An Oregon man has died while attempting to rescue two puppies stuck in a dirt hole in his backyard, according to reports. Matthew Allan Johnson, 30, was trying to rescue two puppies from a hole when the dirt collapsed, trapping and killing the young man. The puppies, however, have lived to fight another day.
Matthew’s family have been left grieving in the wake of the incident but admit that he was the sort of person who would put his life on the line in an attempt to save others. According to KTVB, only 12 years ago, Matthew was responsible for having saved the lives of his father and brother while on a fishing trip together with his family. On their way to the camp, their car skidded on black ice and tumbled down part of Hells Canyon. It was Matt, as he is affectionately called by his family, who went seeking help even when facing life-threatening injuries himself.
“His father and brother suffering from life threatening injuries, Matt took it upon himself to climb out of the canyon and go seek help suffering from broken ribs and a punctured lung himself.”
Local Sheriff Brian Wolfe attested to this fact, describing the young man as “happy-go-lucky,” reports Metro.
“If he thought any kind of animal or person was in trouble, he was going to do whatever he could to remove them from that trouble.”
Last Sunday, a friend of the man was trying to reach him on the phone, but when he couldn’t get through to him, the friend went to Johnson’s home to see if everything was okay. To his horror, he found Johnson upside down in the backyard, with only his legs visible.
The police said that Johnson’s two puppies were caught in a hole in his yard. The young man was trying to rescue the dogs when the hole collapsed on him. With no one to help him out, Johnson could not escape because of the weight of dirt on his chest. Wolfe added that the puppies would have suffocated without the young man’s intervention.
“I’m sure Mr. Johnson thought he could retrieve the pups and get out of the hole with no problem, unfortunately that was not the case.”
It is still not clear why the holes had been dug out in Johnson’s backyard. The police said they are looking into the possible reasons that might have prompted Johnson to dig a hole, but it could also have been dug by the dogs themselves. Johnson lived alone with his four dogs in his Malheur County home in Oregon.
“I can’t tell you how the holes got there. I’m not sure if they were there (already), if it was digging from the dog, I just don’t know.”
The young man’s puppies have been adopted by the Johnson family.
[Photo via KTVB and Wikimedia]