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Gallatin County dog rescued by animal control officer after falling in hole

Officer says dog in 'good shape' after being stuck for 'around an hour'
Posted at 6:01 PM, Jul 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-23 20:01:34-04

BOZEMAN, MT — No matter who you are, anyone can find themselves in a spot of trouble, including those of us with four legs.

A Gallatin County animal control officer’s fast actions saved an old dog’s life.

Whether you are talking about puppies or, in this case, 15-year-old dogs, dogs will end up doing dog things.

Gallatin County Animal Control Officer Chanel Shaffer says this dog ended up doing just that.

When he was caught in a bad place, in the heat of Friday, July 17 afternoon, she jumped into action.

“He was stuck from behind his elbows all the way down,” Shaffer says. “Sounds like he was pretty terrified.”

To many, our dogs are like our kids.

And, just like kids, dogs can find themselves in a bad spot.

That’s what happened to this guy, all 15 years of him.

“He has some trouble seeing and hearing and I think he must have walked over it and then slid backwards down into either a coyote den, fox hole,” Shaffer says.

Once she got there, it was clear: the old dog was in trouble and under a hot sun.

“Very, very hot,” Shaffer says. “The owner was doing everything she could to make sure he still had water and shade.”

That’s when Shaffer went to work.

“I was able to get horse lead rope down under his elbows and around his back and then I tried to pull him out,” Shaffer says. “It sounds like he was in there for about an hour. He was way more stuck than I thought he was.”

When that didn’t work, Shaffer got out her shovel.

“I started digging very carefully because I can’t actually see where his backend was,” Shaffer says.

Tired and hot, the dog was freed after about 20 minutes of digging.

“He was able to stand up,” Shaffer says. “He started walking a little bit. There were no lasting effects from being in the hole.”

Since then, posts from across the valley came flooding in and in many posts came the word “Hero.”

“I like to be able to come and be able to be that calm that tries to help get things through,” Shaffer says. “I mean, it feels great. It’s always more of a relief. You know, you are just kind of in the moment so you get there, you assess it, you figure out the best way to get it done. Then it’s just relief when you actually can get it accomplished.”

Officer Shaffer chalks it up to doing her job.

She says she went back and filled any other holes to stop this from happening again.

But is also thankful for people like this dog’s owner, who know who to call in a situation like this.

“I’m glad I can do what I do and I’m glad that people know that they can call us, that we can get out there and help so that situations don’t end up worse,” Shaffer says. “Anytime you are in a situation like that, there’s a lot of panic. There’s a lot of concern. There’s a lot of fear. Having someone be able to come assist, it makes a big difference.”