It’s always inspiring to see people saving animals, but one crew truly went above and beyond during one recent rescue mission, braving a narrow 40-feet cave drop — and a run-in with a wild bear — to save a trapped dog.

According to a Facebook post from the Waldens Creek Volunteer Fire Department, the Sevier County Technical Rope Rescue Team, consisting of rope rescue technicians from different local fire departments, was deployed to rescue a dog named Charlie.

Charlie was trapped 40 feet down an extremely narrow cave shaft. After arriving on the scene and hiking to Charlie’s location, two firefighters descended down into the cave to look for the dog — but got a scare when they realized they weren’t alone.

Inside the cave was a 2-year-old, 200-pound bear, sleeping five feet below and trapping Charlie inside. Unable to get to Charlie without startling the bear, the team set up cameras before exiting the cave, and waited for the bear to leave.

The crew returned the next day and found the bear had left the cave. With the coast clear, a team of firefighters descended down into the cave and found Charlie. They attached a harness to the dog and brought up back up to safety. Charlie reportedly was “quickly reunited with his happy owner.”

The fire department wrote that Charlie was in the cave for approximately three days: he was “dehydrated and hungry,” but in “otherwise good condition.”

Coincidentally, the same rescue team had saved another dog named Storm from a cave last year: that dog is Charlie’s “cousin,” the department writes. It runs in the family, it seems — hopefully these dogs stay safe in the future!

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Thank you to this rescue team for going the extra mile to save Charlie! We’re so glad he’s safe and sound now!