A Cincinnati family faced their worst fears when their beloved dog went missing for an entire week. Their anguish turned to a mix of horror and joy when they discovered that their furry friend had been trapped inside a drainage pipe during that entire time, frightened, hungry, and whimpering.
Meet Edgar, a 4-year-old black retriever mix, who is now in good health but whose story serves as a cautionary tale for pet owners everywhere.
Edgar, along with his loyal companion Oscar, made a daring escape from the family garage while Sean Ryan, their owner, worked on his car. Although the Ryans utilized an electric fence and leashes when necessary, they occasionally allowed their dogs to roam freely during supervised playtime. In previous instances when the dogs had managed to slip away, they had always returned home, sometimes caked in mud after a night of woodland adventures.
Sean Ryan fondly described his dogs, saying, “They are good boys, but they love to sneak out. They’ll get loose and come home on their own within a night or two.”
However, this time proved to be different. Oscar made it back home the following morning, but Edgar remained missing. This unusual separation raised alarm bells for the family.
“We figured if he was on our street, he wasn’t lost,” Sean Ryan explained optimistically. “He would just come home.” But days passed, turning into a whole week, and Edgar was nowhere to be found.
A whole week went by. No Edgar. And then, while out for his morning walk with Oscar and feeling sad at the prospect of a life without his missing dog, Ryan heard a familiar high-pitched whine.
“We call Ed ‘The Whistler,’” he said. “It’s easy to hear birds chirping and think you’re hearing him whine … I was looking at a lawn and there was no dog in sight. I thought I might be imagining things, but I said, ‘OK, I’ll wait until I know what that sound is.’”
One morning, while walking Oscar and feeling despondent about the prospect of losing his dog, Sean Ryan heard a familiar high-pitched whine. Edgar had a distinct whining pattern, and Sean couldn’t ignore the sound. Despite seeing no dog in sight, he patiently waited to confirm the source of the noise.
As the whining grew louder, he moved closer to a neighbor’s lawn, where a vertical pipe intersected a drainage ditch running beneath it. It was there that he discovered Edgar.
“I can see nothing but his eyes glowing back at me,” Sean Ryan recalled, his emotions welling up as he spoke. “He became frantic. He was happy to see me, but so desperate for me to get him out.”
Sean was overwhelmed with a mix of emotions—joy at finding his dog and horror at the sight of him trapped in the pipe. He was at a loss, pacing in circles, trying to figure out how to free Edgar.
The fire department was summoned, and a rescue team quickly arrived. After digging to expose the pipe, they cut a hole a few feet away from where Edgar was located and gently coaxed him out. Starving and covered in sores from lying in water, Edgar had been through a harrowing ordeal.
Fortunately, a visit to the vet revealed that there would be no lasting harm. Edgar received an IV bag, a blood test, antibiotics, and a shave to facilitate the healing of his wounds.
“He’s made a remarkable recovery,” Sean Ryan remarked. “In fact, he’s already ventured back to the scene!”
Sean Ryan couldn’t shake the guilt he felt since the incident, but the happy ending brought relief not only to him but also to his wife, Juli, and their 20-year-old son, Lucas, who shared Edgar’s story with the world through a popular Imgur gallery.
The family now plans to invest in GPS trackers for both of their dogs to ensure they can indulge in their adventurous side without fear.
For Sean Ryan, the lesson goes beyond responsible pet ownership. He reflected, “I can’t believe how close I was to giving up. We walk that loop every day… I walked by him, I don’t know how many times. That’s what I hope people take from this. Don’t assume, and don’t ever give up.”
As for how Edgar ended up stuck in the pipe, Sean explained, “We think the reason he went in there was because he’s afraid of thunder. At home, he’ll wedge himself into a gap under the bed to escape… There was a storm, and we think he crawled in, then ran into that vertical pipe, couldn’t go backward, and couldn’t escape.”
He also offered valuable advice to fellow dog owners: “You should always have tags on your dogs as well as microchips. And as I’ve now learned, if your dogs are ‘runners’ like Edgar, you should also use a GPS locating device.”