LAFD Tenaciously Works to Save Pet Dog, Owner Shares Story

Wednesday, September 04, 2013 |

LOS ANGELES - On September 2, 2013, Los Angeles Firefighters tenaciously work to free a pet dog that was stuck. The loving owner shares her story and what she learned with others.

Samantha (fictitious name) began winding down from Labor Day and came into her backyard to find her dog Curry, a five year-old golden retriever, sadly with her head securely stuck in a pipe at the bottom of a barbecue smoker. 

"The top was covered with a metal lid, the door was latched, and the whole thing was covered with a BBQ cover. How she ever got herself into that situation is baffling." - Samantha
Curry, with her keen nose, sniffed her way to the barbecue and inside the large pipe on the bottom, getting her head stuck inside and her body outside the drum. The homeowner, unable to free their beloved pet, called upon their veterinarian and the Los Angeles Fire Department for help.

LAFD Tenaciously Works to Save Pet Dog, Owner Shares StoryThe barbecue oven, is somewhat elaborate and proved to create a rather extensive challenge for firefighters to remove her. Here's why...

It is large, heavy and dense, 35" high with a 13" opening in the top, with a 5" thick ceramic interior and a 1/4" thick stainless steel exterior. At the bottom is a 5" pipe that draws air in allowing the user to smoke meat over a long period of time. 

Firefighters from Station 71 quickly arrived and rapidly worked to remove the frantic dog. Shortly thereafter, firefighters from Station 88 assisted, including Urban Search & Rescue Specialists. While monitoring their radios for any emergency 9-1-1 calls in the area, they worked as a team, utilizing various tools from a shop-vac, pneumatic air chisel, to specialized hydraulic cutters and spreaders, for 1 1/2 hours until the conscious but fading Curry was freed.

Once out, he was quickly secured and transported by private auto with the veterinarian to their hospital for further evaluation. She seemed to have promising vital signs.

Today we received a very considerate email, however it saddened our day. Curry, described as a "smart, funny, beautiful and joyous dog"... who "quickly won our hearts", passed away at the veterinarian hospital, despite their outstanding efforts.

Even though there was a tragic ending to this incident, Samantha took the time to write these words which she agreed to share. 
"The only reason Curry had a fighting chance to improve at the hospital, was because of the quick response, capability, determination, leadership, teamwork and kindness shown by the numerous firefighters who came to rescue her. I saw how hard they worked for about 1 1/2 hours with a nearly impossible situation, and how they were able to free her. When they needed more help they didn't hesitate to call for more help. They gave her water, oxygen, tried to get her head back through the pipe, and when they realized it wasn't possible, they cut through 1/4" stainless steel and cut away the 3" thick wall of clay, cut through the 1/4" thick stainless metal pipe, used the jaws of life to pry apart the metal, all the while vacuuming up the clay dust created in the oven so that she could breathe. There was the firefighter who kept her calm through the whole ordeal. I can't tell you how impressed I was with the attention every one of the firefighters gave to our dog and how careful they were with her. Our family will forever be thankful for all that the brave firefighters did to help Curry, and that they persevered so that she didn't die in that situation in front of our young teenage sons."  
Samantha went on to share this humble teachable lesson that we felt would be of benefit...
"There are several things I have learned from this that I hope might help other pet owners. The first is to carefully go over your BBQ area where there has been cooking even from a month prior as I believe was in our case, that might be of interest to a pet, and see if there is any danger to a pet. Even if you can't imagine your dog putting her head through a small hole or pipe, if there is the smell of food involved, she may just be tempted enough to do it. Or, she could run into the same problem chasing a lizard or small animal. A fixed metal mesh in our case covering the pipe would have been good. The little metal door covering the vent wasn't enough; Curry figured out how to unlatch it."
LAFD Tenaciously Works to Save Pet Dog, Owner Shares Story"The other thing I learned is that heat stroke is a huge risk to a dog and has irreversible problems associated with it. Since they can't sweat as humans do, and they have all that fur, they regulate their heat by panting. In our case, even though it was late afternoon and Curry was in the shade, lying on cool bricks, and the surrounding air wasn't hot, Curry still had problems cooling herself which I hadn't appreciated. Breathing was difficult for her... and the shock of what was going on was likely raising her temperature... I plan to explore ways I could have helped her to keep her temperature down so that I may help if I ever encounter another similar situation. I have read that lukewarm but not cold water... and also a fan could help... I welcome any thoughts or suggestion as I know I can always learn more."
Your Los Angeles Firefighters encourage that while surveying your home for National Preparedness Month take simple steps to ensure it is Pet Safe from other unforseen incidents.

Submitted by Erik Scott, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm so very sorry for your loss. Thanks go to the emergency responders for being so caring, you are our heroes.

KatBoxJanitor said...

How heartrending to read about dear Curry. She was a gorgeous girl!

