A Lewisville man's dog is alive and well after tumbling down a 50 foot mine shaft on Friday night. Extensive search and rescue efforts in Clark County helped save his life.
Meet Chester: A 6-year-old English Pointer. He's recovering from a near-death experience, and his owner, from a scary 24 hours.
"You put that much time into a dog, you get emotionally attached," said Hubert Quade. "They're family."
Quade was flying his falcons in the Crooked Creek area west of Dubois on Friday afternoon and training his bird dog.
When it was time to go home, Chester was nowhere to be found. Using a tracking device, Quade followed the signal on Chester's collar to a dark, five-foot-by-five-foot hole in the ground. It was an un-marked mine shaft 50 feet deep.
"You feel helpless, you know," said Quade. "I went back to car and dialed 911 because that's the only thing I knew to do."
Clark County Chief Deputy Boyd Eddins arrived on the scene, harnessing himself to a truck to lean in and get a closer look.
He saw Chester alive and well. So Eddins called for search and rescue.
"You know, it's a dog. How far do you really go?" said Eddins. "On the other hand, it's someone's pet and family member."
The team used a tow truck for the first time ever. The boom was directly above the open hole for a straight entry.
Hooked onto steel cables, Eddins was lowered down to greet Chester and his wagging tail.
"I know he sensed that, 'This is my way out of here,'" said Eddins.
The successful mission brought Chester back to his owner's arms.
Eddins said the land belongs to the Bureau of Land Management.
Quade, and the Clark Co. Sheriff's Office, will be asking that the empty wells and mine shafts be filled before the next victim is a person.
"We're taxpayers. This is our land," said Quade. "It should be taken care of so it doesn't happen to the wrong person."
"It's no doubt in my mind. An individual would have been killed," said Eddins. "If not, it would be really tough to get an injured individual out of a situation like that."
As for Chester, he's found some perks in his black eye and bruised leg.
"He's getting extra treats. He got some extra breakfast sausage," said Quade.
Sausage, and a lot of extra love.
Quade said he had a different dog fall into a similar hole in the same area about 10 years ago and reported it to the BLM.
Calls to the BLM were not returned.