The partnership of dogs and firefighters is a truly iconic image in American society. Whether it’s a Dalmatian riding the big rig or a K-9 German Shepherd on search and rescue, the bond between dog and human is perhaps at its strongest in fire service.
And, occasionally, the dog goes from rescuer to victim. And when that happens, as it did in Oceanside, Calif., on Sunday afternoon, the fire department will always be there to help a four-legged friend.
In this case, it was Spike, a 12-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback, who needed a little assistance, after getting himself wedged between two storage containers on a school playground.
Like any good doggie, Spike was playing with some kids at South Oceanside Elementary School when his curiosity got the best of him. The space between the containers was less than a foot, just big enough for Spike to go in, but not nearly big enough to get out. Spike managed to get about six feet into the space when he suddenly found himself trapped.
Cue with Oceanside Fire Department and another iconic image of fire rescue — the “Jaws of Life.” You may remember seeing the mighty rescue tool in action on shows like Emergency! back in the 1970s. Powered by a generator, the two arms of the device are placed into a crevice, like a jammed car door, or in this case, the one-foot space between metal containers. The arms then expand, forcing the two sides to expand with them. Soon enough, out popped Spike, into the waiting arms of his grateful owners.
How wedged was Spike? His happy, wagging tail banged against the sides of the containers as he made his way to freedom.
“This was a welcome break from what we normally deal with,” Oceanside Battalion Chief Pete Lawrence told KSWB.
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About the author: Jeff Goldberg is a freelance writer in Quincy, Mass. A former editor for MLB.com and sportswriter for the Hartford Courant who covered the University of Connecticut’s women’s basketball team (Huskies!) and the Boston Red Sox, Jeff has authored two books on the UConn women: Bird at the Buzzer (2011) and Unrivaled (2015). He lives with his wife, Susan, and their rescue pup, Rocky, an Italian Greyhuahua/Jack Russell mix from a foster home in Tennessee, hence the name Rocky (as in Rocky Top).