Thanks for sharing the lessons - learned in one of the worst ways imaginable. Many thanks to the efforts of all involved who tried so hard.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for the loss of your dog but thank you for sharing the extraordinary efforts of rescuers to help her. It restores one's faith in humanity. God bless your family as you deal with your loss, and God bless the rescuers who cared so much about the life of a pet.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for your loss it is not easy losing a fur baby... I am grateful for the fire fighters who helped you and Curry during this time... They all deserve an above and beyond of duty award.... Hats off to them all

Anonymous said...

I'm so very sorry for your loss. It's such a sad story, but knowing you did everything you could - as did the firefighters, etc. - should give you some comfort. I loved your email to those firefighters whom I'm sure were just as devastated. Again, my condolences on the loss of your beloved dog & friend.

Anonymous said...

First, I want to convey my deepest sympathy to "Samantha" for her loss. I have 4 furry kids and I understand how devastating her loss is.

Lastly, but of no less importance, I wish to say THANK YOU to all of the firefighters who worked so diligently to save Curry. I can not express how proud I am to have such compassionate and competent men and women working as firefighters in Los Angeles. I am deeply touched that such valiant efforts went to successfully freeing Curry, without hesitation. Thank you for all you do!

Judy Stanley said...

I'm so sorry for your devastating loss of precious Curry....She's a beautiful girl.....

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful story! True heroes, in every sense of the word!

Debbie, Dayton, OH

Anonymous said...

Great guys, but so sad for your loss.......

Anonymous said...

Those firefighters always come through! I'm impressed, but not surprised. Blessings and Godspeed to you all!

Anonymous said...

Thank you to our brave Firefighters and USAR for the effort to save this dogs life.
I am so sorry for the family of Curry, she was way too young to go this soon.
I hope a valuable lesson was learned by anyone who has animals and wants to keep them safe.
RIP pretty dog you are at the Rainbow Bridge now and can run free forever.

Sincerely.
Michele Deleon
An animal lover.

Anonymous said...

Poor baby. God Bless you and the firefighters who tried to save you. RIP

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry to hear the sad news about Curry. Such a beautiful pup. While this story ended in heartbreak, the rescue efforts by the firefighters were truly heartwarming. I adore firefighters and all those who come to the aid of animals in need. You all are the best!

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry to hear of this unfortunate accident. How horrible to lose a family pet and beautiful dog. My heart goes out to them. Curry knows you loved him and is jumping and playing on the rainbow bridge. Watching over all of you till you all meet again one day.

Robin Harwell said...

Thank God For The Fireman At Los Angeles Fire Department. And The Others They Call In To Help. That Show Us Some People Do Have A Heart. She Is In Heaven. They Say Dogs Don't Go To Heaven. But I Believe They Do. This Was A AWESOME Story I Cry, While I Was Reading It. I Know Curry Will Be Well Missed...

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your above and beyond humane efforts in freeing Curry. I commend all of you. *Samantha*, I'm so sorry for the loss of your beloved pet.

Anonymous said...

I was just wondering why the vet didn't give her a sedative or something to let her sleep while all the work was going on. A wonderful tribute to the fire depts. and their work. I am terribly sorry that she did not live. So sad. Thanks for the warning.

Anonymous said...

So sad for the loss of Curry. Thank you for posting the incident and Samantha's letter. I will be securing our cooker today. We have one dog, Oscar, and numerous wild animals who visit regularly. These are mostly deer, but I can see the problem if a deer gets caught in the cooker. It would be killed as we are overrun with deer.
Thank you again for sharing.

Anonymous said...

oh I am so sorry for you loss.

dlange said...

im so sorry for the loss of your beloved pet, but its nice to see all that stepped up to help with your dog when they didn't have too. its amazing to see so much kindness in some when they beyond their means to do so much, thank you to all of should be proud of yourselfs the rest of us are

Cheryl E. Bailey said...

So sorry that you lost your beloved pet in this bizzare happenstance. I am greatful to the fireman who tried so hard to save her. I know that your whole family shall miss her greatly. Again so so sorry.

Ms. Charity Luv said...

I give you my condolences for Curry. May he RIP. Thanks for the firefighters and everyone who helped. Great information to help from happening again.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful story (tragically sad) but wonderful in the explanations, learning, and assistance that Curry and this fabulous family received. I am terribly, terribly sorry for the loss of Curry, she appears to be a lovely dog. I once had a dog (miniature Samoyd/Siberian Husky cross) get her head stuck through the garage wall into a dryer vent. We saved her, but it was traumatic for her and we had to cut a huge hole in the garage wall to get her head out. My condolences on the loss of your beautiful friend.

Anonymous said...

So sorry for the loss of your beloved Curry. It is very touching to read of the care and compassion of the fire fighter responders. I'm sure it comforted Curry, even though her body was unable to recover. And much credit to you for searching for things to be learned from this very sad event.

Anonymous said...

On July 9, 2011, Truck 9 of LAFD responded to a cat trapped in concrete with only a head and arm free. Capt. Willahan and his team struggled for 30 minutes to free the cat. This is a good ending, the cat "SMOKEY" recovered and is alive today thanks to the brave Fire Fighters of Station 9.

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