Thursday, August 21, 2008

Where's Dave? Director of HSUS NRRO

Dave had an interesting rescue in his own backyard. Here's the update. I love happy endings.

Yellowstone County: Montana:

Filed by Dave Pauli at 00:45 hours Monday 8/18/08

Situation: Entrapped individual dog.

At 19:10 on Sunday, 8/17/08 the Pauli Family was alerted by a faint but constant "yipping" sound coming from about 1/2 of a mile away from our backyard up in the Rimrock cliffs.

An assessment team of Dave, Katie and Maggie Pauli hiked up in the rimrocks to ascertain if the pitiful whining was from an injured coyote or some other canine. After some searching and exploration we finally narrowed the noise down to a large sandstone boulder pile. Each boulder was several tons and the cross connection of several of them created habitat for marmots and cottontails.

We had brought ropes, lights, pet food and water and were able to find the dog that apparently had chased something into the mess but could not either back out or come forward. We could see his head almost to his ear crest and the girls identified him as a new 6 month old neighbors dog name Issy.

Issy was in a bad spot. Maggie hiked over to see if the owners were home ( they were not) and to see if she could get a phone number for the land owner ( Rep Denny Rehbergs sister). It was now dark and we managed to get two other neighbors on scene.

Initial assessment showed unsafe conditions, no property owner permission and no owner permission. So we feed and watered the dog and she readily drank and ate the few morsel we offered her. I suggested we regroup in the morning. Just then at about 21:05 the owner drove in his driveway and we hiked over to get him involved. He was most thankful...but did not want to wait to morning.

I advised we need landowner permission three bottle jacks, some timbers and other safety gear to even attempt a rescue and that I was going to see if the Molt Volunteer Fire Department would take this on as an extraction exercise tomorrow. He said he had three bottle jacks, spud bars, mauls and he knew I had the lights and safety equipment to get the extraction done. I then called the property owner and they gave us full access to do whatever was necessary to save the dog. I also called another nearby neighbor on the fire department in case we needed additional supplies.

When the three adults, (myself, the neighbor and the dog owner) hiked back to the boulders. ( you cannot drive within 800 yards of the place because of floodplain)... I established incident command with me as IC and the volunteer firefighter as safety officer.

By 22:30 we had installed bottle jacks and timber supports to insure that the boulders could not shift or crush the dog. I then discarded any of the options of crawling under the boulders to attach a leash or to lubricate the dog ( crisco her) because even with bracing sandstone is dangerous material.

The three of us then began the frustrating process of nipping away at the small sandstone opening where the dogs head would come out. The process was complicated because we could only gain access with our left arms/hands and the sandstone was harder and more dense than we thought it would be. We each did five minute shifts of chipping and rotated about three times when we stopped to see if Izzy would fit through the hole. She could now get her head and one leg mostly through...but could not get out. But our adrenaline and focus was renewed because we now knew that though we chose the safest and most slow method it would eventually work.

After another 4 shifts of digging, the whole was looking massive compared to the tiny hole she could get her head through....and as soon as we stopped digging Izzy charged forward... clawed a little at the whole and then BURST through to freedom. Mission Accomplished!

Summary: Owner is going to start Kenneling his pup on the property. I will send landowner a report.
We successfully applied IC and Safety protocols to do a night operations event, on a record hot evening (97 degrees) and I think recruited two new members for our local animal response team.

A long, hot, and potential dangerous night operation was successfully completed and the dog was rescued approximately five hours and three equipment hike-ins later. The only injured sustained was post rescue when I was packing up all my equipment a slid on some loose shale into an old dead yucca plant ... and I would rather tangle with a porcupine any day.


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