Service Saves Dog

June 18, 2020

Gary O’Brien, owner of O’Brien’s Confined Space Rescue Services, never expected to get a call to rescue a dog in Pennsylvania.

He said his business is a niche market, but the confined spaces are at work sites where they have to affect the rescue of someone trapped within four minutes.

“Knock on wood, at the job site, every safety measure is taken, and at the end of the day, no one has to be rescued,” he explained.

But around 7 a.m. Saturday, O’Brien got an unexpected call. It was from a woman in Avella, Pa., whose dog, Dutch, was trapped in an 18-inch pipe. By the time she called, the dog had been stuck for 12 hours, as local fire departments had tried to extract him.

“She went on our website and called my cell phone,” he said. “She was darn near hysterical. She was extremely upset.”

He called a couple of his employees, Carri Tucker who lives in the Frederick, Md., area, and Travis and Tracy Sandford of Marietta. He and the Sandfords made the 2.5 hour drive, while Tucker drove 3.5 hours to save the pet.

“They were playing in a pond and as he was coming out, he got sucked into the overflow,” O’Brien explained. “I hope they have that pipe covered now with a grate.”

To reach the 100-pound black Labrador, Tucker had to crawl through 200 feet of the 18-inch pipe.

“That’s four lengths of a fire hose,” he added.

The pipe she traversed was horizontal, while the dog had fallen down 25 feet of vertical pipe. He was stuck in the elbow of the pipes. For the rescue, she was equipped with lights, a helmet, ropes and a harness. A ventilation fan blew down the vertical pipe so she could have fresh air.

“She then had to reorient him so they were nose-to-nose,” O’Brien said. “He was trapped with all four legs pointed up.”

Tucker said it was a tight squeeze, which is why she was used. Before she left home, she measured across her hips to make sure she would fit.

“I used to work in a pipe yard, so I used to rescue cats,” she said with a laugh. “It wasn’t my first pipe animal rescue.”

It took 45 minutes to harness Tucker and get the ropes ready, but it took less than 12 minutes to get in and get the dog free.

“If you asked any of us, it took 30 to 45 minutes,” O’Brien said.

For Tucker, it was no big deal.

“The dog was very chill,” she said. “When I got back to where he was, he was just like ‘hey, you going to stay for a while?’”

Dutch was wet, tired and sore, but he said the dog ran up the hill when he heard his owner’s voice.

The dog’s owner, Renee Gilmer, asked O’Brien how much he was charging, and even though this wasn’t a usual rescue for his business, he wouldn’t charge her. She had recently lost her job due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“She was yelling and was freaked out. He was pretty shaky and weak when we first got him out,” Tucker said. “When he connected to her voice, he shot up the ravine to his mom. Then he went to the bathroom for like, five minutes.”

O’Brien said his employees refused pay, although on the weekends, they receive time and a half their normal pay.

“The true stars are Travis as team leader and Carri. They made this happen,” he said. “If that was my dog, I’d want someone like us to rescue him.”

Travis said from where he was, he had the easier part than Tucker.

“I set up the rigging and made sure the space was safe to enter,” the 22-year member of the Marietta Fire Department said. “I was in charge of if we thought anything was wrong, I’d stop it.”

He said they’ve never rescued a dog before, so it was an unusual call.

“It was an interesting thing,” he said. “And I hope we never have to do it again.”

  • Most Recent News

    Former Victoria man’s diabetic alert dog helps him get back to life

    June 2, 2021

    When Luke Hengen’s diabetes worsened in his early twenties, it stripped him of the outdoor activities where the country kid felt at home. Countless wilderness adventures and years of hard-fought football games took a toll on his body, to the point where he could no longer sense when his blood sugar was too high or […]

    Read more

    Students Get Therapy Dog

    January 8, 2021

    When middle school students return to class on Jan. 11, they’ll find a new face at the door: Daisy. Daisy is a therapy dog and the personal pet of Rob Kreger, principal of the Rock L. Butler Middle School. The five-year-old golden retriever is not a school pet or mascot, but rather a working dog […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dogtor

    January 8, 2021

    Last March, Caroline Benzel, a third-year medical student, began to notice the stress and discomfort her nurse friends were feeling from the pressures of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. “[Personal protective equipment] can be really rough on the skin,” Benzel, 31, tells PEOPLE. Benzel and her 3-year-old Rottweiler, Loki (who’s also a therapy dog) hatched a […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Pups

    January 8, 2021

    When Stanley the miniature fox terrier’s owner passed away, the little dog started a ‘paw-some’ new role – bringing puppy love to some of the Gold Coast’s oldest residents. After Carinity Cedarbrook Diversional Therapist Julianne Staff adopted Stanley, he began visiting the aged care community at Mudgeeraba as a therapy dog. Therapy dogs help to […]

    Read more

    Puppy Cams

    January 7, 2021

    A nonprofit is providing an unusual form of therapy for those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic – puppy cams! “You spend five minutes with a puppy and try not to smile,” said registered nurse Robin Lingg Lagrone. Lingg Lagrone says watching little furballs wag their tails and prance on their paws helps […]

    Read more

    Pet Committee

    January 7, 2021

    When Moore County’s school doors were abruptly closed earlier in 2020, two- and four-legged volunteers from the Moore County Citizens’ Pet Responsibility Committee (PRC) were in their 12th year of presenting a six-session Pet Responsibility Education Program for fourth-graders. The PRC quickly shifted gears and placed its program materials online as part of a home […]

    Read more

    The Right Rescue Dog

    January 7, 2021

    If your New Year’s resolution is to add a canine family member, good for you. Somewhere out there is the perfect puppy or adult dog for your family. You have a lot of things to think about when you begin to look for that new family member, puppy or dog? Large or small? Purebred or […]

    Read more

    Police Dog Attack

    January 7, 2021

    A resolution headed to the Duluth City Council on Monday could put to rest a lawsuit filed by Teri Lynn Ehlers, an employee of the Patch Motel, who was bitten by a Duluth police dog named Oakley. Former Duluth Police Officer Marc Johnson was a registered guest of the Warroad establishment May 28, 2018, when […]

    Read more

    PAWS With A Cause

    January 7, 2021

    Pebble Hill Plantation and the Thomas County Public Library are pleased to announce the upcoming Enlightening Bites program, “PAWS With a Cause,” on Friday, January 8, 2021 at noon in the Flipper Room of the Library. The program is being presented by Jeri Anderson, field representative. Anderson is recently retired from the City of Monticello, […]

    Read more

    Police Canine Team

    January 7, 2021

    Kingston Police revealed in a news release late Wednesday afternoon that they’ve been keeping a four-legged secret for roughly three months. The force announced it added a second canine unit, with the arrival of police service dog Dak this past October. He is working with Const. Jeff Dickson, while police service dog Bask is working […]

    Read more

    More Recent News