Dog Stays By Owner Trapped In Sinkhole For 12 Hours

Chris Greenhough

Ontario, Canada - A loyal dog waited by its owner for 12 hours after she became stuck in a sinkhole in the woods of Haliburton in Ontario.

Sixty-four-year-old Sandra Van Alstyne was on a morning walk with two-year-old border collie Monty and a frisbee when a misplaced step saw her slip straight into a knee-deep sinkhole.

"I just walked right into it, and there was no way my foot was going to budge," Van Alstyne told The Star. "The suction was like cement."

Stranded at the top of a remote hill, Van Alstyne's shouts for help stood little chance of being heard. Sitting down to prevent herself from going any deeper, the woman waited for somebody else to come along.

As it happens, she was in for quite a wait. The hours began to pass, though at first it wasn't so terrible. The sky was a clear blue, the temperature pleasant, and the ever-faithful Monty stayed close by.

But soon, it began to snow.

"It was that wet kind of snow, but it only lasted a bit. I was glad when it stopped." reflects Van Alstyne.

Not that Sandra was ever worried about her safety. Her loyal friend continued to stick by her side throughout the ordeal. "Monty stayed right with me, he just snuggled up to me," says Van Alstyne. "I petted him and he kept me warm."

By 5 pm, seven hours after she'd left home, Sandra's husband was beside himself with worry. He contacted police, and a search-and-rescue mission was launched, with police dogs, officers, and a helicopter all deployed.

When they found an increasingly chilly Sandra with Monty still by her side at 11 pm, it was no easy task for police to get her out. "The police were getting stuck themselves trying to get me," she told The Star. "This was a really big hole."

A hospital check-up confirmed Van Alstyne was fine. And Monty?

"He didn't sleep very well that night, but he finally ate something when I got home. He's so smart, he's really a great dog. I could brag about him for hours."

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