A dog has been rescued after being trapped in a narrow, rocky crevice of an upstate New York park for five days without food or water, authorities said.
The 12-year-old dog named Liza had been hiking with a woman when the small, furry pooch fell out of sight into a passage Oct. 7 in Minnewaska State Park Preserve in Ulster County, state park officials said.
Park authorities weren’t immediately able to get into the tight fissure to help the barking dog and spent the following days getting a camera into the narrow area to check on the animal’s condition.
On Tuesday, the operation called in two members of the New Jersey Initial Response Team, a volunteer group specializing in cave rescues, to attempt to get into the passage.
Rescuer Jessica Van Ord — the smallest of the group — was ultimately able to force her way into the crevice, shimmying all the way down to the flat dirt bottom.
“Luckily, I could still stand, albeit sideways, and I could turn my head if I needed to by fiddling with my helmet,” she said in a Facebook post.
Once she spotted the pooch, she used a hot dog hanging from the end of a modified catchpole to get her to put her head into a loop.
“Dangling the food above her, the dog perked up and sat up on her hind legs to reach the food. Cheers could be heard from people watching on the camera,” she said.
Another rescuer nearby then helped secure the loop in order to bring the dog to safety.
“Finally lassoing the dog, we pulled her up and I breathed a sigh of relief as I grabbed her furry little body. ‘I got the dog!’ I yelled, and heard cheers above,” she said.
Mark Dickey, chief of the New Jersey Initial Response Team, commended Ord for her brave efforts.
“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,” Dickey said in a statement. “This incident is a reminder that a single misstep, whether by animal, child, or even adult, near caves or cliffs can be deadly.”