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Forces combine to save puppy stuck in pipe

For The Madera Tribune

Kisses is more comfortable after being trapped in a pipe for more than four hours Wednesday.


With the combined efforts of the officers of the Madera County Animal Shelter and Bass & Sons Septic Tank Company, a puppy was saved after falling more than 100 feet in an uncovered pipe.

The Madera County Animal Shelter received a call at about 10:30 a.m. about a puppy that fell into a hole behind a residence at Austin Avenue and Ellis Street on Wednesday.

“It was a derelict well hill and the top was off of it,” said Bonnie Hill, animal services supervising officer. “One of the children at the residence called us asking for help. It was their dog. We went out with flashlights and once we got there, we realized it was a well hole. It had an old cover on it that had been removed for some reason.”

Hill went back to the office to retrieve supplies from her own vehicle, including a 100-foot rope.

“Once we dropped the rope down the hole and it continued to go the entire length, plus some, we realized we were in for a bigger fix than we were capable of handling,” Hill said.

In the meantime, director Cindy Avila contacted Bass & Sons to help with the rescue.

“Timothy Bass stepped up to the plate and brought his camera,” Hill said. “We dropped it down and saw the puppy was there still breathing and crying. We were trying to finagle some rope to get its feet. After several attempts of not getting the rope to open to catch a foot, Timothy said the next thing was to try the pump truck.”

The pump truck was used to send a pipe down to the pup and try to suction the pup to the pipe to bring it out.

“We did not know what would happen with the pump truck, if it would be too much suction,” Hill said. “If we didn’t do something, the puppy was going to die. We explained everything to one of the daughters of the residence who spoke Spanish only. We let them know we were going to do whatever we can and may not be able to save the puppy. We told them once we retrieve the puppy, it will become property of Madera County and go to the vet. They all agreed to that.”

Bass was able to get the puppy by its hind legs and create a good suction.

“Once we started pulling it up, we could see the puppy was on the hose,” Hill said. “We pulled up 100 feet of three-inch pipe. The pipe was on the suction pump on the truck. It was a heavy load. It took all of us to get the hose down there. We had Tim Bass and Chris Martinez help out with that.”

Hill was grateful for the team effort and knows that waiting any longer could have caused the puppy to die.

“It was a team effort,” she said. “It came out really good. The puppy came out well. It had some cuts, bruises and a distorted head. She was inverted in the hole. It wouldn’t have been too much longer that she would have perished.”

Once out of her entrapment, the puppy thanked each of her rescuers and that’s how she got her name.

“When we pulled her out, the first thing she did was give everybody kisses so that’s what we named her, Kisses,” Hill said. “We headed right to the vet to make sure she was okay.”

Kisses is doing fine, but she isn’t available for adoption just yet.

“The residents signed her over to the county,” Hill said. “She is not available to adopt at the moment. She is on evaluate because of her injuries. If she becomes available, we will let every one know.”

Although Hill got the outcome everyone was hoping for, she was also preparing the family and her team for the worst.

“We actually thought that if we weren’t going to be able to bring the puppy up, we were all going to stay with her and wait with her,” she said. “We couldn’t just leave her. There was no way to put her out of her misery.”

However, Hill points out in this time of turmoil in the country, there are good thing still happening.

“There’s still good things going on,” she said. “Tim Bass and his associate donated their time and truck. That was a huge thing for this family. We all came together to do this for a little pup.”


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