Volunteer firefighters rescue dog from drainage pipe
Labrador Retrievers are known for being adventurous, but six-year-old Chloe bit off more than she could chew Monday evening when she crawled into a drainage pipe and became stuck.
It took about five hours of work, but she was safely removed from the pipe.
Her owner, Laura Shields, was spending time with her horse at Hidden Spring Farm while Chloe was running around the property, as she often does, Shields said.
"No matter what, at the end of the day, if I don't see her for 15 or 20 minutes she'll be in the barn aisle or by my car," Shields said.
Monday, Shields became worried when Chloe did not respond after 20 minutes. She walked around the farm and drove along Pageland Highway searching for the dogs. One of the stable workers told her he saw her by the pond.
She walked with the man to the pond, where he pointed to the drainage point and Shields could see Chloe about 20 feet into the pipe.
"She was at an angle where where she couldn't get to me," Shields said.
They called 911 and the Stack Road Volunteer Fire Department responded.
"Everything seemed like forever because I'm looking at my dog in agony, not knowing when she'll get out," Shields said.
Chloe is a mixed-breed labrador that Shields and her family rescued from Lucky Labs Rescue about a year ago. She rescued the dog after losing a chocolate labrador that was the "love of her life," she explained.
"(Chloe) saved my heart," Shields said. "She's loving and she's sweet and she wants to be around you."
"Thinking that she wasn't going to make it was just so hard on me last night," Shields said.
After five hours of efforts, seeing Chloe emerge was a huge relief for Shields.
"I was just beyond, beyond anxiety levels at that time," Shields said. "She came up, mud all over her, just happy as a crazy lab can be."
A trip to the veterinarian showed that apart from some muscle soreness and tender paw pads, Chloe came out of the ordeal unscathed. She allowed to sleep in bed with her owners Monday night for the first time ever and is still resting up on the bed.
"She'll probably have a couple of laid back days," Shields said.
After that, they will decide if she will return to the barn and under what conditions. Shields thinks she may be on a long leash in the future.
Firefighter Johnathan Taylor is one of the firemen who responded to the call. He has been on the roster with Stack Road Volunteer Fire Department since he was 13 and said he grew up in the department.
Shields said Taylor took charge of the situation and reassured her throughout the night.
Taylor said that he had been called to similar incidents, but nothing quite as extreme.
"Cats stuck in trees and stuff like that," he said.
When he arrived and assessed the scene he thought to himself, "We got a lot of work ahead of us."
"The overall goal was to get the dog out safe and make sure everybody's all right and nobody gets hurt int he process," Taylor said. "Overall, I think everything went like it should have been."
Taylor owns dogs himself.
When asked if he was worried the dog could be hurt or even dead, he said he pushed that from his mind.
"You tend not to think about things like that," Taylor said. "(You) do what you've got to do."
He, too, breathed a sigh of relief when the muddy Chloe was pulled out of the pipe.
"(I was) happy the dog was okay," Taylor said. "We did what we came to do...we're just here to help."
Shields hopes to bring Chloe by the station after she is recovered from her night.
"Everybody was very kind and very supportive of everything," Shields said.
Chloe was also helped by Bakers Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department as well as Donnie Couick, a nearby neighbor that responded with a narrow-bucket backhoe. Until Couick's arrival, all digging had been handled by shovel and muscle. Bakers VFD was dispatched for their equipment and manpower to shore up the sides of the backhoe trench to prevent a cave-in scenario.
"I'm just happy everything worked out," Taylor said. "I hope Chloe won't be getting into pipes anymore."