Man tells how dog helped him survive

2011-03-02 14:23

Pietermaritzburg - An 82-year-old man has praised his dog for keeping him warm and alive at the bottom of a steep valley for two days and two nights.

Lewis Stone is recovering in the Pietermaritzburg Medi-Clinic after falling about 30 metres down a steep valley off Oswald Shearer Drive in Wembley at the weekend.

Stone was in a jovial mood on Tuesday, laughing as he narrated his ordeal in the open, praising his 5-year old German Shepherd Misha.

“I walked from the end of Villiers Drive into Ashby Road for about four kilometres and it was at about 17:30 when I decided to head back and it was dusk. I was walking behind the houses in the bushes and started looking for an open backyard gate so that I could walk through to the main road.

“In one of the yards a young man couldn’t open the gate for me as he was a visitor at the house.

Slipped and fell

“I kept walking along the three-metre-high electric wire, but there was no opening to the other side,” said Stone.

He said it got darker and steeper and he slipped and fell down the embankment to the bottom of the valley.

“I couldn’t climb up back to the fence again. As I got to the bottom of the gorge I walked along a small stream and I slipped again, falling down what seemed to be a waterfall, but I landed on my feet. A huge boulder came crashing down on to my head and I blacked out for a while.

“That was my first night in the open with my dog. It was wet in the area but at no stage had I panicked, I remained focused,” said Stone.

He said Misha was whimpering all the time, sensing that something was wrong.

“As I was lying there through the night I knew I was going to survive and I fell asleep at the bottom of the embankment,” he said.

On Sunday Stone was trapped in the thick bush and shrubs - bruised, hungry, thirsty and tired.

He said he saw the police helicopter searching for him, but had no means of signalling his presence to the search team.

To quench his thirst he dug a hole in a wet area and drank the water that seeped in.

He had managed to climb to the upper part of the waterfall.

He said he had to sleep holding tight to a tree trunk to avoid falling back to the bottom.

Shout for help

“Several attempts to climb to the top of the gorge had failed and on Monday I tried again. It must have been for the eighth attempt on different sides of the gorge when I finally decided to shout for help. I had given up hope by then and this young girl [Hayley Graves] appeared out of the blue.

“It was again getting dark and told her to go home and bring help the next day because I knew she would have to struggle to get me out of there. She just held my hand and said ‘no ways’ was she leaving me there, and everyone came to my rescue,” he said.

His son Nigel said everyone was beginning to lose hope on Monday and that he had gone his father’s normal trail but there was no sign of him. “I felt defeated because he is my mate. He’s never going back there again,” said Nigel.

The family thanked everyone who was involved in the search.

Medi-Clinic spokesperson Reshnee Beekrum said Stone was under indefinite observation and was treated for dehydration.

  • Joy - 2011-03-02 15:15

    I am just so glad that he and the dog survived the ordeal !

  • Raymond - 2011-03-02 15:31

    Cool story!

  • Thabz - 2011-03-02 15:54

    Glad he made it :)

  • genet - 2011-03-02 16:18

    Dogs are a man's best friend. Lovely story.

  • Diablo7 - 2011-03-02 16:23

    That is why dogs are such good companions, cat are pussies;)

      forceptor - 2011-03-02 19:34

      hahaha xD

      ursula - 2011-03-03 11:43

      A cat is (leave a massage . It will read it and maybe come back to you).. You what loyalty .....get a dog.

  • preshengovender69 - 2011-03-02 16:25

    There is no way a cat got of do that

      suspiciousme - 2011-03-02 16:29

      COULD HAVE DONE THAT No stuff off back to your usual stomping ground, sicko

  • abandonedbluehondanw2 - 2011-03-02 16:40

    I am pleased too. He is obviously a fit and tough guy. I love the smiles in the picture.

  • Unzasto - 2011-03-02 16:51

    Now here is a story to warm the heart

  • Denise - 2011-03-02 19:35

    We need more press releases of this calibre. What a breath of fresh air. I am so sick and tired of the grandstanding that is going on in this country. Bless you Misha and Hayley. Get well soon Mr. Stone.

  • Heks - 2011-03-02 20:59

    So glad things turned out so well. Look after yourself and Misha, Lewis

  • lldoidge - 2011-03-02 21:40

    Now you know why I hate it when people call politicians dogs!

      Flee - 2011-03-03 09:09

      Too Bloody True... No barbarian, terrorist, rapist, murderer or politician should be likened to an animal... Animals are too good to be degraded like that... Rather call them Turd's or Kak-piles... not animals... Misha you Rock baby..

      Sue - 2011-03-03 15:43

      That comparison gets me fired up as well. But The KAK-PILES sound fitting, only thing is they are about outdo that name. Anyway, dogs are amazing animals, treat them the way they should be treated, with love. And will take a bullet/die for you witout thinking twice.

      hemant230778 - 2011-03-03 16:47

      @Flee: The problem I have with your point is that even a turd pile is good for some thing, it becomes manure and is beneficial to life and nature, those that you mention are good for nothing.

      Ares - 2011-03-04 12:24

      @hemant230778 Oh jeez, you must be an EXTREME tree hugger and squirrel kisser... I love nature too and hate what the greed of man can do to the environment... but seriously though, see the other side of Flee's meaning.....

  • Hennsa - 2011-03-03 07:23

    What a nice story for a change!

  • Julie - 2011-03-03 08:00

    Thank God he is OK

  • pawsaw - 2011-03-03 10:57

    Who needs men when one has a faithful dog?

  • quinna99 - 2011-03-03 11:05

    You go Mr Stone. Great story.

  • lorenzobastiaan - 2011-03-03 11:51

    Where is the photo of the dog?

  • sibusiso.p.mbethe - 2011-03-03 13:04

    That's an experience waw

  • Marie - 2011-03-03 13:21

    Oh what an uplifting story! God was with you! He gave you a wonderful dog and sent Hayley to you. Go well. Hayley you and Misha deserve a medal each :-)

  • Colline - 2011-03-03 16:16

    such a breath of fresh air to have such a nice story :)

  • Ty255 - 2011-03-04 09:31

    Great moral, especially for someone his age!!! congrats

  • Wedfew - 2011-03-04 09:41

    Thank God it wasn't Julius...

      Wedfew - 2011-03-04 09:42

      Who had to accompany the Old Guy...

  • Mamogolo - 2011-03-04 11:15

    He is lucky to be alive and i am happy for him my god bless him

  • threezero - 2011-03-04 11:28

    Hope the dog also fetched the newspaper in the mornings.

  • Lindiwe - 2011-03-04 11:34

    So nice to read a heart-warming story for a change - Misha needs a medal!

  • peter - 2011-03-04 13:32

    I like the doggys style.

  • alousav - 2011-03-04 14:38

    Wonderful story - we want to see a picture of the hero Misha as well please.

  • amanda.g - 2011-03-04 16:55

    Glad everyone is ok...

  • Howard - 2011-03-04 23:13

    lewis stone is my wifes uncle.... he is a pretty fit and healthy 82 year old man... a fighter (does not give up easily).... and rides a suzuki 1200cc...

  • Doctrate - 2011-03-05 13:45


  • Adele - 2011-03-06 14:22

    mans best friend. great stuff dog wheres your pic clever dog?

  • Adele - 2011-03-06 14:28

    gr8 story gr8dog.mans best friend 4eva. wheres doggi pic?

  • Natalie - 2011-03-06 21:13

    What a delight to read such a heart warming story as opposed to the ongoing bickering in government - Manyi, Kuli and Manuel, Boesak .....thank you!!!

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