Ariège: the incredible rescue of a sheepdog after an 18-meter fall

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A Border Collie dog named Sheep was rescued by three cavers after falling into an 18-meter deep chasm at the port of Saleix, in Ariège. The incredible rescue took place in mid-September. The dog went 48 hours without eating or drinking.

He escaped with only a hematoma above his left eyebrow, but his misadventure could have cost him his life. Sheep, a six-year-old Border Collie, had an unlikely story in mid-September, coming down from a mountain pasture in Ariège. This sheepdog has spent the whole summer looking after 1,100 sheep on the peaks that lead to Mont Ceint, more than 2,000 meters above sea level, alongside his master. That day, this faithful companion took part in the descent to the plain. But nothing will go as planned…

The shepherd cannot help his dog

While going to frame recalcitrant sheep, Sheep cannot avoid a chasm while he is running. The fall is long, the dog finds himself in complete darkness. His master, Philippe, who hears him bark, cannot come down to help him. And for good reason: the hole is 18 meters deep! Fortunately, the shepherd manages to join, thanks to the little mobile network he has, the High Mountain Gendarmerie Platoon (PGHM). This warns by following the French Speleo-rescue through the technical advisers of Ariège.

The volunteer rescue cavers get in working order the next day. “Unfortunately, the weather is getting worse. Severe thunderstorms are announced by MétéoFrance on the sector. The rescue is postponed until the next morning”, explains Philippe Jarlan, one of the three heroes of the story. With Suzanne and Gérard, they can finally come to the aid of Philippe, the shepherd. They meet in the Coumebière car park, before climbing on foot to the abyss. “When we arrived, we didn’t hear any noise. The concern was great. But after a little while, we heard Sheep squealing,” continues Philippe.

The dog has not swallowed anything for 48 hours

Not a minute to lose, the rescue is on. The rope anchor points are fixed. Be careful, during the descent, not to drop stones on the stray dog… Everything is going well and Gérard, the first of the rescuers to descend, is celebrated by Sheep. This one is examined, but suffers only minor injuries. On the other hand, he is dehydrated, since he has not swallowed anything for 48 hours. His first meal of croquettes sprinkled with water is perceived as a feast.

It was at the port of Saleix that the rescuers intervened.

Philippe the rescuer joined Christian in the cavity. The two men outfit Sheep, who is thankfully calm, though he rises with a little apprehension. Here he is well wrapped up in a large tarpaulin bag to avoid injury during the ascent.

A moving reunion

The reunion is moving between the canine and its master. Suzanne, who secured the descent and the ascent, is the first to see the dog. This one then goes to Philippe (the shepherd) to “make him happy”, says Philippe the speleologist. To celebrate the rescue, Sheep got a piece of ham.”

The two friends finally managed to come down. The Brothel Collie had to be entitled to a visit to the veterinarian. The three rescue cavers have themselves proved their solidarity. “No rescue plan provides for the rescue of animals, underlines Philippe Jarlan. So we went there as volunteers. But we were not going to let a dog starve to death.”

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