A small dog has been rescued by firefighters after becoming stuck inside a storm drain at UC Santa Barbara. The dog had been inside the drain for approximately three days before she was rescued. The Public Information Officer Captain Daniel Bertucelli spoke to KEYT about the details of the rescue. He told that the channel that firefighters from two engine companies attended the scene, along with the Urban Search and Rescue Team. After the dog had been rescued it was identified as two year old Sophie, who had been missing for about a month. Her family only lived five minutes away from the university but she may not have realized how close to home she actually was. There are many variables that can affect how far from home dogs travel when they are lost, but it is often the case that small dogs are found fairly close to home. Dogs do not generally have a good sense of direction and so it is quite difficult for them to find their way home by themselves.
There has been a sighting of Sophie earlier in the week, but it is not known how she got trapped in the drain. The drain was 18 inches in diameter and she weighs no more than 15lbs so she did have enough room to move around. The issue was that the drain was too deep for her to get out by herself. Luckily, there was no heavy rain in the time that she was down the drain and so the drain becoming full was not an issue that the crew had to deal with. It also meant that the conditions were safer for Sophie. According to Arklatex, the rescue attempt only took around twenty minutes. Firefighters were able to use a hose pipe to coax her out of the pipe, where she was pulled out of the drain by the other team. How she got down the drain remains a mystery. She may have fallen in, or jumped in by herself, not realizing that she wouldn’t be able to get out again.
The fire department were called when Sophie was heard barking. The barking was first heard around three days before the call was made, but it is believed that no one was able to tell where it was coming from at first. She had been spotted by a police officer a few days before she was found, but there had been no other confirmed sightings after this. This also seemed to fit with the timeline of her being down the drain for three days. When she was spotted down the drain, the fire department was contacted immediately by a concerned member of the public. The Santa Barbara County Fire Department shared the photos of the rescue on their Instagram account. One of the photos shows that a firefighter had to get down into the drain to help get Sophie out. This was the first thing that they tried, but the dog was too afraid to go near the firefighter. They used the hose to coax the dog towards the firefighter, but they did not shoot water on her. The moment that she was finally freed from the drain was also captured on camera and you can see how carefully she was handled by the firefighters as they pulled her from the drain.
Once the dog was out of the drain, she instantly became a lot calmer. She was now quite happy for the firefighters to hold her and she was no longer growling, as she had been while she was down the drain. She obviously felt safe with the firefighters and seemed happy with the attention she was getting from the crews. The comments that were left showed that people were really grateful for the efforts the firefighters went to to rescue the dog from the drain. There were also people that were concerned that Sophie did not have a home and who offered to adopt her. Thankfully, she did have a loving family that she could go back to. She had been missed by the family during the time that they were separated. They were beyond thrilled that she was able to be returned to them.
The Daily Mail reported that Sophie did not appear to have any injuries when she was rescued. She was reunited with her family soon after. She appeared to be doing well, considering the length of time that she had been lost. She was obviously quite dirty after spending three days down the drain, and she must have been very hungry and thirsty. She did not appear to be underweight though, so she must have had no problem in finding food in the month that she was missing.
Even though Sophie had been missing for some time, her family always believed that she would return to them. There had been several reports of her being seen in the area so they knew that she was around. It will probably never be known exactly where she went during the time that she was missing, although she did not seem to stray too far from home. It is likely to have been the case that she just became disorientated and couldn’t quite find her way back home. Everyone who was involved in the rescue was glad that this story had a happy ending.
Captain Bertucelli also commented that animal rescues were an important part of the work that the Santa Barbara County Fire Department does. This was not the first time that an animal has become stuck somewhere, and it certainly will not be the last. One of the most recent rescues that they carried out in the Ellwood area before this one was rescuing a duck and ten ducklings that had become stuck near the beach. Every member of the crew believes that it is a good day when they have the chance to help animals out. Their day gets even better when they are able to reunite pets that have become stuck with their owners, as they were in this case.