Friday evening, Susie and her owner, 68-year-old Elaine Caralis, were visiting a friend on the 16th floor of the apartment building when the unthinkable happened: following her nose into an open closet, Susie suddenly disappeared. The miniature Maltipoo had stepped through what appeared to be a missing panel and took a tumble through a dangerous ventilation shaft, falling a whopping 15 floors before coming to a stop near the second floor of the building.
Caralis says she was frantic, thinking her Susie had certainly lost her life in the awful accident. But by some miracle, Susie survived, says Caralis.
“I thought she died, but I was calling her from the wall and she was barking so I knew she was alive,” Caralis tells WFTV.
Susie had lived through the initial fall, but was still trapped in the hard-to-reach exhaust shaft. Caralis hurriedly called the Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue for help saving little Susie. One of the responding firefighters, Timothy Heiser, says he and his crew had to “cut holes above and below the second floor” to reach the frightened pooch. It took the rescue workers three hours to pull poor Susie to safety.
Despite her frightening fall through the vent, veterinarians at Oakland Park Animal Hospital discovered that the pint-sized pooch was largely uninjured — shocking, especially considering how far she fell.
“The amazing thing is that her injuries are very minimal,” Susie’s veterinarian, Dr. Spencer Ratnoff, tells FOX 13 Miami. “[She] had some bruising of her liver, some lacerations, but no broken bones.”
Thankfully, Susie is expected to make a full recovery. And no one is more grateful for the good news than Susie’s relieved owner, who credits the team of rescue workers.
“I don’t have children, so Susie is my life, Susie is my family,” Caralis tells CNN. “[The rescue workers] treated it like they were searching for a human being.”