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Firefighters and Thames Water help save dog trapped in water pipe in Sunny Hill Park, Barnet
Once an adventurous dog realised there were rats in a water pipe on her daily walk, nothing was going to stand in her way of getting to them.
But when daring Dottie became trapped in the narrow tunnel in Sunny Hill Park, Watford Way, Hendon, it took firefighters and Thames Water Board’s Diagnostics Team three hours to bring her to safety.
The playful Jack Russell is now recovering after her ordeal on Saturday and her walker, Jayne Donegan, thanked the “heroic” rescue team for saving the little dog’s life.
Dr Donnegan, of Sunny Gardens Road, was walking eight-year-old Dottie for her owners, Percy Reboul, a local historian and his wife Doreen, at 3pm when she realised the dog had leapt into the narrow tube.
She could hear muffled barking and tried to entice her to come back up with some treats, but her efforts failed .
A helpful passerby phoned the fire service at around 3.30pm, and crews from Mill Hill and Wembley arrived armed with special cameras and ground excavation tools.
Nobody knew where the went so the Thames Water Diagnostics Team was called - but as the pipes were old they were not on plans so there was no way of telling where she was.
The firefighters began digging at various places but the pipes curved and it was "total guesswork".
The Thames Water team eventually sent a long tube with a powerful torch on the end down the pipe - but there was no sign of Dottie Mrs Donnegan, a GP, said: “I knew she was in trouble, but Percy was very stoic and calm throughout the whole thing.
“The thought of her down there with no food or water was too much to bear. I didn’t want to think of her dying down there. I thought a rat might have bitten her.
“It was getting dark and the firefighters and the water board didn't give up but I was worried they would soon have to. I didn't think they could dig up the whole park."
Finally, at around 6.30pm, the firefighters dug down and located the pipe junction - and 20 meters up the hill was Dottie.
She followed the light slowly all those metres down the pipe and when the terrified dog scrambled to the top, the crowds of people who had gathered to watch cheered in relief.
Mrs Donnegan added: “I am so grateful. They spent all their energy and resources on it and it was such a difficult job. It was like finding a needle in a haystack.
“I can’t tell you how relieved we all are. The firefighters and the Thames Water Diagnostics Team acted like heroes - without them Dottie would be dead.”
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