Officers with the Wright City, MO, Fire Protection District used a special technique to rescue a dog stuck in a drain pipe on November 5, 2023.
Wright City firefighters performed an heroic rescue of a dog stuck in a drain pipe on Nov. 5.
“Upon arrival, we found I do believe it was the owners of the dog down in the manhole trying to get the dog out,” Captain Scott Sateia said. “So when we got there the owner got out of the storm drain.”
The situation was made more difficult because the dog was blind and at least partially deaf.
Firefighter Gabriel Monroe said those on scene first tried to use treats to help rescue the dog.
“We were trying to see if the dog could smell the treats and go toward that,” Monroe said.
Officers also tried tapping on the drain pipe to try to get the dog to notice the vibrations, “it was sliding slowly backward every time we tried to move forward,” Monroe said. The pipe was on an angle and slick, making it difficult for the dog to move.
“So then we were all trying to think outside the box and come up with another plan, something that would actually work,” Monroe said. “And about the same time, we all came up with about the same plan.”
That plan was to push a charged hose line up the drain to help push the dog out. It’s a process firefighters use in the case of an ice or water rescue, Sateia said, where they charge a 2 1/2 line with air so it floats.
“This was something that we’re like, well, maybe we’ll try this out and we took a larger cap on the end, kind of almost the same diameter of the tube,” Sateia said. “So we could kind of use it as a plunger, basically.”
The plan worked, allowing the Wright City firefighters to free the dog.
“And from what we hear from the owners of the dog is that the dog’s uninjured and everything is perfectly fine,” Monroe said. “But it’s still going for a follow up vet visit just to make sure everything’s OK, but the dog made it out unscathed.
No one was quite sure how the dog got lodged in the drain pipe, but everyone was relieved when it was safely rescued.
“At one point, a couple of things went through my mind,” Sateia said. “It was either we’re not going to be able to get this dog out or we’re going to have to call in a tractor or something like that to actually dig up the storm drain. It was a relief that we were able to get the dog out, especially without harming the dog.”
Officers said this wasn’t a typical call, but that didn’t make it any less important.
“When you’ve got residents, they’re upset, that’s a good thing about what we do,” Kevin Hakenewerth said. “You know, we’re here. What can we do to make your day better? Fortunately, it was just rescuing a dog and no one, including the dog, was hurt. No property was lost. It’s a good outcome.”
“It’s rewarding doing these kinds of calls because you have to think outside the box and try something you’re not normally training on,” Monroe said.
In addition to Sateia, Monroe, and Hakenewerth, officer Jason Elton and volunteer firefighter Steve Kluesner assisted in the rescue. The officers also credited Assistant Chief Joshua Riebe with bringing a necessary piece of equipment to the scene to allow the rescue to happen.
Riebe said the dog’s owners brought treats to the Wright City firehouse to thank the officers, but wished to remain anonymous to the public.
About the author: Jason Koch is the editor of The Warren County Record, and covers local news and government for the newspaper. He has won multiple awards from both the Indiana and Illinois APME and from the Illinois Press Association. He can be reached at 636-456-6397 or at firstname.lastname@example.org