When their beloved dog went gone for a week, a Cincinnati family experienced their greatest nightmare. When they realized that their furry buddy had been stuck within a drainage pipe for the whole time, afraid, hungry, and crying, their sorrow transformed to a combination of fear and ecstasy.
Meet Edgar, a 4-year-old black retriever mix whose story should serve as a cautionary tale for pet owners worldwide.
Edgar and his faithful buddy Oscar attempted a daring escape from the home garage as their owner, Sean Ryan, worked on his car. The Ryans used an electric fence and leashes when required, but they occasionally let their dogs run free during supervised playing. When the dogs had gotten away in the past, they had always come home, sometimes caked in mud after a night of woods excursions.
“They are good boys, but they love to sneak out,” Sean Ryan said of his dogs. They’ll break free and return home on their own in a night or two.”
“They’re good boys, but they love to sneak out,” Ryan remarked.Julianne Ryan
This time, though, things were different. Oscar returned home the next morning, but Edgar remained absent. The family was alarmed by this odd separation.
“We figured if he was on our street, he wasn’t lost,” Sean Ryan optimistically remarked. “He would just come home.” However, days turned into weeks, and Edgar was nowhere to be found.
A week has passed. There is no Edgar. Ryan was out on his daily stroll with Oscar, feeling depressed at the possibility of life without his missing dog, when he heard a familiar high-pitched whine.
“We call Ed’s nickname ‘The Whistler,'” he explained. “It’s easy to hear birds singing and mistake them for him whining… There was no dog in sight as I stood on a grass. I thought I was hallucinating, but I told myself, ‘OK, I’ll wait till I figure out what that sound is.'”
Sean Ryan was walking Oscar one morning, depressed over the idea of losing his dog, when he heard a familiar high-pitched wail. Sean couldn’t help but notice Edgar’s peculiar whimpering pattern. Despite the fact that there was no dog in sight, he waited carefully to determine the source of the sounds.
He proceeded closer to a neighbor’s lawn, where a vertical pipe intersected a drainage ditch flowing beneath it, while the wailing became louder. It was there that he met Edgar.
“I can see nothing but his eyes glowing back at me,” Sean Ryan recounted, tears welling up in his eyes as he stated. “He grew agitated. He was delighted to see me, but he was frantic for me to get him out.”
Sean was overcome with a combination of emotions, including excitement at discovering his puppy and dread at seeing him imprisoned in the pipe. He was perplexed, walking in circles, unable to figure out how to release Edgar.
The fire department was called, and a rescue squad responded promptly. After excavating to reveal the pipe, they dug a hole a few feet away from Edgar and gently coaxed him out. Edgar had gone through a horrific ordeal, starving and covered with blisters from lying in water.
Fortunately, a trip to the vet indicated that there would be no long-term consequences. To aid with the healing of his wounds, Edgar was given an IV bag, a blood test, antibiotics, and a shave.
“He’s made a remarkable recovery,” said Sean Ryan. “In fact, he’s already ventured back to the scene!”
Sean Ryan had been struggling with guilt since the event, but the joyful ending provided solace not only to him but also to his wife, Juli, and their 20-year-old son, Lucas, who shared Edgar’s tale with the world via a famous Imgur gallery.
The family now intends to purchase GPS trackers for both of their dogs so that they may pursue their adventurous side without worry.
Sean Ryan believes the message extends beyond proper pet keeping. “I can’t believe how close I was to giving up,” he mused. Every day, we walk that loop… I don’t know how many times I passed him. That’s what I’m hoping folks will take away from this. Don’t make assumptions, and never give up.”
Sean recounted how Edgar got locked in the pipe, saying, “We think he went in there because he’s afraid of thunder.” To escape at home, he’ll cram himself into a crack under the bed… We believe he crept in during the storm, then raced against that vertical pipe, couldn’t walk backward, and couldn’t escape.”
He also gave crucial advise to other dog owners: “You should always have tags and microchips on your dogs.” And, as I’ve since discovered, if your dogs are ‘runners’ like Edgar, you should also use a GPS tracking gadget.”