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Golden retriever rescued from abandoned 30-feet well after being trapped for hours



For hours, a 12-year-old golden retriever was stuck at the bottom of a well that was 30 feet deep before finally being brought to safety.

The dog, Calvin, was playing out in the backyard with the other dog, Fergus. Both the golden retrievers were running behind squirrels and the owner, Dickson, just “left them to it.” It was about an hour later when Dickson noticed that Fergus was acting strangely. “The pup was running around very distraught, and we couldn’t find Calvin,” Dickson said.

Dickson and his wife, Sheryl, began searching for Calvin and nearly gave up until Fergus and their German shepherd, Margaret, led them to an old pump house. When Dickson looked inside the cistern well that was inside the pump house, he saw the heart-stopping sight of Calvin, staring back at him and treading the waters.

“When he heard them, he started barking from the well, and as soon as I heard that I knew what had happened. I started ripping up the rotted plywood and called the fire department,” Dickson said.

Soon, the Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue (TVF&R) firefighters from Station 62 and Station 51 arrived and began cooking up a rescue plan to get the distressed dog out. Using a tripod and rope system, the rescue team lowered one person to the bottom of the well and lifted Calvin out.

Calvin stayed in the well for about four hours before finally being brought to dry land. “Incidents like this don’t happen very often, so it was a good training opportunity for our technical rescue team,” said TVF&R spokesperson, Tim Nokes. “We can simulate technical rescues similar to that, but it’s not very often where we actually have a 30-foot-deep well we get to send someone down inside.”

After Calvin was brought out, he was rushed to the vet and treated for hypothermia. “Lisa McGarvey, his vet, couldn’t have been better,” Sheryl said. She and her husband will always remember the TVF&R for dedicatedly working at their job and safely rescuing their beloved dog.

“I can’t say enough good things about the TV Fire & Rescue,” Sheryl said. “I mean, they’re really efficient.” In a statement on Twitter, TVF&R wrote: “Firefighters from our technical rescue team receive specialized training in multiple disciplines, including confined space rescue. Animal rescues are carefully evaluated and often used as an opportunity for firefighters to hone their skills for this highly technical task.”

Calvin has completely recovered from the incident, and the family believes that it won’t be long before he and Fergus will be running around their backyard again.