MAUMELLE, AR (News release) – While much of the country watched two teams vie for an NCAA championship Monday night, Maumelle firefighters were focused on a much different prize underneath Rolling Oaks Drive. Before night was over, the firefighters celebrated as they hoisted their own trophy — a 14-year-old Yorkie named Ripley — up and out of a storm drain.
Ripley’s evening began with him sneaking out of his owners’ house following a bath. When searches of the neighborhood came up empty, the owners checked the storm drain in front of their house. It was there they found Ripley had fallen approximately six feet before crawling into a nearly 200-foot drainage pipe — and well out of everyone’s reach. The dog’s owners turned to Maumelle firefighters for help.
As members of Engine Company 1 laid down in the murky water at the bottom of the storm drain, they tried a number of ideas to lure, coax, push, pull or otherwise motivate Ripley to leave his new hang-out. Ripley, a senior citizen in dog years, suffers from deteriorating vision and hearing, which further hindered the firefighters’ efforts.
After nearly four hours, firefighters and one of Ripley’s owners constructed a long pole that was used to push a five-gallon bucket into the downstream end of the drainage pipe. As the bucket grew closer and closer, Ripley began to slowly retreat upstream until he could be snatched up by Firefighter Jacob Haley. Ripley appeared cool and wet but did not exhibit any signs of injury or illness and appeared to be in good spirits.
In all, a total of nine firefighters from Engine 1, Engine 2 & Tower 2 participated in Ripley’s successful rescue. They received assistance from members of Maumelle Animal Control, the Maumelle Police Department and Maumelle Parks & Recreation.