WADING RIVER, L.I. — Firefighters and emergency medical units worked together to rescue a large dog that got himself stuck in a drain pipe after falling down the edge of a freezing pond on Long Island Sunday afternoon, officials said.
According to the Wading River Fire Department, just before 1 p.m. Sunday, while the department escorted “Santa Claus” through the community to greet local children and collect items for an annual food drive, units were activated to investigate a report of a large dog suck in a drainage pipe at Great Rock Golf Course.
Upon arrival, the dog’s owner Jim Devaney told fire and police officials his 110-pound Black Labrador Retriever named Carson had accidentally slipped down an embankment into a half-frozen drainage pond near the 18th hole at the golf course, officials said.
When the startled dog attempted to back out of the cold pond water, he inadvertently backed himself into the narrow, 18-inch wide drain pipe that runs underground, routing rain water runoff into the pond, authorities said.
According to officials, while frantically trying to get out of the water, Carson managed to back himself several feet further into the pipe, at which point the dog no loner had enough vertical clearance to use his legs to move forward and return to the pipe’s opening.
Despite his owner’s attempts to calm him down, the dog continued to thrash around and push himself further into the pipe, officials said.
Crews responding knew they had to act quickly, as the lower half of the pipe was filled with freezing water and the dog’s breathing was becoming labored and faint, authorities said.
While the dog continued to back himself further into the pipe, a plan was put into to attempt to dig into the ground, ahead of the dog’s position, so crews could cut into the pipe and free the dog as it moved backwards, officials said.
Authorities said a hole was dug about 50 feet back from the open end of the pipe, where the dog initially entered.
According to officials, at one point a narrow, vertical vent pipe halfway between the pond’s edge and the rescue hole was used to talk to the dog and lower dog treats into the main pipe, in hopes of encouraging the dog to come forward, to no avail.
Within minutes of digging the rescue hole, the top surface of the drain pipe was reached, four feet below the ground, authorities said. As rescue workers prepared to cut into the pipe itself, all at the scene hoped the dog hadn’t already backed up past the rescue hole.
Several minutes later, a large top portion of the pipe was removed with a saw and, to everyone’s relief, the dog was within a few feet of the newly opened rescue hole, fire officials said.
Carson backed up to the opening and was finally free, greeting his owner excitedly as he was helped to the surface.
The Black Lab was evaluated by medical personnel on the scene and found to be in good condition, officials confirmed.