Senior German Shepherd Survives 72 Hours Buried in Sinkhole

“He had on his invisible fence collar,” said Maverick’s human mom Lisa Van Valkenburgh. “But that didn’t stop him from walking out of bounds.”


Maverick is a 12-year-old German Shepherd from Missouri that wandered away from his family home on February 4th, and found himself in a whole heap of trouble.  He survived being buried alive in a sinkhole for 72 hours, and his family is very grateful to have him back where he belongs.

“He had on his invisible fence collar,” said Maverick’s human mom Lisa Van Valkenburgh.  “But that didn’t stop him from walking out of bounds.”

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As soon as she realized that Maverick was missing she immediately began to fear the worst had happened.  Being that it’s winter, she though that he might have fallen through some ice and into the lake that isn’t far from the family home.

”My biggest fear was he had drowned,” said Lisa in an interview with CNN.  “I was afraid if he fell into the water he wouldn’t have the strength in his legs to pull himself out.”

The family searched everywhere.  Even though it was slow going, and no one really knew where Maverick had gone, they refused to give up hope.  They searched high and low, and finally, they found a clue to his whereabouts.

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It really wasn’t so much a clue, as it was a sound, but they thought that they heard a faint howl coming from underground.  At first they thought that maybe he had fallen in a ditch, and was stuck in a drain pipe.  Lisa jumped down into the ditch frantically, and was searching for Maverick, when someone that was passing y in a vehicle stopped, and mentioned a sinkhole at the side of the road, down a little way from where they were.

Sure enough, stuck in the sinkhole was Maverick.  The family’s first instinct was to begin pulling him out of there right away.  However, in an effort not to make things worse and perhaps have the sink open even further, they called in rescue crews for assistance.

Emergency Services worked for over two hours trying to free Maverick from the muck and wet clay he was stuck in.  Eventually, they got him free by digging out from underneath him, releasing the suction that the clay and mud had on him.

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For the next three days, Maverick would find himself in a local pet hospital.  After being fully cleaned up, and having a full medical workup, he was kept for observation for those three days, and also to administer some medications and make sure he was properly hydrated.

It may have been a scary ordeal for Maverick, but he did pull through and make a 100% recovery.  The family is grateful for all of the hard work that the rescue crews did, and for all of the love and care at the animal hospital from the wonderful staff there.  Without all of these people coming together, this story may have had a very different ending.

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34 thoughts on “Senior German Shepherd Survives 72 Hours Buried in Sinkhole

  1. as someone who walks dogs, i think invisible fences should be banned. They may stop a dog from leaving the yard (or in this case, don’t), but they don’t stop a dog (person, other animal) from entering it. Dogs need to be walked. Invisible fences are not much better than leaving a dog tethered outside. I wish i could count the number of times i walked a dog and saw a dog ahead loose in the yard not knowing if there was an invisible fence or if it would prevent the dog from running beyond it and coming after us. Many people remove the collar once the dog knows its boundaries, but given the right stimulus, a dog may reconsider. If a dog owner wants to go outside and play with the dog in the yard, fine, but my experience is that they don’t. The dog is simple left outside to occupy its own time.

  2. DO NOT use an invisible fence!!! It teaches the dog to NOT go back into their yard. Think about it: would you go back when you Know you’re going to get hurt if you do so?

  3. Thank you for all the help to rescue Maverick… Thank the good Lord for keeping him safe and able to let someone hear him call for help! Please keep us up to date on his recovery. Bless his heart! Love him!

  4. Thank God he was rescued! What I dont understand is why it took so long? If my dog isnt within my sight within 3 minutes….I get frantic! Poor baby! Whoever owns dogs needs to PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR CHILDREN!!!!

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