Rescuers save dog who was trapped in narrow crevice for five days

Sometimes dogs get themselves stuck in some pretty tricky places and need some human help getting free. Thankfully, there are dedicated rescue teams willing to go the extra mile to save pets from even the most difficult situations.

On October 7, a woman from Ulster County, New York was walking her 12-year-old dog Liza near near Gertrude’s Nose Trail in Minnewaska State Park Preserve, according to a press release from New York State Parks.

But their day out turned into a nightmare situation after Liza slipped into a deep, narrow crevice.

The dog could be heard barking, but was completely out-of-sight.

New York State Parks/Press Release

Parks staff arrived on the scene to help, but the space was so narrow they couldn’t reach the dog. They began a days-long operation to try and get a camera down the crevice to get a sense of the dog’s condition.

After five days of unsuccessful attempts, the rescue operation finally made a breakthrough as a team consisting of volunteers from the Ulster County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and volunteer cave rescue specialists from New Jersey Initial Response Team arrived on the scene.

New York State Parks/Press Release

The NJIRT members were finally able to locate Liza with a camera, and thankfully the dog was alive and unharmed, even after multiple days with no food or water.

After locating the dog, it was up to volunteer Jessica Van Ord to brave the tight space and get hold of Liza using a modified catch pole.

New York State Parks/Press Release

“This was a tight vertical fissure leading to an even tighter horizontal crack,” said Mark Dickey, Chief of the New Jersey Initial Response Team. “Only Jessica Van Ord, our smallest team member, was able to squeeze and contort herself more than 40 feet from the surface to reach the dog.”

New York State Parks/Press Release

Thankfully, the rescue operation was a success. Liza was lifted to the surface, and was soon reunited with her owner. While she was understandably hungry and thirsty, she was unharmed.

“It’s always heartwarming to not only have such a positive outcome in cases like this, but also to see so many people come together, putting themselves at risk, to save an animal’s life,” said Gina Carbonari, Executive Director of the Ulster County SPCA. “We were all concerned the dog had not survived until Jessica was able to get closer and hear movement.”

New York State Parks/Press Release

While this story has a happy ending, parks staff emphasized that the dog should have been kept on a leash — a rule meant to prevent accidents like this from happening in the first place.

“This incident is a reminder that the rules requiring dogs to be kept on-leash are an important way to protect loved pets, their owners, and the park’s fragile resources,” said Palisades Interstate Park Commission Executive Director Joshua Laird.

“This incident is a reminder that a single misstep, whether by animal, child, or even adult, near caves or cliffs can be deadly,” Mark Dickey said.

“The rejoicing on the surface to that news was just incredible and renewed everyone’s motivation to get this little dog to safety,” Gina Barbonari said. “Every person there played a role in making this happen – an amazing team effort by multiple agencies.”