The poor dog might have been down there for more than a week with no food and only limited water. He weighed 20 pounds fewer than he should've when he was rescued.

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A dog who tumbled 30 feet into an Indiana pit and survived there for days is now miraculously back with his family after a happenstance rescue and an immensely happy reunion. 

Black-and-white Hawkeye escaped his home a little over two weeks ago, Harrison County Animal Control Director April Breeden tells Daily Paws. That's when he likely fell into the deep pit in the Dewey Hickman Nature Preserve—days before cavers who were supposed to be someplace else happened to pass through. 

dog in indiana cave
Credit: Courtesy of Harrison County Animal Control

"We feel like he was possibly down there the whole time because of how emaciated he was," Breeden says. 

When he was rescued Sept. 4, Hawkeye weighed only a little over 51 pounds when he should've tipped the scales around 75 pounds. How did he survive? An upturned turtle shell was able to collect water, and he could've licked the cave's moisture-covered walls, Breeden says. Unfortunately, he probably ate his own feces as well for sustenance. 

The cavers exploring the area Saturday weren't originally going to be there. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic canceled their original plans, so they opted to visit the preserve instead, a "very lucky" change of plans to Breeden. 

As described on Facebook, the fine group of cavers saw movement at the bottom of the pit and determined it was a dog. After seeing scratch marks on the sides of the pit, they theorized Hawkeye's collar had caught on a branch and suspended him halfway up the pit before he could free himself and fall to the bottom. The cavers rappelled down and lifted the good boy to safety. 

They then went door to door near the preserve to see if they could find Hawkeye's home, but they came up empty. If they had gone the opposite direction from the pit, they would've quickly found his family, Breeden says. Instead, he spent the night in a friendly home before heading to animal control on Sunday. 

After a few local news stations told Hawkeye's story, his family knew where to collect him. Luckily, there's a video of the magic moment. Hawkeye's tail went into overdrive while his dad told him how much he missed him before thanking one of the cavers. 

"That was phenomenal," Breeden says. "He was so happy to see them. The gentleman was so ecstatic."  

We sure would be, too.