Community pitches in to save stranded puppy

Dirty but safe: Tiny Hope, after her rescue.
Dirty but safe: Tiny Hope, after her rescue.

A Labrador puppy has been named Hope after surviving a 15-hour ordeal in a drain pipe in the backyard of its Kensington, Port Elizabeth, home.

The five-week-old dog is safe with her mother after even the fire department doubted she would survive.

Owner Gertruida Benette said the puppy fell into a drainpipe at about midnight yesterday which put into motion a desperate bid to save her life.

“We tried everything to locate and dig her out, with no luck, so we eventually decided to call the fire department,” Benette said.

The fire department arrived at 6am, but by 10.30am its rescuers could not do anything more as the pup had retreated too far into the sewerage pipe.

A fire department official said all options had been exhausted and suggested the family contact a plumber.

However, Benette said the family could not afford one.

“So my husband, Rodger, and some neighbours had to do what they could.”

She was blown away by the support of her Harrower Road neighbours and other Kensington residents.

“The whole street came out to help, it was amazing to see,” she said.

The puppy’s squeals echoed from under the ground as family and friends anxiously awaited her safe return. Just after 2pm, with the backyard practically demolished and the outside toilet removed to use as an entry point, the tiny dog finally came into the light again.

The dirty and visibly stunned little labrador was taken to the Animal AntiCruelty League in Walmer to see if she had any injuries.

The league’s Ritsa Creeth said a vet had found nothing wrong with the pup, which was then named Hope.

Benette and her family sit with a demolished backyard but they had to do all they could to save the pup.

Hope and her six siblings were destined for new homes, but Benette said after her ordeal, the family planned to keep her.

– Eleanor Douglas-Meyers

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