Lucy the miniature dachshund ambled about her Derby house as usual Wednesday afternoon, taking a nap on the couch and snagging a quick treat from her owner, Rebecca Felix, every now and then.
Over the past few weeks, things have been far from usual for Lucy.
After going missing April 3, the dog was pulled from underneath a concrete slab in her own backyard last Thursday after being trapped for 13 days.
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“It really is a miracle that God gave me back Lucy right before her birthday, and if she could talk, we’d be able to write a book about it,” Felix said of Lucy, who turned 4 years old hours after she was rescued.
Felix said she left town April 2 to tend to an ill family member, so her husband was in charge of watching the dogs. He would let their two dogs, Lucy and Thor — a Jack Russell terrier-chihuahua mix — outside during the day in their fenced-in yard while he went to work at Spirit AeroSystems.
And then Lucy went missing.
“I was devastated,” Felix said. “Our assumption was that she got out, but we couldn’t find anywhere where she could have gotten out.”
Lucy had gone around to the side of the house and dug a hole in the dirt under the home. After digging deep enough, she made a turn and dug four feet underneath a concrete slab that was supporting the house’s air-conditioning unit.
She was stuck.
“Every day we would go out and walk the yard and call her, hoping if she was anywhere near, in the area, she would hear us and maybe bark,” Felix said. “We heard nothing.”
After about 10 days, she said, Thor led them to the spot where Lucy was buried underground, but Felix could not figure out why he was insisting they look there.
Then, last Thursday, when they were searching, they heard a quiet arf come from under the concrete. Felix’s husband used an app on his phone to play a high-pitched dog whistle, and he heard another arf from underneath the concrete.
Her husband dug deep enough on the other side of the concrete to see Lucy’s nose and one closed eye. When he called her name, she opened the eye, which had developed ulcers from all the dirt she was trapped in.
He called 911. Firefighters with the Derby Fire Department and Derby police officers came to the house and were able to extract Lucy from underneath the concrete.
From there, Lucy was taken to the Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Hospital of Wichita. Veterinarians there diagnosed her with “starvation and dehydration,” and “severe corneal ulceration.”
She was treated and transferred to Rainbow Valley Veterinary Clinic in Derby, where she goes for regular check-ups.
“We can’t believe there was no organ failure,” said Kelly Miller, a veterinarian at Rainbow Valley Veterinary Clinic. “Fourteen days without water, you expect the kidneys to have not survived through that. She somehow managed to make it. It’s amazing.”
Lucy has returned to Rainbow Valley a few times since her rescue so that veterinarians can monitor her recovery process. She has a patch of skin on her back that has turned dark after being pressed against the concrete for so long — the cells were beginning to die, Felix said.
Other than that, it is difficult to tell that Lucy recently spent more than 10 days trapped underground.
“I don’t know how it happened,” Felix said. “It had to be divine intervention.”