Firefighters rescue trapped puppy

From left, Wesley Gillenwater, Aaron McDonald, Chad Poindexter and Caleb Gregory pose with puppy Cheech which they helped to rescue after he got stuck behind a bathtub.

FALL CREEK — Firemen rescuing cats stuck in trees seems like a stereotype from days gone by, but several area firefighters recently had to do something very similar. Instead of a kitten who climbed too high up in a tree, 4-week-old puppy Cheech managed to get himself stuck behind a garden tub in the home of his owner Susan West.

West, a former veterinary technician, recently adopted a dog which then got pregnant. West delivered all the puppies herself and even had to perform CPR on one of them. On the evening of July 5 when one of the puppies, named Cheech, got stuck behind the tub, West said she was at a loss for who to call for help. Though she said she was worried about calling 911 since this was not a human-related emergency, she was desperate to rescue Cheech and couldn’t think of anyone else to call.

“I was really beside myself because I delivered all these puppies and this was the little one, particularly, I gave CPR to. He got trapped between the garden tub and my bathroom cabinet,” West explained. “I was very scared and I thought should I call 911?”

She did call 911 and she said even the dispatcher was kind to her when she explained the situation.

“They were here within two minutes,” West said. “There were nine or 10 guys here and they all put their heads together to decide which is the best way [to rescue the puppy]. These guys really went over and above.”

West said with it being the day after a holiday, not to mention extremely hot, she was just amazed that the group of firefighters and rescue squad volunteers were so dedicated to rescuing little Cheech.

“With all that’s going on in the world today, not even in the world, just in the United States, even in our own community, people always come together for tragedies — hurricanes, tornadoes, someone’s house burning down — but for all these guys to come out the day after a holiday at 8 o’clock at night and work hard for two hours to rescue a little one and half pound puppy was just remarkable to me,” West said.

Ken Willard with the Fall Creek Volunteer Fire Department said that they found an access panel by moving West’s washing machine and it was through that panel they attempted to retrieve the puppy. All the noise and excitement created by working to access the back of the tub, caused little Cheech to come back out the way he got in.

Willard said they were all glad the puppy was safe and glad that West appreciated them for what they did.

“It’s a great feeling especially knowing there are people out there who appreciate what we do,” Willard said. “These guys are volunteers. A lot of these guys are first responders and they’ll respond at one, two or three o’clock in the morning and that’s not just Fall Creek, that’s any fire department in Yadkin County.”

Members from Fall Creek Fire Department and Yadkin County Rescue Squad responded to the call including Willard, Wesley Gillenwater, Aaron McDonald, Chad Poindexter, Caleb Gregory, Nathan McDonald and Derrick Hobson.

West said she was so grateful for what they did and Cheech was happy to be reunited with his mom and six siblings after the ordeal.

Kitsey E. Burns may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.

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