Dog trapped for a week at Mount Beckworth

By Pat Nolan
Updated November 2 2012 - 5:34am, first published May 29 2011 - 4:14am
RESCUED: ‘Dave’, Tom Porter, Steve Porter and Ben Richards with Jessie, happy after her ordeal.

MEET Jessie the miracle dog, the Jack Russell that spent a week trapped under 45 tonnes of rock.For seven days, Jessie was wedged underground between enormous rocks and unable to move, barely visible to her owner on the surface.But the devotion of her owner never wavered as he moved the earth ­- literally ­– to save his dog.Brown Hill man Steve Porter was rabbit hunting with his beloved four-year-old dog Jessie at Mt Beckworth, between Clunes and Waubra, last Saturday, when the Jack Russell chased a stray cat.To Mr Porter this was nothing unusual.He and Jessie had been on the property several times in the past, and the dog often ran off into the distance, chasing animals.Only this time his dog did not return.“I thought nothing of it. I thought ‘she will come out in a while’,” Mr Porter said.But after hearing cries of desperation, he knew his dog was not going to come out.Trapped metres underground, the dog was only able to wiggle its front paws and move its head.“To look at it, it was a hopeless situation. Most people would have just said it was hopeless,” said Mr Porter.Incredibly though, Mr Porter never gave up and went to extraordinary lengths to free his dog.State Emergency Service units from Maryborough were able to move a rock thought to weigh about 20 tonnes, but still Jessie was unreachable.With his dog surviving on liver that was attached to a wire and sent down into the rocks, Mr Porter set about bringing in machinery that could separate the enormous rocks.His son Tom had already started drilling through the solid granite rock, but time was running out.A massive hydraulic ram, capable of lifting 95 tonnes, was hired from Melbourne, and Mr Porter and a team of men set about shifting the rocks.The team of four worked tirelessly, sometimes until 2am, to move the rock, inch by inch.But still Jessie could not move.Mr Porter said there were times when he considered euthanasing the dog to put her out of her misery, a decision he weighed up every night.But such was his love for the dog he continued to battle the freezing elements.Eventually, after seven days underground, Jessie was pulled free using a dog-catcher loop that had been borrowed from a local animal welfare group.She ran straight towards Mr Porter and leapt into his arms.“I couldn’t believe she was in such good condition,” he said. “Neither could the vet.”After spending the night under observation at Eastwood Veterinary Clinic, Jessie was released on the weekend in surprisingly good condition.So, after spending seven days and nights trapped and unable to move under cold hard rocks, will Jessie be keen to head out rabbitting in the near future?“Absolutely,” Mr Porter said.“She wants to go again right now.”