Senior Dog Rescued After 3 Days In A Sinkhole Is A Three-Time Survivor

Written by: Dina Fantegrossi

February 9, 2016

Maverick, a 12-year-old German Shepherd, should consider changing his name to Lucky! The arthritic senior pooch recently became the forever pet of dedicated foster-mom, Lisa Van Valkenburgh. If a loving home isn’t enough to make you believe that Maverick is charmed, how about the fact that he has survived THREE brushes with death during his life? Before the Van Valkenburgh family adopted Maverick, he was hit by a car and injured in a raccoon trap.


The most recent of Maverick’s near-death experiences definitely tops them all. While out for an evening potty break, Maverick wandered through the electric fence boundary of the yard and fell headfirst into a deep sinkhole. Lisa and her family searched desperately for Maverick, fearing that he had fallen through the ice into the frigid lake near their Missouri home.

Screenshot (259)

Although the chances of finding Maverick alive grew slimmer with each passing hour, the Van Valkenburghs never gave up hope. Lisa was walking along the road on the third day when she heard a faint howl. She frantically searched the ditch and drain pipes with the help of a Samaritan who happened to be walking by. They made the horrifying discovery that Maverick was buried alive inside a deep, narrow sinkhole.

Screenshot (264)

After trying unsuccessfully to dig Maverick out of the frozen mud, the family called for help. The Southern Platte Fire Department responded and spent two hours digging underneath the trapped dog in order to release the suction of the thick mud. Maverick was immediately rushed to a local veterinary hospital where his condition was determined to be quite serious.


Maverick was cold and severely dehydrated, his mouth, eyes and nose clogged with mud. After an hour spent washing away the mud and getting Maverick stabilized, veterinarians were able to connect him to an IV and further assess his condition. One of Maverick’s teeth had punctured his lip and broken off during the fall, and X-rays revealed that he had swallowed quite a bit of mud, but overall the frail senior dog was incredibly fortunate.


Maverick is still on the road to recovery, but has been allowed to go home with his IV in place. Lisa is lovingly nursing him back to health with a concoction of chicken broth and soft food for his injured tooth and lip. He requires gentle treatments with baby wipes several times a day for some skin lesions incurred during the ordeal, and is currently experiencing urinary incontinence. To Lisa and her family, it’s a small price to pay to have their precocious Maverick home safe.

Screenshot (260)

One more thing – the electric fence collar has been traded out for a strong leash to prevent mischievous Maverick from getting into anymore trouble!

H/T to

Featured Image via 41 Action News

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Written by: Dina Fantegrossi

February 9, 2016

Nutritionist-crafted food for your dog's breed or mix.

Recipes designed for dogs' individuality



A themed collection of BARK-designed toys, treats, and chews.


A themed collection of BARK-designed toys, treats, and chews.