Firefighters use excavator to rescue blind dog trapped in snow pile

June 5, 2021
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The snow dumps around Whitehorse this spring are pretty big — and potentially dangerous.

That’s what a hapless dog named Manny found out recently, when he fell deep into one of the massive piles and couldn’t get out. It took the Whitehorse Fire Department and some heavy machinery to rescue him.

“I think the dog was down about 20 feet. So it went down quite a ways, and the snow pile was approximately 100 feet deep,” said Chris Green, deputy fire chief.

Snow dumps are found scattered throughout the city. They’re where road maintenance crews haul all the white stuff that’s been cleared from city streets through the winter.

This year’s snowy winter made for some massive mounds of snow, dirt and gravel, and they’re still slowly melting away.

Green says the dog, Manny, had apparently run up onto some of that old snow in the Porter Creek neighbourhood — only to tumble into a deep crevice.

“They’re very unstable,” Green said of the snow piles.

“As these start to dissolve, there are weak spots within. And I think that’s what kind of happened in this case here.”

Manny’s predicament was complicated by the fact that he’s blind, and can’t hear very well. He didn’t seem to know quite what to do.

“It had some challenges … we couldn’t coach the dog out,” Green said.

Then came Plan B — machinery.

“We ended up using an excavator that was on site to help dig a trench in to the dog, where we’re able to snare it with one of our tools from rescue,” Green said.

“So it was a bit of a tricky one.”

By the time Manny was safely sprung from his prison he was a bit cold and frightened, according to Green, but otherwise fine.

The whole operation took about two hours — but it was worth it, said Green.

“It’s family to some some people, including myself. Dogs are super important,” he said.

“I’m glad we were able to perform that service and safely get this dog back to its owner.”

He adds a word of caution to dog owners — keep your animals leashed around melting snow dumps.

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