A dog that plunged down an Illinois well had to swim in a tiny circle for about 90 minutes before rescuers were able to bring it back to the surface.
Doogie, an 8-year-old goldendoodle, tumbled into the well in Granville, Ill., when the cover was left open so a repairman could inspect it on Saturday. Judy Hopkins opened the door to let her dog out and as he ran out to greet the repairman about 10:30 a.m., the pooch spilled into the well, Standard Fire Chief Mike Skowera told ABCNews.com.
"He's a very gentle, playful dog and has free reign of the yard," Arch Hopkins told ABC News. Hopkins said his dog, who weighs 70 pounds when dry, toppled into the well before he had a chance to catch him.
Hopkins said he and the repairman shined a flashlight down the well and could see the dog floating in the water. "We at least had hope that he was okay," he said.
The dog fell 23 feet, splashing into 14 feet of cold water. He had to keep paddling around the 4-foot wide well until his rescue at noon, Skowera said.
When the 10 firefighters arrived, they set up a tripod over the well and lowered in a gas monitor to check the oxygen level and for any noxious fumes. Although the oxygen level was slightly depleted, it was still within a safe range for the dog and for rescuers, Skowera said. The choice to lower firefighter Kyle Cammati into the well was based on the fact he was "the skinniest guy on the force," the chief said.
The firefighters ran into a problem after determining the harness for Doogie that Cammati had brought down with him on his first descent would not be suitable for a dog that may struggle and accidentally fall out of the harness, Skowera said.
"The rescue was designed for human beings," Skowera said. The firefighters realized using a body recovery bag may be the more suitable option for the animal. The body recovery bag is a strong nylon bag that is full of holes so water can drain out of it as it is brought up, so firefighters do not have to pull up heavy water weight.
"So we dropped that in there with ropes tied to it, and repelled [Cammati] back down and were able to get it underneath the dog," Skowera said. "Once we got him inside, we pulled him up to safety."
"We were just ecstatic," Hopkins said. "I was quite concerned we had lost our wonderful dog."
Doogie was on dry land by noon. "He got out of the bag, shook off the water and was running around," Skowera said. "He was in good shape considering how bad he fell."
Doogie was inspected by a veterinarian and walked away with only a scratch on his lip and eye, Skowera said.