Culvert can’t hold this canine for long

Hillary Sanders carefully tries to pull her scared chocolate lab Lucy out from the small culvert she was stuck in last Friday morning. Photo / Per Peterson

By Per Peterson

For Winnie the Pooh, it was that darned rabbit hole. For Lucy the chocolate lab last week, it was a culvert.

The Tracy Fire Department brought the “Jaws of Life” to a call this past Friday morning, about a mile west of town. Thankfully, this particular call didn’t include any crushed vehicles with victims trapped inside.

Not even close.

This call was a rescue effort for Lucy, a 2-year-old, slightly overweight lab owned by the Paul and Hillary Sanders family.

Even though none of the firefighters were armed with dog treats to sweet-talk the scared and wet pooch out of the small, round culvert, this story has a happy ending. Eventually, Hillary was able to pull her out of her predicament after just a few minutes of coaxing.

“We go on a walk every single day, so I get down to the railroad tracks — and Lucy usually does her own little thing — and I’m like, ‘Where did she go now?’” Hillary said, laughing. “So I call Paul and asked if the dog beat me home.”

Hillary said Lucy usually stays relatively close during their walks, and that Paul hadn’t seen Lucy since they left for their walk.

“I walk home thinking maybe she still showed up while Paul is looking, and I just went walking back and I could hear her crying,” said Hillary. “Thank God, because I was actually thinking, ‘I’m looking for a body of a dog, and this is (daughter) Audrey’s last day of school — how am I gonna tell her?’”

Lucy entered the culvert on the west side of the gravel road and crawled all the way through … well, almost all the way through.

“I don’t know why she didn’t back out,” Hillary said.

Paul went to the house to retrieve a chain with a hook at the end of it, and they tried to pry up the top of the culvert to create more room for Lucy to get out, but their efforts were to no avail. That’s when they called the fire department — thankfully the “Jaws of Life” were not needed.

“I never thought I’d have to call the fire department for this,” Hillary said, still laughing.

“She just likes attention I guess,” said Hillary and Paul’s other daughter, Marissa.

Paul Sanders and his dog, Lucy, share a nice moment after the pooch was rescued from a culvert last Friday. Hillary Sanders and their son, Trenton Johnson, were also very pleased to have Lucy back safe and sound. Photo / Per Peterson