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Vegetable oil, innovation aid rescue of dog trapped in boulder

Fire crews are trained for human rescues. Animal rescues require some improvising.

So when the Alpine Fire Protection District in eastern San Diego County got a desperate call Tuesday about a dog wedged in a narrow crack in a large boulder, some innovation was necessary.

The dog was apparently walking on the top of the boulder and fell into the crevasse, landing at the bottom 15 feet down. It was wedged so tightly that it could not move.

First, firefighters used an extraction tool to pry the boulder apart. Repeated attempts failed. The rock was too strong, the crevasse too tight.

Then air bags were deployed to create a space for the dog to escape. Again, failure.

Finally, the dog was doused in vegetable oil and a pole and ropes were used to lasso its rear legs. Slowly, the slippery animal was pulled to the top, howling a bit, but unharmed. The dog's owner was elated.

The owner has several dogs and had yet to name this one. The firefighters have a suggestion: Rocky.


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-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Alpine firefighters Broc Thorn, left, and Colby Ross with the rescued dog. Credit: Alpine Fire Capt. Brian Boggein

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