Brooklyn the Bulldog in New South Wales, Australia slipped through his collar in hot pursuit of a wombat recently, chasing it straight down into its complex tunnel system. Fire and rescue teams began a search when owner Charlie Griffith realized what had happened, employing the gamut of sophisticated technology to track the dog underground.
Brooklyn’s barking was the search team’s primary tracking tool in addition to a fibre optic camera and high-quality microphones, but neither made much progress and the barking eventually stopped. “He’s my security, my best friend, said Griffith, “his breathing sounds good so hopefully he’s just going to come out with a few scratches.”
After three whole days, the “official” rescue was called off. I cannot begin to imagine how deep Griffith’s heart dropped. He commented:
I’ve had no sleep for three days and I’m just beside myself. My greatest fear for Brooky’s coming true—that he’ll be left down there to die.
Hope was waning and the life-saving technology provided by authorities was no longer available. Luckily, firefighters would have to have to try a little harder to break the community’s spirit, because a group of more than one-hundred people, including the RSPCA, refused to give up. Instead of cameras and microphones, they used shovels, torches, and their bare hands to continue the effort.
Dogs cannot survive much longer than three days without water, and Brooklyn was pushing the limit. The team used PVC pipe to funnel the sound of the dog’s barks, constantly digging to find which tunnel he was wedged in.
After hours of hard labor, sweat, and tears, volunteer Amanda Fleith captured the moment Brooklyn emerged from the burrow in the arms of a rescuer. Griffith was there immediately to wrap his arms around his best friend who, hours before, was thought dead by officials.
Griffith told 9News, “Thanks heaps! Tremendous effort. Like I can’t believe it.” Brooklyn has been looked over by a vet and appears to be well; he will be recovering for a bit with the RSPCA before going home with his human.
While wombats are certainly larger than gophers, groundhogs, and foxes in North America, be sure to keep an eye on your pups where animal burrows may be hidden. Their instincts won’t stop them dashing down the rabbit hole!
We would like to pass along a very genuine “WELL DONE!” to those volunteers who stayed through the night to find Brooklyn—he and his human have your kindness to thank.