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Firefighters help rescue puppy trapped in well pipe

A four-week-old puppy is lucky to be alive.

The puppy, one of 14 red-nose pit bulls born in a litter just a month ago, fell into a deep hole beside a well in the front yard of Devon Whitaker's home at 3632 Adair Road near Dearing on Monday afternoon.

After the brownish-reddish colored puppy belonging to Ms. Whitaker fell into the 20-foot hole surrounded by a pipe at the pump house, a neighbor heard the crying of the helpless pup.

Patrice Luke, who lives next door, said all she could think about doing was calling 911 dispatchers to seek help.

"I didn't know anything else to do, because nobody was around here at the time," said Ms. Luke. "I knew I had to do something to try and help the little puppy."

At the time, she said the puppy could be heard whimpering as he swam around in about a foot of water in the bottom of the hole. The ordeal lasted about 40 minutes.

The rescue call, which went out a little after 3 p.m. sent several firefighters from the McDuffie County Fire/Rescue Services to the scene. Becky Craven, who doubles as a dispatcher and a volunteer firefighter, along with Jason Powell, were the first ones to respond to the emergency call. Other firefighters responding included Capt. Bobby Reynolds, Austin Reynolds, a cadet; Terrance Favors, Capt. David Durrence and Ray Beckum.

Even Clarence Holliman, owner of Holliman Sand and Gravel near Dearing, was summoned and volunteered to dig with his backhoe tractor in an attempt to free the trapped puppy.

As it turned out, Mr. Holliman's services weren't needed, as firefighters decided to try a method that has been successful in rescuing other animals in the past.

Capt. Reynolds, assisted by fellow firefighter Powell, tied a slip-knot in a rope and lowered it into the hole. Within just or a minute or two, the puppy was rescued and hoisted up safely.

Shivering and quivering from the ordeal, the puppy was uninjured. After removing the rescue rope from around the puppy's little body, Mr. Powell handed the puppy to its owner.

"I'm so glad he's alright," said Ms. Whitaker, holding a towel and ready to dry off the wet and cold puppy. "I can't think the firefighters enough for what they did. I really appreciate it a lot."

Ms. Whitaker said she plans to keep the puppy and call him, Peanut. The puppy later was reunited with his mother, and three siblings.

Web posted on Thursday, January 15, 2009

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