When you think of the combination of dogs and falling down wells, your mind might turn to Lassie — but in this story, it was the dog that needed the rescuing.
It happened Aug. 23 while owner Dickson Patton was mowing the lawn at his home in Aloha, Oregon. He has three dogs, but after a bit, he realized only two were milling about.
He and his wife, Sheryl, spent the next two hours fruitlessly searching for their elderly golden retriever, Calvin, and were ready to contact the local shelter to see if he’d been found and turned in.
Before they had a chance to do that, though, Dickson noticed his other two dogs kept going to a shed on the property that housed an abandoned well that was over 100 years old.
When he heard a faint bark from that area, he instantly realized what must have happened.
“When he heard them, he started barking from the well, and as soon as I heard that, I knew what had happened,” Dickson told KPTV. “I started ripping up the rotted plywood and called the fire department.”
Dickson’s theory is that Calvin must have been chasing a squirrel when he ran into the shed. The squirrel got the best of it, though, as Calvin fell through the disintegrating well cover and plunged about 30 feet to the bottom of the structure, according to the Portland Tribune.
Calvin already had spent two hours in the well by the time his owner found him, and at 12 years old there was a definite concern for the dog’s well-being. When the Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue arrived, they lost no time in assessing the situation and rigging a rescue device as Calvin continued to tread water.
“Firefighters from station 62 in Aloha paired up with firefighters from our technical rescue team from station 51 in Tigard to rescue a 12 yo Golden Retriever that had fallen into an abandoned well in Aloha this afternoon,” the fire and rescue shared on social media.
“Firefighters used a tripod and rope system to lower a rescuer into the well and retrieve Calvin who had been in the well for 4 hours. Firefighters then were able to lift Calvin and his rescuer out of the well where he was reunited with his owners.”
“Firefighters from our technical rescue team receive specialized training in multiple disciplines, including confined space rescue. Animal rescues are carefully evaluated and often used as an opportunity for firefighters to hone their skills for this highly technical task.”
Thankfully, Calvin was up and out of the well, and after being treated for hypothermia at the vet’s, he was cleared to go home and has made a full recovery, the Pattons told the Tribune.
The two were thankful for and impressed with the rescue.
“I never seen an outfit so professional,” Dickson told KPTV. “So impressed.”
“I can’t say enough good things about the TV Fire and Rescue,” Sheryl added, according to the Tribune. “I mean, they’re really efficient.”
Tim Nokes, a spokesperson for Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue, echoed their gratitude for the rescue opportunity.
“Incidents like this don’t happen very often, so it was a good training opportunity for our technical rescue team,” he said. “We can simulate technical rescues similar to that, but it’s not very often where we actually have a 30-foot-deep well we get to send someone down inside.”