Firefighters save dog stuck in North Hudson, Wis., storm drain - KMSP-TV

Firefighters save dog stuck in North Hudson, Wis., storm drain

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It seems the cat in the tree has been replaced by the dog in the sewer after firefighters in North Hudson, Wis., rescued one scared dog that crawled into a storm drain and couldn't get out.

What started as a call for a confined-space rescue quickly turned into something very different than what firefighters Steven Hering and Mike Perucca had in mind.

The dog had apparently crawled into a culvert that connected with a manhole in the street before falling almost 25 feet down.

"When we first got there and looked down the manhole, [the dog] was laying down and we weren't quite sure what condition it was in," Perucca recalled.

Although the dog somehow managed to crawl in through the culvert -- now blocked with a bale of hay and large rock -- on Wednesday night, there was no way for her to get out the way she came.

"We built up a system using a tripod and a system of ropes and pulleys," Perucca explained. "We lowered Steve and myself down and we used a makeshift tarp to wrap around the dog. Then, we roped the dog up."

It wasn't a simple up and out, however. When the two firefighters got down to the dog, she didn't know if they were friend or foe. Even though Perucca and Hering had brought dog treats down with them, the dog was still skeptical.

"The trickiest part was getting her to settle down and get in the blanket," Hering said. "We got a muzzle on her and she finally calmed down and we wrapped her up."

After two hours of trying to coax the 50-pound yellow Labrador named Ella out, firefighters finally emerged with her in their arms.

"It was happy to be out," Hering said. "When we got her undone from the tarp, she went running around, and that's what made us think she was alright."

Aside from the cramped and humid conditions, crews only had headlamps to help them see. They also had to constantly monitor the air quality to make sure it was safe, but in the end, they say it was worth it.

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