Firefighters’ Brave Efforts to Save a Deaf Dog from a Storm Drain

If you judge a city’s heart by how much they’re willing to go the extra mile even for its non-human citizens, Arlington in Texas recently proved that things really are bigger in the Lone Star State.

When Zoey, a 15-year-old deaf Lab mix wandered away from her home, practically the whole community turned out to help find her.

“I had put on NextDoor app, we’re missing our dog… and people were like, ‘Here’s my number. Call me and I will come help you find [her],’” dog mom Andrea Tankersley told WFAA.

“The difficult part is she’s deaf,” dog dad Brennan Tankersley added. “So we’re calling out to her, calling out to her, of course knowing it’s not any good but you can’t help it.”

Searchers reported hearing dog sounds but were unable to figure out where they were coming from. Two days later, city water crews homing in on her echoing barks located Zoey trapped in a muddy storm drain under a city street.

A water department camera was set up to monitor Zoey’s condition in the tunnel as a herculean rescue effort coordinated by Arlington’s fire department, police, paramedics, and city workers was quickly mounted to free the trapped canine.

Using jackhammers, pneumatic saws, and heavy equipment, crews worked tirelessly in extreme heat conditions to break up the pavement and dig down to the concrete drain pipe below. Throughout the excavation, neighbors supplied workers with food and beverages to keep them going

Nearly 10 hours later, a section of the top of the culvert was lifted away to reveal the watery channel. Once they had access, rescuers still had to come up with a way to get Zoey safely out of the confined tunnel space.

When one firefighter posed the idea of rolling her out on a skateboard, a kindergartener named Hunter volunteered his board for the cause.

At 11 hours and counting, rescuers finally pulled Zoey from the concrete pipe to cheers and applause from an elated crowd of onlookers. The pooped pooch was passed, bucket-brigade style, up to the street where waiting emergency workers assessed her and then reunited her with the Tankersleys and their kids.

Amazingly, although she was scuffed up and understandably distressed, Zoey suffered no major ill effects from her ordeal, and after getting an all-clear from the vet is happy to be back home.

“It has been amazing,” Police officer Kristi Weil who was on the scene told WFAA.

“Everyone has been so helpful. There have been cheers of joy and tears when Zoey was rescued… I love seeing the community turn out and cheer a successful end to this—and for a family to have their beloved pet returned to them at the end of the day.”

We’re glad this doggone, dog-found deep-in-the-heart-of-Texas tale had a happy ending too.

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