Dog rescue: Retired police K-9 recovering after falling down 40-foot well

German shepherd rescue in Chula Vista, CA was tough due to dog's positioning, depth of well

ByLindsey Peña, KGTV
Friday, February 3, 2023
Retired police K-9 recovering after falling down 40-foot well
There was a pet rescue mission in Chula Vista, California this week. A German shepherd was pulled from a 40-foot well.

CHULA VISTA, Calif. -- A dog was rescued after spending hours at the bottom of a well in California, and the good news keeps on coming.

His owner said he's on the road to recovery and that his injuries are not as serious as previously thought, KGTV reported.

Stella, the German shepherd, is eagerly awaiting being reunited with her brother, Indy. Indy found himself in quite the predicament Wednesday afternoon when he got stuck 40 feet down a well.

"Just out of the blue, you hear about it in books, you joke about it, you know, 'Timmy's in the well,' this crap, then all of a sudden your dog disappears in front of you," Indy's owner Mark Pugh said.

Pugh said Indy, a 9-year-old retired law enforcement dog, is in good spirits and responding well to treatment.

"X-rays, no broken bones, blood work is good. He's aware; he's just sore," Pugh said.

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Pugh, a Navy veteran, stood by for four excruciating hours Wednesday after Indy fell into the hole that was covered by thick brush.

He gets emotional thinking about what happened.

"He means a lot to you; he does," Pugh said.

Rescue crews said they definitely had their work cut out for them.

Ken Gilden is with animal fire rescue training, and specializes in these types of scenarios. Even he admits the depth of the hole, the position of the dog and the fact that they couldn't secure it enough to send someone down all made for some tense moments.

"The ground being really soft and wet made it really a dangerous situation," Gilden said.

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The only choice they had was to try and lasso Indy by his neck.

"At the end of the day, it was either get him out that way or possibly have to leave him down there, and I don't think anybody was ready to make that call," Gilden said.

But luckily the rope finally landed just right, and Indy was hoisted up in a matter of seconds, calm as can be through it all.

"He's just been a strong German shepherd, big double coat, big ears, so it's just the nature of German shepherds; they're strong dogs," Pugh said.

Indy's situation inspired Gilden to think of better ways to get to animals in trouble.

"I am working on a device that we could do to get down in there so we would be able to make that rescue a whole lot simpler," Gilden said.