A dog is alive after a bizarre chain of events, ending with the precious pooch's owner pulling him from a tortoise tunnel in their Chandler backyard.

Ruben loves to dig but this was not his handy work.

“We could hear him barking inside the hole that my tortoise dug,” Toby Passmore said.

His 12-year-old African spurred tortoise better known as Scully is an infamous landscaper. He described him as “a gigantic tank who likes to excavate my backyard.”

Once Ruben the dog went missing, Passmore knew exactly where to look. His pup was stuck deep in Scully's tunnel – so deep that the City of Chandler needs a backhoe to get him out.

“We finally got down to a place and put a camera in there and we could see he was down there with a cat,” Passmore said. “So I physically got into the hole and just crawled in there grabbed his leg and the fire department grabbed my ankles and pulled me and the dog out of the hole.”

Now they are all out of a tight spot and the giant hole in his backyard is just a reminder you can’t teach an old tortoise new tricks.

“If that tortoise wants to dig,” Passmore said, “he is just going to dig.”