Ontario woman, 64, rescued from mud after 12-hour ordeal with dog at her side

HALIBURTON, Ont. - A central Ontario woman didn't panic when she was stuck knee-deep in mud for 12 hours because her dog snuggled up to keep her warm and calm.

Sandra Van Alstyne, 64, was out walking Monty, a three-year-old border collie, in the cottage country area of Haliburton Highlands on Tuesday around 10:30 a.m. when she encountered a muddy section of a trail.

"It didn't look like it would be a real problem," she said Wednesday from her home. "So I stepped in it and I got sucked down into it."

Van Alstyne got her right leg free, but her left leg just wasn't coming, she said.

"It was like it was cemented," she said.

When she didn't return home Van Alstyne's husband became frantic and called police, who immediately started searching for her.

In the mud, meanwhile, Van Alstyne said she wasn't too worried.

"I surprised myself," she said. "I didn't panic. I had my dog with me and he stayed right by me, even when it got a little chilly he was right there to snuggle into."

About 12 hours after she got stuck, provincial police found her using a helicopter and tracking dogs and had to use shovels to help get her out. The officers themselves nearly got stuck while trying to rescue her, Van Alstyne said.

She got checked out at the hospital and is no worse for wear, except for a voice hoarse from shouting for help. Monty is fine too, she said.

"It was just fun for him," Van Alstyne said. "He didn't understand what was going on...He was such a comfort to have there."

From now on, Van Alstyne said, she is going to take her cellphone when she and Monty go out for walks.