Cavers Rescue Trapped Coonhound in Illinois

An Illinois coonhound gets rescued after being trapped in a cave for three days. From this amazing story in the … Continued

An Illinois coonhound gets rescued after being trapped in a cave for three days.

From this amazing story in the Chicago Tribune:
Dogs are renowned for loyalty to their owners, but sometimes it works the other way, too. Just ask Jared Gamboe, who stood vigil outside of a cave that he believed his dog was trapped inside for three days.

An avid raccoon hunter, Gamboe went out to the wooded area near Indian Lake Road in Delhi last Sunday night to hunt with two of his buddies and four dogs altogether. When the hunters unleashed their dogs, two ran off in one direction and two ran off in another. Gamboe’s 2-year-old Treeing Walker coonhound, Threat, was one of the dogs that boldly ran off in pursuit of raccoons. “Within 15 minutes, I knew something was wrong, because I lost the signal from Threat’s GPS collar, and Paul (Young) lost contact with his dog, Cassie, at the same time,” Gamboe said.

_Resolved to find Threat or at least to find out what happened to him, Gamboe returned to the area just a few hours later. Gamboe calculated that Threat could have gone only approximately 200 yards before the signal dropped, so he focused his rescue efforts within this radius. While combing the area, he noticed dog tracks, so he followed them up a ditch to where he discovered a small cave. The cave was hidden from view by a rock overhang, leading into a narrow tunnel. “I thought he was probably gone, but I wasn’t ready to give up on him,” he said. “I had read on a website about a dog who lasted 14 days in a cave, so I was going to keep going back for two weeks.” Against all odds, Gamboe finally heard a muted yelp from inside the cave on Wednesday morning. Gamboe immediately called his wife, screaming over the telephone the good news that Threat still was alive.

Calling his friends for help, Gamboe once again tried to go down into the cave to rescue his beloved dog, but he couldn’t reach him. Although both the Jersey County fire and police departments came to the scene, neither was able to help, because they only can participate in the rescue of humans from cave entrapment…Jim Sherrel, president of the MMV Cave Club, called to offer help. He sent out e-mails and called fellow cavers, who responded to her anguished plea immediately. Because she was the smallest caver, Kristin Nicolussi was the only volunteer who could reach Threat, crawling some of the way on her hands and knees, but mostly inching forward on her belly in the confined space, some 2 feet wide.

“When I got down there, I could see the white part of his belly moving,” Nicolussi said. “His head was lodged between the top of the cave and a rock, and he was lying on his belly with his front paws caught and his back legs splayed out. He couldn’t move until I freed his head.” Nicolussi said that Threat whined a bit while she was freeing him, and that once he realized he could move, he pushed past her to get out. To everyone’s surprise, Threat walked out on his own power, picking up his pace and wagging his tail the moment he spotted Jared Gamboe.

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