Dog rescued after 14 days underground
A deaf dog survived 14 days trapped in a rabbit burrow underneath a house before its owners heard it whimpering and launched a rescue effort.
Honey the cavalier king charles was pulled to safety last Sunday afternoon in the settlement of Muriwai on Auckland's west coast.
The six-year-old became wedged half a metre under the concrete foundations of its owner's home after entering a rabbit warren.
Veterinarian Dave vanZanenberg joined volunteer firefighters ripping up a three-metre-square wooden deck and dug for two and a half hours to free the cherished pet.
It is thought Honey survived on lizards and whatever water leaked into the area during her ordeal.
Sally Lewis and her sons Ryan and Blake had nearly given up hope of ever seeing the dog again and were planning to leave for a holiday on Waiheke Island the day after Honey was found.
''We'd almost let it go because it was driving us mad,'' Sally Lewis says.
''If we hadn't found her before we went away, she would have died.''
Lewis last saw Honey on March 24 at 11.30am chasing a rabbit.
The distressed family searched in vain for the dog after it failed to come home.
Lewis placed an advertisement in a newspaper offering a $1000 reward for Honey's safe return and members of the community offered to help with flyer drops in the neighbourhood.
She and son Blake were sitting on the veranda drinking tea on Sunday morning when they heard a whimper.
''Blake said,'that's Honey!''' Lewis says. ''He went running to fetch the skillsaw and spade.''
Blake and friend Connor Fields tried in vain to rescue the dog before calling in the experts.
''At first no-one could believe she was under there but then they heard her cries,'' Lewis says.
''Twenty to 40 feet of concrete was on top of her.''
The vet vanZanenberg, who is also a volunteer firefighter, was lying on his stomach digging by hand when he finally got a hold of the dog's ear and pulled the animal out.
Honey had lost 1.5kg and emerged with large ulcers on both eyes.
Lewis has given a $500 reward to each of the two fire brigades involved.
''It was a happy ending - these guys did a really good job.''