A dog got lost, fell in a manhole and became impaled on a pipe underground. He survived, thanks to a team of dedicated rescuers.
When Amy Ochs suddenly couldn’t find her 13-year old dog, Blizzard, she wondered where he could have possibly disappeared.
She’s opened her front door to call him in after he had been let out 5 minutes prior with the other family dog, Maverick. Maverick came when called. Blizzard did not.
When Och and her family friend began looking for Blizzard, they suddenly heard strange noises.
After a while, Och noticed that the cover to the manhole on the side of their driveway was actually off.
Upon looking down into the hole, Och’s friend saw Blizzard lying in the hole in a pool of blood, with a sharp object sticking through his left leg. The dog was seriously injured.
Panicking and not knowing what to do, Ochs called 911. Colorado Springs Animal Law Enforcement (ALE) and Firefighters showed up quickly, and immediately got to work rescuing poor Blizzard.
ALE officer Sara Tucker said calling for help was actually the best thing Och could have done; trying to save Blizzard’s life herself likely would have killed him. His injury required a team of professionals with varied skills to get him out safe, alive, and without further injury.
Tucker said this was one of the weirdest situations she had seen; Blizzard had landed just the right way inside the large hole to impale himself, but also landed in just the right way to not be killed.
A veterinarian, Jennifer Rainey, was also called to the scene, and she was chosen as the person to get down in the manhole with Blizzard to get him out.
Rainey, who works with the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region got down in the hole and had to assess Blizzard’s injuries. She immediately gave him a dose of pain medication, because he was hanging by muscle and skin from his left forearm.
As Rainey performed the slow and skilled task of carefully releasing Blizzard from the pipe, Och’s husband Don Johnson laid down next to the manhole, stroking Blizzard and petting him to calm him down.
Rainey had to assure the family that the rescuers were there to actually rescue Blizzard, not euthanize him. The family feared that they would be told to do the latter.
Rainey said she is saddened by people believing that sort of thing, and supposes that this is why so many people try to save their own animals from dangerous situations instead of calling for help the way Ochs did.
When he was finally taken out of the manhole, Blizzard was given oxygen, sedatives, pain relievers, fluids, and other treatments by Rainey. Then he was rushed to his regular vet and soon transferred to the emergency vet. He had been in the manhole a total of 3 hours.
By some miracle, Blizzard did not suffer any serious permanent damage.
While the family waited at the vet to hear about Blizzard’s state, the members of the Humane Society and Fire Department waited with them, eager to find out the same information. Ochs said this gesture meant a lot to her.
After his brief stay at the hospital, Blizzard was able to go home to Ochs, her husband, their 7 children and 2 grandchildren, who all were eager to welcome him home for his recovery.
Upon their post-trauma investigation, the family discovered that a bear had broken a portion of the fence surrounding their yard, and this is how Blizzard got out. They have since repaired the fence and will take measures to ensure that the manhole cover stays in place.
Blizzard will go on to make a full recovery.
So let this be a lesson. If you come across an animal in distress, call 911 right away and get help from people who have the skills needed to do the rescue safely.