State Trooper Crawls 15 Feet Into Pipe To Save Golden Retriever Who Spent Days Trapped
It can be a scary, desperate feeling when your pet goes missing, especially if they're older. That's what Conklin, N.Y., resident Rudy Fuehrer was going through last Friday when his 13-year-old golden retriever Lilah didn't come home.
Fearing Lilah had died, he nevertheless went out Saturday and Sunday looking for her. He was coming home from his search on Sunday when he heard her.
"She yipped," Fuehrer told the Times Union. "I said oh my God that's Lilah. She gave me the bread crumbs and said, 'Come and get me.'"
Following the sounds, he managed to track the doggo down. She had made her way into a drainage culvert, crawled deep inside the pipe, and appeared to be stuck.
Fuehrer attempted to lure the pooch out with peanut butter-covered dog treats and pieces of cheese, but nothing worked. Fearing Lilah might be wedged inside the pipe, Fuehrer decided to phone for help. Unable to find the number for animal control, he dialed 911. When the dispatcher asked what his emergency was, Fuehrer told them, "It's not a people emergency, it's an animal emergency."
Proving their willingness to respond to all kinds of emergencies, New York State Troopers Jimmy Rasaphone and Ana Reynas arrived on the scene just minutes after the call was placed, meeting Fuehrer at 7:58 a.m. Quickly surveying the situation, Rasaphone decided to go into the pipe after the stranded dog, grabbing a rope and crawling 15 feet into the cramped, wet pipe until he was able to reach the goldie, slip on her collar, and wriggle her free.
"He had no qualms," Fuehrer said. "He went right in ... That floored me. That was astounding."
And just like that, the ordeal was over. Rasaphone, soaked up to his chest, and Lilah—looking weak and tired but standing on her own—emerged into the daylight and posed with Fuehrer for a photo before he took the sweet pup home for a bath and some food.
Despite being wet and stressed by the ordeal, Lilah is home again, comfortable and reunited with one very grateful dog dad.
"God bless her," Fuehrer said. "The troopers gave her another day."