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Dog Trapped in Cave With 200-Pound-Bear for 3 Days

Written by aslmad.yaz

Dogs and wild animals do not mix. Encounters between the two often lead to fatal consequences for one or both parties; however, a recent incident proved to be an exception to this norm. A hunting dog was forced into close quarters with an unlikely neighbor — a 200-pound-black bear — with whom he remained trapped in a narrow cave shaft for three days earlier this month.

The tense situation was resolved by the timely rescue of the dog, Charlie, according to CNN. While Charlie’s story had a happy ending, events leading to his rescue were stressful for both him and the humans involved.  

Firefighters found the dog trapped in a narrow cave shaft with the bear

A black bear was found sleeping, close to the trapped dog
(Photo Credit: Appfind /
Getty Images)

The rescue operation unfolded in Sevier County, Tennessee. As per a Facebook post by the Waldens Creek Volunteer Fire Department, Charlie had become trapped in an “extremely narrow cave shaft” nearly 40 feet deep. A team of “rope rescue technicians” from different fire departments was summoned for this daring undertaking.

The squad hiked to the mouth of the cave. Among the members, fireman Tori Downing and captain Jon Lanier decided to embark on the last leg of the journey in an effort to save the trapped dog. According to WJHL News, the team traced the dog’s location to an area near Nuns Cove Road on English Mountain in the eastern part of the state.

Little did they know that they were in for the shock of their lives. Charlie wasn’t alone in the cave. Instead, the firefighters found him nestled close to an enormous black bear. To get to the helpless pooch, the team would have to pass the bear and risk waking it. Fortunately — for Charlie as well as his rescuers — the bear was in a deep stupor and paid no heed to their presence.

Despite that, they decided against brushing past the 200-pound animal. To minimize any altercation with the 2-year-old ursine, the rescue team bided their time. They even set up trail cameras to track the exact moment of the bear’s departure. Their patience paid off; the very next day, they ascertained that the bear “had left the cave and not returned.”

The firefighters rescued Charlie and reunited him with his owner

With the bear gone, the stage was set for Charlie’s rescue. Initially, it seemed that there was no hope for the trapped canine. “At first, we actually thought that the dog had slipped further into the cave where we couldn’t access,” remarked Jon Lanier.

Lanier added that it was “kinda sad” if they had to consign Charlie to his fate. However, and quite thankfully, luck was on their side. Before leaving, firefighter Christian Ellard “looked back one more time,” and noticed the tracker collar from Charlie’s antenna. 

According to WBIR News, this realization enabled the team to locate Charlie, fashion a harness, and successfully hoist him to safety. Though dehydrated and hungry, the precious pup was in a stable — and even good — condition. Given that, he was promptly reunited with his owner. 

Andrew Wojturski, a firefighter with Sevier County Fire & Rescue, commented upon the fulfilling experience of seeing dog and owner reunite. He remembers the moment he saw the volunteer emerge from the narrow cave mouth with the trapped dog. He added that the sight elicited “a sigh of relief for everybody on scene.”

Bears and other wild animals pose a danger to dogs and owners

The story of Charlie’s liberation from the cave is definitely a happy one. The Waldens Creek Volunteer Fire Department thanked the entire team’s resilience, teamwork, and quick thinking that made the rescue a success.

However, this dog being able to emerge from his ordeal unharmed makes him one of the luckier canines. Bears of all kinds attack dogs and even their owners, oftentimes when unprovoked. For instance, a grizzly bear in Canada killed two campers and their pet only a few days before Charlie’s harrowing adventure. And, earlier this summer, black bears attacked families and their dogs in both Connecticut and Maine.

Given that, it is necessary to exercise the utmost caution to minimize our interactions with these animals. In doing so, we can protect our dogs and ourselves from the danger of wildlife.

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