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Happy ending for puppy
Dog rescued from Friant-Kern Canal Monday
LINDSAY — The lyrics to Auld Lang Syne are fitting for Max — a large, Saint Bernart-Mastiff puppy who experienced a ‘cup of kindness’ Monday morning after spending Sunday night in the icy-cold water of the Fraint-Kern Canal near Road 224 and Foothill Avenue in Lindsay.
Shivering in ankle-deep water while standing on a ledge on the side of the canal, the 65-pound dog, named by the animal control staff, whimpered continuously as personnel from Tulare County Animal Control, Tulare County Fire Department and Exeter Fire Department planned his rescue.
“It gives you satisfaction with your job when something like this happens,” said Jeff Lewis, Tulare County Health and Human Services Agency Animal Control Officer. “It gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling to be a part of this.”
The scenario is one seen too often by Sharon and Michael Barnett, who said they’ve seen everything from a 15-passenger church van to dead animals dumped into the section of the 152-mile canal.
“I was walking my dogs along the canal when I saw him there, standing in the water,” said Barnett, a nearby resident who called animal control, Tulare County Sheriff and fire departments. “I had heard of him yesterday, that there was a dog in the canal. Hopefully he’s been there only since last night. It’s sad. The dog hasn’t eaten in a while, you can see his ribs.”
Numerous dogs and cats are dropped off in the area, Barnett said, and added that approximately three or four dogs fall into the canal each year.
“They suffer and have no idea of what is going on,” she said as she watched the rescue. “I have so much respect for these guys. Our dogs never show an inclination to go down there. I’m not sure why some do.”
Watching from the side of the canal was David and Mikaela Ayala and their children, Grace and Zoey, ages 5 and 2, respectively.
“Poor doggy,” Grace Ayala was overheard saying. “Hang in there doggy.”
The neighboring family watched as a harness was placed on Lewis and he was lowered into the steep canal.
“We’re very happy to see him rescued,” Mikaela Ayala said as they watched the scene unfold, cheering and clapping as the animal arrived at the top of the bank.
The muddy-feet puppy cowered, shaking weakly as it was led, one slow step at a time, down a dirt path to the animal control vehicle.
“I’m trying to get his blood going by walking him,” Lewis said. “Once I get him in the truck and get going, I’ll turn on the heat and it will warm his [cell quarters] to 85 degrees.”
The rescue was simple because the dog was friendly, Lewis said. Fortunately, too, the canal was low, as it has been draining since Nov. 15 for its three-year checkup and repairs.
“This is the third rescue in the last month and a half,” Lewis said. “They seem to come in spurts.”
The rescue was the first for Tulare County Fire Department Capt. Adam Phenning, who was the first to respond to the site.
“He’s alive and in good shape but quite a ways down in the canal but it looked like he wanted to get out. That’s why we got all the gear out,” Phenning said. “Person or dog — we train in low-angle rope rescue and it came in handy today.”
By noon, Max was resting, Lewis said.
“He’s doing pretty good. Our staff has looked him over. He has no breaks and it does not appear he suffered any hypothermia,” Lewis said. “It appears he had been in the canal a long time. But he’s had a warm bath and dried. The big thing is, he was starving. He ate three bowls of food. We’ve vaccinated him and gave him some medicine for a cold.”
According to Paul Mendoza, a kennel employee who helped bathe Max, the puppy appeared scared.
Lewis, who arrived at the canal within 30 minutes from when he was called, said he sees a big difference in the dog.
“He’s not been aggressive once. He was real passive and ready to be rescued,” Lewis said. “After his bath and food, I’ve already seen a big difference in him. We’ll continue monitoring its health, get some weight on it, and volunteers will take him into the play yard. Once we give him a temper test, and I have no doubt he will pass, he will then be adoptable.”
The Barnetts are hopeful Max will be adopted soon.
Anyone wishing to see Max, or adopt him, can call Tulare County Animal Control at 636-4050.
Contact Esther Avila at 784-5000, Ext. 1045. Follow her on Twitter @Avila_recorder.