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'They're Heroes': Firefighters Save 14-Year-Old Dog Who Fell 23 Feet Down Storm Drain

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Tess, a 14-year-old Labrador retriever, found herself in a tight spot on St. Patrick’s Day after her hopeful demeanor led her astray.

According to owner Larry Beutler, Tess wandered over to an open manhole cover after seeing people and hoping for a treat.

City inspectors were checking out the storm drain near the Southeast 9th Avenue and Lambert Street intersection in Portland and had moved the cover aside when the dog wandered over.

“She just walked up expecting a treat and just went over the edge and disappeared,” Larry Beutler told KGW-TV. “So that was quite a shock.”

He called his wife shortly after the incident, and she was flabbergasted.

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“It was absurd,” Linda Beutler said. “We went through a real life-threatening thing with her before Christmas, so it was just like, ‘What else can happen?'”

Onlookers gathered, firefighters arrived, and a system was rigged to draw up the elderly dog, who had fallen around 23 feet.

After about an hour in the precarious spot, the dog was hoisted back up to the surface — completely unharmed. The bottom of the hole had a deep layer of leaves and other litter that had — thankfully — cushioned her fall.



“#yourportlandfirefighters rescued a 14-year-old lab named Tess this morning at SE 9th and Lambert,” Portland Fire & Rescue wrote on Friday.

“Environmental services had removed a manhole cover to inspect storm drains, and the unsuspecting pup fell 23’ to the bottom.

“The technical rescue team was dispatched, creating a high point to lower rescuers down to the dog. Tess was safely extricated with no injuries.”

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Tess became quite the celebrity both at the scene and later, online. The bystanders who’d gathered clapped as she was freed and found safe, and people online added to the applause for the rescuers.

Linda also has new heroes after the ordeal.

“Oh god, they’re heroes,” she said of the firefighters. “They’re amazing.

“We just want to tell other dogs, don’t be like Tess. Don’t be like Tess,” she added, jokingly.

“Don’t just walk up to people and expect to get treats because you might fall in a hole.”

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