These Texas Game Wardens Rescued a Bird Dog From the Bottom of a 50-Foot Abandoned Silo

by Amy Myers
(Photo by: Arterra/Sven-Erik Arndt/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Usually, the story goes that the dog saves someone from a well, but this time, a Texas bird dog needed the help of some kind Texas game wardens.

A couple of months ago, on January 22, two Texas hunters sent their bird dog out to retrieve a fallen quail, and when she didn’t come back, they became concerned. Sweet Maria is an experienced bird dog who was the ideal hunting companion, so they knew if she didn’t come back, something was definitely wrong.

A little later, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department game warden Carlos H. Maldonado III received a call from a homeowner near where the quail had fallen. The hunters had found Maria at the bottom of an abandoned “well” on the property and alerted the homeowner.

“They were on the hunt, and they shot at the bird,” Maldonado recalled. “The bird went down, Maria went chasing after it, and then she was gone.”

Once Maldonado received the call, he lept into action, grabbing some rope, a wire kennel and a car mat. On the way to the property, he alerted his partner Lane Turner. Thankfully, Maria seemed to be okay when the two arrived.

“I got to the scene before my partner Turner got there, and I was able to find the hole,” Maldonado says. “I saw the dog at the bottom and noticed that she was alert and looking straight up at us. She knew what was going on, so I knew the animal had a chance.”

Texas Game Wardens Use Innovative Rescue System to Bring Bird Dog to Safety

The well Maria was in was actually an old 50-foot inground silo for grain and hay. With stone walls and an empty base, though, anyone could mistake it to be a well, as the TWPD originally reported. Regardless of what the structure was, they knew they needed to get Maria to safety.

So, thinking quickly, Moldonado and Turner created a makeshift hoist system by rigging the wire kennel to the rope, placing in a few freshly-killed quails and lowering down the shaft of the silo. They also placed a rubber car mat underneath where the rope hit the side of the stone to keep the material from fraying.

Around this time, Maria’s owner, Kelley Key, also arrived, to help coax her bird dog into the kennel. Sure enough, after just a few minutes, they began hoisting the pooch up to level ground.

Amazingly, Maria didn’t have any apparent injuries.

“She’s [definitely] a quail dog, and a mighty good one too,” Maldonado said. “How she survived that fall is a miracle in and of itself.”

TWPD also confirmed that Maria and her owners took a trip to the vet, just to be sure she was okay.