Susie, a four-year-old Maltipoo, had a wild ride down a Fort Lauderdale high-rise Friday evening. The night started innocently enough; Susie and her owner Elaine Caralis, who live in the building, decided to visit a friend on the 16th floor. Once welcomed inside, Susie noticed a scent. She followed it through the apartment into an open closet. Then things went very bad, according to CNN.
“(Susie) walked into the closet and fell down into the exhaust shaft,” said Caralis.
Down she went, one floor, two floors, three floors … all the way down, a little dog tumbling down a dark, narrow exhaust vent. She finally stopped at the second floor.
Caralis expected the worst, and she called 911. Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue showed up and located the dog, who had come to rest on a piece of concrete in the shaft near the second floor. Everyone was shocked that the dog was conscious.
“I thought she died, but I was calling her from the wall and she was barking, so I knew she was alive,” said Caralis.
Yet nobody knew how hurt she was. The crew cut holes above and below the second floor to try and free the dog. Timothy Heiser of Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue said the crew “eventually managed to get close enough to the pup to remove her from the shaft before she could fall any further.”
Susie had been stuck in the shaft for three hours. A waiting ambulance rushed her to Oakland Park Animal Hospital. Caralis and the vets feared the worst.
“I’m thinking 15 stories, there are going to be multiple fractures, severe internal injuries or worse,” said the emergency vet who treated her, Dr. Spencer L. Ratnoff. “I was worried she might need to be euthanized.”
But that wasn’t the case. Susie had no internal bleeding, no broken bones, just serious bruising.
Ratnoff called it a “miracle” — two times, in fact. Once for surviving the fall in the first place, and another for coming away relatively unscathed. She is expected to make a full, quick recovery.
“I don’t have children,” Caralis told CNN, “so Susie is my life, Susie is my family. They treated it like they were searching for a human being.”
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