A Step Above...
Gullwing Labradors
My Little Blockhead

Back on February 1, I was home late in the afternoon and I let my dogs out into my back yard. It's fully fenced so I never keep close tabs on them while they're out. About a half hour later, my black Lab, Breaker, comes to the back door, but PT isn't around. I call her a few times, but she doesn't come. So, I put my shoes on and I walk out to the yard.

With no leaves on the trees, there are only 2 places in the yard the dogs could be where they aren't seen easily. I walked to the shed wondering if maybe the dogs managed to get a hole under or through the fence. But there she was behind the shed, laying on the snow with her head stuck in one of the cinder blocks that have been back there since I moved in a year and a half ago.

I couldn't believe it! She was moving, so I could tell she was still with me. Her nose barely stuck out the other side and I could tell she couldn't make any noise. Never mind How did she do it? for now, How do I get her out? She can't pull herself out, and I better not pull on her, she's too far in. Let me think while I move away the other cinder blocks that are stacked up all around her. The block she was stuck in was thoroughly frozen to the ground. It was just starting to get dark and I was worried about getting cold, too.

I couldn't come up with anything right away, so I decided to call 911. They've seen this before, right? Uh-huh, sure Chuck. They send me to the Freehold Twp police non-emergency number. A policeman showed up about 5 minutes later.

Meanwhile, I went inside and got a heat gun and an extension cord. I was hoping I could cause the block to expand a bit, but that didn't work. Ultimately, the heat gun got the block unfrozen from the ground.

When the policeman showed up he was pretty stumped. Right away he called the fire department. We were both hoping that they would have a saw that could do this, rather than having to hit the block. While waiting for the fireman, the policeman asked me to get a hammer and chisel and he would keep at it with the heat gun.

When I brought back the hammer and chisel, he had gotten nowhere with the heat gun. So, we gave a few hits with the hammer and chisel. The chisel only chipped away a small amount of the block and it was driving her crazy, so we stopped. We went ahead and got the block unfrozen from the ground, and that led to the scariest part.

Once the block was freed from the ground, I grabbed the block at the top and tried to steer her out from behind the shed. She started wailing around and the block slipped out of my hand. I couldn't believe that she didn't break her neck! I finally got ahold of her and managed to get her out into the yard. She ran out of energy and we rested for a couple of minutes. Still no fireman.

After a short rest, I suggested we get her out to the front doorstep to wait for the fireman. I managed to guide her across the yard, over some ice and the tile floor, all the way to the front doorstep. She settles down again and it's at this point that I think to take a picture of her.

The first thing the fireman says when he arrives is "You know what we have to do, don't you?" I did, but I was hoping for no more hammering. I asked about a saw for this and told him about the hammer and chisel method not working. He said, "Just use the hammer".

So, I held down her body, the policeman held the block and the fireman swung the hammer. Sure enough, it crumbled in three whacks. Much better than the chisel. What a relief! She ran around a bit, I couldn't imagine how she felt.

I shook the policeman and fireman's hands and PT gave the fireman a kiss. PT is doing fine now, you'd never know that she went through this. All-in-all, she spent about an hour stuck in there. I turned over all of the blocks back behind the shed, so the holes aren't facing a direction that they can get at. Now, to wonder How did she manage to do that in the first place? Hhhmmm...

Note to those of you viewing the picture on-line: The picture has a lot of red tint on it. That's not blood. The puddle is drool from under her mouth (OK, that's less than lovely, too.) The red specs on the steps are pieces of leaves. I think the flash caused these to look different than they were.

Copyright, 2005 Chuck Shultz.

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