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Posted on: April 6, 2017

City employees reunite trapped dog with grateful owner

040417 Employee saves dog

A Minot resident was reunited with her lost and trapped dog on Tuesday thanks to the efforts of two City of Minot employees.

“The owner told me that to some people, it might be just a dog,” said Minot City Street Department employee Mark Espe, who crawled into a catch basin and through a sewer pipe to rescue the 17-year-old dachshund. “But she said Tilly means the world to her, so we were glad we could help find her and bring her back to her owner.”

The ordeal began at 12:39 p.m. on Tuesday, when Minot Central Dispatch received a telephone report of a dog stuck in a storm sewer near the intersection of 23rd Street Northwest and 8th Avenue Northwest. Animal Control Officer Tanya Mendelsohn responded to the scene, and recalled that a dachshund named Tilly had been reported missing from a residence in that area since 11 p.m. the previous night.

Mendelsohn requested assistance from the Minot Street Department after hearing barking from the storm sewer, although she was unable to see the animal. Mendelsohn also contacted resident Charitty Harvey, whom she suspected was the owner of the trapped animal, and asked her to come to the location.

Espe soon arrived at the scene, and removed the storm grate. Espe then squeezed through a small opening into the storm sewer.

“Once I got down into the catch basin, I could hear the dog yipping a little bit, maybe 50 or 75 feet up the pipe,” Espe said. “The owner told me the dog was blind and deaf, so I didn’t get much response when I was calling its name.”

Using a flashlight to help him see in the darkness, Espe belly-crawled up the pipe to where he found Tilly. “There wasn’t much response from the dog; just a little nuzzle on my hand,” Espe said. “I’m not sure the dog even knew I was carrying it. It was shaking pretty badly.”

Espe wiggled his way back through the pipe into the catch basin, and brought Tilly up through the storm sewer to an anxious Harvey.

“It was a pretty tight squeeze,” Espe said. “But I was just happy the dog was safe. If you have dogs, you know what they mean to you.”