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Cookie the pug doesn't crumble after falling into Florida sinkhole

Jennifer Groover, a fourth-year veterinary student and a member of the University of Florida Veterinary Emergency Treatment Service, holds Cookie, after lifting the pug from a 30-foot-hole. [University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine]
Jennifer Groover, a fourth-year veterinary student and a member of the University of Florida Veterinary Emergency Treatment Service, holds Cookie, after lifting the pug from a 30-foot-hole. [University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine]
Published Apr. 6, 2017

A 10-year-old pug named Cookie is safe after falling into a sinkhole and getting rescued during a thunderstorm Tuesday night in Gilchrist County, west of Gainesville.

Crews from multiple agencies worked five hours to lift her to safety from the hole, which measured 30 feet deep and 6 feet wide.

Cookie followed owner Patricia Langston to her barn on Tuesday afternoon, the Gainesville Sun reported. The dog stopped to scratch. As she took a step forward, the ground opened up and Cookie tumbled into the hole.

Laurel Johanson, Cookie's other owner, said the dog disappeared from sight in the sinkhole.

Authorities were contacted about 3:30 p.m.

The dog "was able to be heard at the bottom of the cavern but was not visible," Gilchrist County Fire Rescue Chief James Campbell said in a Facebook post.

The University of Florida's Veterinary Emergency Treatment Service was called to assist. The team has extensive training in the technical rescue of trapped animals, Campbell said.

The UF team — John Haven, Brandi Phillips and Jenny Groover — and other crews dug for hours. After clearing several feet of topsoil to prevent collapse, an A-frame was erected to allow Groover into the hole, as thunderstorms began overhead, the team's Facebook page said.

Groover, a fourth-year veterinary student, said the dog scrambled into her lap, and they were hoisted to safety.