Her owner said she’d been missing for 24 hours before rescuers found her in the abandoned mine shaft.

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Puppies, as we all know, love to explore. Sometimes that gets them in trouble. Sometimes, it gets their heads stuck in pipes. Or sometimes, like with Dusty here, it gets them stranded at the bottom of mine shafts.

Wintergreen Fire and Rescue, operating out of Nelson County in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, was called out this past Sunday to rescue the stranded pupper after she had gone missing for about 24 hours over the weekend.

first responders posing with the dog that was rescued from a mine shaft
Credit: Courtesy of Wintergreen Fire & Rescue

Dusty's owners set about looking for the doggo, eventually finding her at the bottom of an abandoned mine shaft, estimated by Fire and Rescue to have been about 40 feet deep. Unable to help her climb out themselves, Dusty's family called the fire department for assistance, and Wintergreen responded with four first responders. Because of the area's remote location—and the general difficulty of the terrain throughout Wintergreen's service area—the call was a far cry from your standard "kitten stuck in a tree" situation.

"Getting the equipment into the area was tough," Wintergreen Deputy Chief Mike Riddle tells Daily Paws. "Some local bystanders helped us get our equipment in place with a UTV. Once we were on site, we were able to set up a tripod with a safety harness and a haul line. We lowered a rescuer into the mine shaft, where he was able to secure the dog and we hauled them both up."

Once returned to the surface, the first responders were stunned to find that Dusty—who appears from photos to possibly be a Plott hound or coonhound mix—was unharmed, despite having tumbled the equivalent of a four-story building. The shaken but grateful pup was then returned to her family, who took Dusty to a vet for a more complete checkup and confirmation of her healthy status.

In addition to having a happy ending, this story serves as a strong underscore to some things that we here at Daily Paws have long understood: puppies are gonna find trouble, firefighters are awesome, and you should always keep your pup safe and secure and in your sight—because seriously, puppies are going to find trouble.