It was 5 a.m., dark, and Mattie Moore was taking her usual two-hour walk around Martin Luther King Park with her three-year-old German Shepherd, Mack. Snow covered the ground, and Mattie stepped off the path for a moment to pass a flooded spot.
Her legs fell through the ground. Suddenly, she was propped on her elbows, halfway in a hole — a sinkhole, which had just opened up. As she scrambled out, Mack rushed up to see what was happening.
“He thought something was wrong,” Moore told the Buffalo News. “He comes up behind me and falls right in.”
And he fell a long way — 10 feet. Right into a pool of ice-cold water, which filled the last foot or so of the hole. Firefighters would later place the blame on a broken water pipe, which had caused massive soil erosion.
Moore was frantic. It was dark, the park was empty, and her dog had just disappeared.
“He was crying and I was crying, but I knew I had to stay calm. I didn’t know what was going on,” she told WIVB News. “It’s emotional when you see inside the hole, and you see how far down he was, and it was five in the morning and it was dark, no one out but me and my dog.”
She called 911, and soon the police and 13 members of the Buffalo Fire Department’s Technical Rescue Team showed up to assist.
“She was frantic,” said Mark Hillery, 3rd Battalion chief, according to Buffalo News. “You could tell she really loved her dog. She was crying. She was very emotional.”
Firefighters put boards around the opening to stabilize the area, laid a tripod over the hole, and lowered firefighter Michael Paveljack by a rope.
Mack had been in the hole for an hour at that point. Paveljack said the dog was very happy to see him.
“He was intimidating. He was a big dog,” he told the AP. “If he was mad, he could have attacked me. But he was just scared. He knew he was in trouble and he wanted to get out of that hole as fast as possible.”
Paveljack tried to lift the dog, but he was too heavy, so instead ran a harness around the dog and the team lifted him out.
“He was happy to be out,” said Moore. “It was beautiful thing. He was wagging his tail, looking at all the people.”
Mack seemed fine at the time, just a sore hip, but the next day he was throwing up. Moore is on limited income and hopes to take him to the vet once she was get together the money. She also hopes to get him to the groomer.
“It’s no problem,” she said. “He’s dirty. He’s still my dog. I still love him.”
Via the Buffalo News
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