Chances are, you’ve heard a tale about firefighters rescuing a cat out of a tree. But have you heard about firefighters rescuing a dog out of a drain? That call came into the Enterprise Fire Department’s Northside Fire Station Tuesday night, when Toby, a 100-pound American Bulldog found himself at the bottom of a roughly 15-foot storm drain.
According to his owner, Toby went out Monday night to go to the bathroom and didn’t come home. The family was in “panic mode.” They called the vet and Animal Control, but no one had seen Toby. The next day, the family set out walking the neighborhood, knocking on doors, hoping someone had seen their beloved dog. As they were walking down the street, they heard a low howl, whining and barking. They started calling Toby’s name, only to discover the noise was coming from the storm drain.
Enterprise Fire Department Captain Scott Stewart and his crew responded to the call. Stewart, who has been with the department for 16 years, said this is the first time he’s been part of a dog rescue.
“I’m not exactly sure how he ended up down there,” Stewart said. “We assessed the dog and he seemed to be perfectly fine. He had a little scratch on his backside and that was all that we could tell.”
With the help of Enterprise Animal Control and neighbors, the firefighters started to figure out the safest way to rescue Toby. The storm drain had a concrete slab covering the top. Stewart said the firefighters were getting ready to use extraction equipment found on the fire engine, the same equipment used in car wrecks, when someone showed up with a Skid Steer Loader. That equipment was able to safely remove the concrete slab.
“I’ve been through [a rescue of] a person in a hole, but never a dog. You know, that’s my favorite part about this job. You don’t know what’s going to happen next. It could be a dog in a drain, a person in a fire, a child locked in a car, it could be anything and you have to react to the situation and get it done safely.”
Stewart credited his crew, and their continuous training through the Enterprise Fire Department, for a job well done.
“My crew reacted quickly and safely and that’s the most important thing. Everybody went home happy and safe.”
Stewart said this particular call was different than most, because the crew, consisting of Firefighters Chris Gillis, Seth Endemano, Chris Bedsole, and Chris Wise, got to witness the outcome of the call.
“99% of the time we have no clue what happens to the person that we go to, or the dog, or anything else because we are there for an emergency and then we are gone.”
Tuesday night, not long after the rescue, Toby’s owners posted on Facebook, telling the tale of his rescue, and thanking the first responders.
“None of us want any recognition or anything because it’s our job,” Stewart said. “We’re just the ones that got the call.”
A call that ended with Toby reunited with his family, who said the dog was hungry and thirsty, but otherwise okay.
For non-emergency calls, Enterprise residents are asked to call (334) 347-2222 for help.