue Crew Chief Dan Lemmon
Earlier this month, a Saint Bernard in Perryman, Maryland found herself in an unlikely predicament—stuck at the bottom of a 30-foot dry well. Her family noticed Mabel was missing when they went to refill a play pool for her in the backyard. After looking everywhere, they decided to reconsider checking their well, which seemed unlikely because of the heavy lid. Too scared to look themselves, a neighbor ended up bringing a flashlight to peer in. To everyone's surprise, there was Mabel staring back up at them.

It's not exactly easy to rescue a dog from a 30 foot well, but fortunately Mabel had some incredible people on her side. First a hazmat team checked the air quality in the well before giving Daniel Lemmon, a firefighter with the Harford County Technical Rescue Team, the go ahead to rappel down. From there he gave Mabel a treat and harnessed her up. Mabel was then lifted her out using a pulley system.

As Daniel says, "It's a whole team effort. Sometimes we forget all those parts, but without them it just doesn’t work."

Although it was a complicated rescue, Mabel made it as easy as possible. According to Daniel, Mabel was on her best behavior. "She was so cooperative the whole time, no issues at all, didn’t snap at me, didn’t bark. If there’s someone who’s the star of this, it’s really the dog."

As soon as Mabel was lifted to safety, she immediately began jumping around, too excited to even drink water. Everyone was in disbelief that she survived the fall without any injuries.

No one knows how long Mabel was stuck in the well, or how she even got in there in the first place. Perhaps she was looking for a place to escape the 100 degree heat that day. Only Mabel will know for sure!

JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

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