Perryman's Leslie Ruhno couldn't find her 7-year-old St. Bernard, Mabel, in the backyard Sunday afternoon, and thought the dog might have dug her way out of the yard.
She was shocked to find, however, that Mabel had apparently somehow pushed over a very heavy, wooden lid and fallen down a 30-foot well on the Ruhnos' property in the 500 block of East Michaelsville Road.
"I was sure she was dead; I was scared to look down there," Leslie Ruhno said, explaining a neighbor looked down and said Mabel was alive, to which the dog's owner replied: "What? You've got to be kidding me."
Inexplicably, the St. Bernard didn't have so much as a bruise, after being pulled out of the well by rescuers.
Firefighters from Aberdeen Fire Department and Harford County Technical Rescue Team responded to the incident shortly before 5 p.m., the Harford County Volunteer Fire & EMS Association reported.
The dog was removed from the well by 6 p.m., spokesperson Rich Gardiner said.
"Mabel was seen running in circles after she was pulled from the hole," Gardiner reported on Facebook. "She will be taken to a vet to be checked out."
Pete and Leslie Ruhno followed the rescuers' advice to rush the dog to the vet's office, where the doctors "were amazed" the dog was totally fine, Leslie Ruhno said.
Leslie Ruhno at first threw bits of a hot dog down the well to Mabel. The well is located in an outbuilding on the property.
"She stood up and she was bearing weight on both feet," Leslie Ruhno said. The dog did not make any noise and did not seem especially distressed. Rescuers ultimately rappelled Mabel up in a sling, she said.
"We were joking with [the first responders], saying that it was a great training exercise," Pete Ruhno noted. "It was hot as heck outside, it was a confined-space rescue and there were no humans involved."
Heat indexes were hovering around 100 degrees in the area Sunday afternoon.
Leslie Ruhno said: "When [Mabel] got out, she was really excited and started jumping around. She was jumping up and greeting all the firefighters."
The Ruhnos moved to their 1800s house on the small, residential street by the railroad tracks nine years ago from Canton in Baltimore. The small well house, where the family let the dog play because it had a fan, is now closed off and the Ruhnos said they plan to put a latch system on it.
"I never thought she would be able to flip that heavy lid," Leslie Ruhno said, adding about the rescue: "I think it's awesome that they were able to help us."
It was early evening for fire and EMS crews across Harford on Sunday.
Fire and EMS crews responded to a call for a tree branch hitting a house on Liberty Street in Aberdeen around 5 p.m.
They were called for an animal bite off Perryman Road around 6:30 p.m. and also for two heat exposures, one in Joppa around 5:30 p.m. and the other at Ladew Topiary Gardens in Monkton around 6 p.m., according to monitored Harford County emergency radio dispatches.