Pa. Pooch Falls Into 15-Foot Deep Sinkhole — Dog Rescued After Two Cold Nights Alone

Skye the Golden Retriever usually sticks close by her owners if she’s allowed off her leash. But Monday night, the State College, Pa. pooch just disappeared.

Turns out, the lucky dog fell into a sinkhole and had to be rescued by the fire department. Until she barked and her furry face peered out of the gloom from the bottom of the 15-foot-deep hole, her owners were worried sick.

The incident happened on Monday night. The dog’s owner, Megan Holmes, was taking Skye on a walk with a neighbor and her dog during a snowstorm, she told The Centre Daily Times. The group had chosen The Arboretum at Penn State for their walk.

Both pooches were let off their leashes to roam freely. Husband Ron Holmes said later that it was wrong to let the dog off her leash.

“She’s so good about staying close, and all of a sudden she was gone.”

It happened in an instant; one minute, the pooch was walking along without a problem and then, all of the sudden, she simply vanished without a trace. Try as she might, Megan couldn’t find the beloved Golden Retriever anywhere.

That same day, the whole family rallied together to search for the pooch, without luck. By the next day, they learned something they’d hadn’t known before: that part of central Pa. was known for sinkholes, The Associated Press reported. They also learned that the holes are usually filled in.

Ron found at least one near the spot where Skye disappeared. He leaned over the sinkhole and hollered into it after his lost pet, but he couldn’t hear a thing.

“I got as close as I could, yelled down and couldn’t hear anything because of the gushing water. I thought that could explain how she disappeared.”

With a heavy heart, he went home, meaning the pooch ended up spending two nights at the bottom of the sinkhole. When he returned Wednesday morning, the gushing water had finally ceased. He yelled down to Skye, and this time, she barked back.

“Oh, it’s the most fantastic feeling hearing her. I was so sick last night thinking she was gone. I thought she would have drowned if she was somewhere down there or suffered hypothermia.”

Now that the pet had been found, she needed to be rescued and it would be quite a feat to do so. The sinkhole was 18 inches across and dropped 15 feet into a “Volkswagen buggy-sized hole,” according to Fire Director Steve Bair, with Pa.’s Centre Region Council of Governments.


Penn State police and Pa. Alpha Fire Company were called in. They widened the hole to 30 inches and then brainstormed a plan and a special harness on the fly so the dog could be rescued.

The animal seemed to know just what to do, Bair recalled.

“[She] was a very nice dog… [and] was in good shape, which was helpful for the rescue. [She] kind of sensed what was happening and was very cooperative.”

Assistant Chief Dennis Harris, with the Pa. company’s Training and Operations unit, climbed into the hole with a ladder, hooked the dog up to the makeshift harness, and rescued her with a bit of pushing from the bottom and pulling from the surface.

Understandably, her owners were overjoyed. Since she was rescued, she visited the vet and was given a clean bill of health.

“She’s doing fine, and the vet said she’s in good shape. I really appreciate (everyone’s) efforts. There’s a good thing that comes out of it, I think. That sinkhole got located, and they’ll fill it so no one will fall down it.”

[Photo via Alpha Fire Company/Facebook]