Heroic Community Members Pitch In To Rescue Elderly Bulldog From Sinkhole

An elderly Bulldog found himself in a precarious, potentially life-threatening situation during the early morning hours in a small Iowan town. Fortunately, the swift efforts of an entire community came together to save the old soul, resulting in a classic tale of rescue and a family reunited.

Some of Iowa’s finest officials from the Estherville Police Department responded to a distress call at three o’clock in the morning. The caller reported that her senior Bulldog, Tupelo, had gone missing. And while police departments are generally not responsible for finding lost pets, this situation was a little more complex. As the call went on, it became clear that Tupelo desperately needed their help.


The caller informed officials that she could hear Tupelo barking from behind a neighboring house and suspected that he had fallen into a steep nearby ravine. Officers headed out to the caller’s location and began assisting Tupelo’s owner in the search. When they finally zoned in on his location, they could not believe their eyes:

“The dog was located in a cement drainage tile,” said Estherville Police. “The area around a drainage tile had created a sink hole approximately 3 feet in diameter and about 3 feet deep. At the bottom of the hole, a cement drainage tile was found, and the dog was about another 4 feet into and wedged into the cement tile.”


Fearing for the dog’s safety and unsure of his current condition, officers jumped into action immediately. But first, they had to call in reinforcements, including members of the Estherville Fire Department, the City of Estherville Electricians and Street Department, and the Emmet County Secondary Roads Department. It would take a lot of manpower to safely and efficiently remove the Bulldog from his cement-laced prison.

The rescue took several hours, despite the use of shovels and an excavator. The tricky part of this particular operation was digging the elderly dog out without causing him any harm. Several neighbors chipped in to help with the dig, including local veterinarian, Dr. Arlen Omtevdt, from the Estherville Veterinary Clinic.

After three long, exhausting hours of digging, Tupelo’s rescuers were finally able to remove him from his position. An act that, without the efforts of an entire community, might have been otherwise impossible. According to county officials, Tupelo was happy and unharmed.


“The old Bulldog named “Tupelo” was successfully removed from the tile at 6:24 am, in great condition, and returned to his very happy owners,” said Estherville county officials.

Residents of the small Iowa town have taken this opportunity to express sincere gratitude and appreciation for their community:

“We have such a great community!! Small town but big heart!!” said one Facebook user, “Going above and beyond for a little dog is so heart-warming. I love it. Thank you to all who saved his life.”

Featured Image: Facebook