'Maverick' dog pulled out of pit after 72 hours

Chicago: A 12-year-old German shepherd, named Maverick, had a near-death experience in the US state of Missouri after he was buried in a sinkhole for 72 hours.

Maverick, after being rescued. Pic/Southern Platte Fire department
Maverick, after being rescued. Pic/Southern Platte Fire department

The hunt for Maverick started on February 4 after he wandered from his home in Parkville, north of Kansas City, said Lisa Van Valkenburgh, his owner. Hours turned into days as the entire Van Valkenburgh family searched for their missing pooch.

One day while Lisa Van Valkenburgh was walking outside her home she heard a faint howl coming from under the ground. At first, she thought her dog was in the ditch below, stuck in a drainpipe. “A man stopped to help me when he saw a sinkhole at the side of the road.” Her dog was buried alive, clinging on to life. Van Valkenburgh's son and husband came to try to dig the dog out, but Maverick was sucked into the mud and very weak. The family then called rescue authorities for help. It took rescue crews almost two hours to dig Maverick out.

Once he was rescued, the weak and lifeless pooch had to be rushed to the local emergency vet hospital. It took veterinarians nearly an hour to stabilise Maverick, as he was severely dehydrated. One of Maverick's teeth punctured his lip and broke off as he fell through the hole. But, he gained enough strength to return home.

However, Maverick will no longer wander out of his yard since his electric collar has been traded for a tethered leash.

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