Woman grateful to firefighters who rescued pooch from manhole - KCTV5 News

Woman grateful to firefighters who rescued pooch from manhole

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OLATHE, KS (KCTV) -

Gabe treaded 12 feet of water for almost five hours before he was rescued by some big-hearted firefighters.

The lab and his owner, Pam Stewart, were enjoying a romp Thursday afternoon on the Indian Creek trail when Gabe fell into an uncovered manhole in Olathe. The barking and yelping dog was swept a mile down the sewer.

It was a horrifying feeling for Stewart, who feared the worst. Firefighters rushed to the scene and some would say went above and call of the duty to reunite Gabe with his owner.

After hours of efforts, firefighters were able to coax the scared pooch toward them and pulled him out just before 10 p.m. Thursday. This occurred near the intersection of 131st Street and Arapaho Drive.

"We are just so thankful he is alive. He appears to be doing great," Stewart said. "We are indebted to the fire department, the police and everyone in Olathe who helped us find our dog."

Olathe Fire Department official Sean Brooks said it was the right thing to do. He said he and other firefighters are pet owners and knew what they would be feeling if it had been their four-legged friend.

"We've located a dog that could have had the worst outcome there," Brooks said. "So now we have a chance to make a difference, and that is what we are here for, whether it's human life or a pet. For some people, their pets are their family."

Stewart was on the trail with both Gabe and a second dog.

Manhole covers weigh more than 50 pounds, so it was likely removed intentionally, authorities say. Because of the potential risk, it is a crime to remove manhole covers. A conviction is punishable by jail time and a fine.

"They're hard to move, that's by design," said Tim Danneberg, spokesman for the city of Olathe.

Jody Brann of Santa Fe Pet Clinic said it's a miracle that Gabe survived, especially since he's a senior dog. She comforted a tearful Stewart after Gabe fell into the manhole.

"I was so impressed by the fire department and the city people who were all here to find a dog," Brann said. "It kind of renewed my faith in people. In light of all the tragedies across the country this week, people are good."

Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.)  All rights reserved.

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