Lady's night: Firefighters rescue dog stuck in sinkhole

·2 min read

Dec. 22—BLUFFTON — Talk about paws and effect.

When the Numbers' family dog, Lady, went missing Monday, they were on the verge of calling it a night after searching for six hours, until 10:30 p.m.

That's when Josh Numbers had a hunch — along with his cellphone flashlight — to search the Herr farm's field.

"By a miracle, I found the dog in a sinkhole," Numbers said, noting the crater was 4 or 5 feet deep. He and wife, Hope Davis, began digging with shovels, to no avail.

Given their sinking feeling, the couple called a dispatcher to notify Beaverdam-Richland Fire & Rescue, whose team members arrived at the field within 20 minutes.

"We soon realized that it was a job for professionals," Davis said. "We didn't want to collapse the hole, because the dog's hindquarters were stuck in a broken tile."

The 16-year-old chocolate canine is owned by Terry Numbers, whose maiden name was Herr and whose family has owned farms in Bluffton for generations.

Beaverdam-Richland Fire Chief Shawn Allgire said the rescue effort took approximately eight minutes from the time he arrived.

"Our crew began digging and fractured the tile with tools," he said.

Among those assisting on the scene Monday night were firefighters Curt Neubauer, Isaac Inmon and Tracey Bauer; probationary firefighter Dean Hovest; probationary EMTs Tabatha Hovest and Nebraska Montgomery; and Lt. Ed Montgomery.

Allgire said he couldn't recall any previous occasion with an animal trapped in a tile.

"I've seen dogs fall through ice on a frozen pond," he said.

When Lady was pulled to safety, her Christmas collar remained intact.

"It was a group effort," Davis said. "The Beaverdam firefighters deserve all of the highest praise for bringing Lady safely out of the tile and hole. We are ever thankful for their skill and swiftness."

Reach James Luksic at 567-242-0399.