A group of hikers was out exploring caves in Dewey Hickman Nature Preserve in Indiana when they suddenly saw something moving 30 feet below them. They leaned in to get a closer look — and realized the movement was coming from a very skinny dog, clearly in need of help.

As soon as the group saw the dog, who they later found out is named Hawkeye, they knew there was no way they were leaving him behind. Whether he was a stray or someone’s pet, he was stuck, and he needed rescuing.

“They repelled down and tied him up to a harness and lifted him out,” April Breeden of Harrison County Animal Control told The Dodo. “When Hawkeye came out of the cave, he was very emaciated. Once they were in the cave with him and once he got out as well, he was very gentle. They originally repelled down to check it out and came back up. He started barking like, ‘Don’t leave me.’”

The group had no idea how long the dog had been trapped in the cave, but they knew he needed to get checked out and given proper care as quickly as possible. They took him to Harrison County Animal Control, and they guessed that, based on his condition, he had probably been alone in the cave for up to two weeks.

As the shelter cared for Hawkeye and did their best to nurse him back to health, they began the search for his family. He’d been wearing a collar when he was found, so they assumed that he belonged to somebody. Some local news stations picked up his story — and that’s how his family realized that someone had found their beloved dog.

“The family saw his story on the news and contacted us,” Breeden said. “The family had let him out to potty and he took off about two weeks prior to him being found.”


The shelter quickly arranged for his family to come and collect him, and some of Hawkeye’s rescuers who found him in the cave also came to send Hawkeye off and meet his family. As soon as the lost dog saw his family walk through the shelter doors, he couldn’t contain his joy.

“When he saw his dad, he was so excited, jumping and kissing him,” Breeden said.

Hawkeye’s family thanked everyone who had a hand in helping bring him home safely. The sweet dog is now finally back home where he belongs, and everyone is so thrilled that the story had such a happy ending.

I originally found this article on The Dodo.com.

Pictures in the article are owned by TREY HEINKE