Hamden firefighters go to new heights for daring rescue - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Connecticut's Brave

Hamden firefighters go to new heights for daring rescue

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Hamden firefighters work to rescue "West" the dog from a cliff back in August. (Hamden Fire Dept.) Hamden firefighters work to rescue "West" the dog from a cliff back in August. (Hamden Fire Dept.)
WOODBRIDGE, CT (WFSB) -

When people are in trouble, the local fire department is typical the first to answer the call for help.

Its members will say daring rescues are part of the job.

However, firefighters in Hamden went to new height to prove that it doesn't matter who is on the other end of danger.

When West wags his tail, his whole body wags. He gave a new meaning to the term "rescue dog."

Back in August, firefighters were sent to West Rock for reports of a dog stranded on a cliff.

"It was probably about 4 or 5 feet wide but it was long, probably 20 to 30 feet long," described Capt. Ed Evers, Hamden Fire Department. "So the dog was walking back and forth trying to figure out a way to get down."

They said it was too dangerous and difficult to get to West by foot. Rocks underneath the Hamden and Woodbridge crews were giving out.

"I've been on mountain rescue calls a bunch, but never involving rescuing a dog," said firefighter Scott Blake, Hamden Fire Department. "Especially off the side of a mountain. That was a first for us I think."

Probably the hardest part of the job was convincing the dog that we were there to help and that the best idea was to go with us," Evers said. "We are used to dealing with a human victim where convincing the person they need to be rescued isn’t really the big problem."

After some coaxing and a lot of treats, Blake was able to pass West off to another firefighter who was waiting on steadier ground.

"He was very nervous," Blake said. "You know, he was a little shy. But once he realized he was getting off of the mountain, his tail started to wag. I think he was happy to get off."

"I don't know what we would have done without them," said Ashley Sakelarakis, Woodridge animal control.

Animal control officers said they may never know how or why West ended up on the ledge. However, they said they do know that no one came looking for him.

"He's like a miracle dog," Sakelarakis said.

Since then, West has been living at Woodbridge Animal Control, waiting for one more miracle.

"I know he's looking for a home before Christmas," Blake said. "He told me so."

For more information about adopting West, head to the Woodbridge Animal Control website here.

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