After almost three days stuck in a freezing hole, a dog from Burgeo was safely rescued Friday, Nov. 16.
The 15-year-old dog was trapped in a hole, and it was only by chance that Ethan Benoit heard him barking for help.
Ethan had gone to the store with his friend, Jared Meade. The two Grade 9 students, who have been best buddies since kindergarten, chose different routes home. Ethan took a shortcut past the old school while Jared kept to the road.
When Ethan heard a dog barking in distress he decided to investigate and discovered the dog’s predicament.
“He heard the dog in the hole and he went over to it and put his hand in there to see if he could get or pet it and whatnot, and the dog showed his teeth and growled,” recounts Jared, who notes that Ethan is a bit shy.
Realizing he couldn’t get the dog out on his own, Ethan met up again with Jared to solicit help. Jared, in turn, reached out to Winter Billard, who rescues cats in the area as a volunteer with Lucky Paws Kitty Rescue. Winter’s husband, Shawn, returned to the hole with the two boys.
“By the time we got there we thought the dog was dead,” Jared said. “We were calling it and he wouldn’t move. So I got down in the hole and I touched him and he jumped up.”
But by now the dog was showing signs of fear and distress, and kept retreating further back into the hole. At some point Shawn also jumped into the hole to try to get the dog out.
“He got in there and couldn’t move around much,” says Winter. Shawn has since returned to Alberta for work.
Jared estimates the hole was about four feet deep and around five feet wide inside, which allowed room for the dog to keep retreating.
“I think it used to be an old drainage system,” says Jared, who believes a square grate once likely covered the entrance to the hole. “I guess the dog was walking along and he fell into it.”
Jared tried again and eventually his patience was rewarded, and the dog inched forward to allow himself to be petted again. By then Winter had joined the group.
“I went up after with a leash and helped Jared put it around the dog’s neck,” she says.
The pair were able to scoop him up and the dog was finally lifted to safety.
“He seemed to be in good condition,” said Winter. “Just skinny.”
Jared’s mother, Kim Lushman, says her son is passionate about dogs, especially his own. He has a Pomeranian-poodle mix named Pebbles.
“I think it’s an awesome thing he’s done,” she said.