17-Year-Old Deaf Dog Rescued After Spending 4 Days in Ravine

Sadie, 17-year-old deaf dog, rescued

Sadie was on a walk in Connecticut’s Sleeping Giant State Park last Saturday afternoon when the deaf, 17-year-old Chesapeake Bay Retriever slipped out of her collar and took off.

To the horror of her dog dad, Chris Roush, Sadie went over the side of a hill…and then disappeared. When Roush couldn’t find her, he enlisted the help of friends, family and social media to help search for Sadie. He posted fliers all around the 1,500-acre state park.

Although Roush, who’s the new dean of the School of Communications at Quinnipiac University, had just moved to the town the week before, strangers were more than happy to help him and his family find their beloved dog.

They “just started volunteering,” Roush told the Hartford Courant. “People I never knew and had never met came out to help. The community response was just unbelievable.”

Even Judy Olian, the president of Quinnipiac University, allowed the school’s drone to be used to try to locate Sadie.

Good Samaritans to the Rescue

But what wasn’t at all helpful was a storm that blew into town four days after Sadie went missing. Fortunately, Steve Tobey was searching for Sadie in the rain when he heard a dog whimpering near a trail not far from where she’d disappeared at Sleeping Giant. Soon after he posted it on social media, Toby Drums and Russell Lewis — who don’t know Roush — also started hiking around the area where the dog was heard.

Lewis, who often hikes with his own dogs in the state park, had been figuring that the worst had happened to the 17-year-old, deaf dog.  “But then this (new) post, I was just really excited and that’s what got me out there despite the storms,” he told the Hartford Courant.

Drums and his wife also have four dogs who they’ve walked in the park for years. Wearing headlamps, the couple had searched for Sadie every night after work. “We’re dog people and they’re getting older and to hear about a 17-year-old dog, deaf, lost in the woods is heartbreaking,” Drums told the New Haven Register.

As Drums and Lewis walked along a trail in the rain Wednesday, Drums heard Sadie barking. In the meantime, Roush had seen the hiker’s post and rushed to the park, joining Lewis, Drums and the others.

Sadie had fallen between boulders. To locate her, the group lowered Lewis by his ankles headfirst into a crevice.

“It was ridiculous, but I heard her crying so I started crawling a little bit deeper,” Lewis told the Hartford Courant. “She’s really, really deep in there and she’s wedged in between these two rocks; you could just see her back.”

It took a village, but the group was finally able to cautiously free Sadie from her predicament. The Hamden Fire Department soon arrived to help the rescuers.

A Tale of ‘Survival, Perseverance and More Than a Little Luck’

“This is a story of survival, perseverance and more than a little luck!” the Hamden Fire Department wrote on its Facebook page the day after Sadie was rescued.

Despite her ordeal, Sadie is expected to make a full recovery. She received treatment for cuts, scratches and dehydration at VCA Cheshire Animal Hospital. “From what the vet told me, it looked like she had been trying to dig out,” Roush told the New Haven Register.

As for the Roushes, they’re eternally grateful not only to have Sadie back but for all the compassionate volunteers who helped them find her.

“How lousy is it to move to a new place and lose your dog in the first week?” Lewis told the Hartford Courant. “But so many people stepped up to help and that’s the coolest part of the story to me.”

Photo: Hamden Fire Department/Facebook

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Laura Goldman

I am a freelance writer and lifelong dog lover. For five years, I was a staff writer for i Love Dogs. When that site shut down, I started this blog...because I STILL Love Dogs!