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North Vancouver firefighters rescue dog trapped in crawlspace (VIDEO)

Little Dutchy was pulled to safety by North Vancouver City Fire Department after getting trapped in a building's small crawlspace

It was a busy day for North Vancouver City Fire Department on Oct. 7, but “there’s always time for a puppy rescue.”

Firefighters had to put their thinking caps on Thursday afternoon when a pooch got into a predicament when it fell about 10 metres down a hole and became trapped in a building’s small crawlspace.

Mike Danks, assistant fire chief, said Dutchy, a small dog, was with his owner at Cascade at the Pier, near the Shipyards building, enjoying the private waterfront area when he made his way under a set of concrete stairs at the building, where there had been some erosion that had exposed a hole underneath.

“It's a really, really tight area to get into,” he said. “It’s only about a foot high where you'd have to crawl in and then there's a one-foot by one-foot hole that went down 25 to 30 feet (eight to nine metres).

“That's where this dog, unfortunately, went into and ending up falling down. It was a considerable distance, and it was pretty dirty down there.”

He said crews received calls that the dog had become trapped around 4:45 p.m.

After a thorough investigation of the lay of the land, Danks said the crew found there was no other way to get to the dog other than to go directly down to it. The only problem was it was such a confined space a firefighter couldn’t easily get into.

“Crews kind of wedged their way into that space and they're able to lower a rope down to the dog, who obviously can't use its paws to grab onto the rope… So, they just had to be really patient and wait for the dog to make its way over to the rope, and then they were able to cinch it with the rope and pull it up.”

After 45 minutes, Dutchy had been pulled to safety, and other than being covered in dirt and a little frightened, he was uninjured and happy to be back in the arms of its owner.

Danks said firefighters made sure the hazard was mitigated, so it doesn’t happen again.

He added that watching crews hash out a plan and get the job done safely and calmly was “such a proud moment.”

“It was pretty amazing to see how well the crews comforted the people and reassured them that everything was going to be OK,” Danks said.

“It's not an easy situation to deal with. It was quite challenging. But in the end, it just shows when you put everyone's heads together you can come up with something that works.

“It was a happy ending, you know, for the dog and for the owners.”

Watch firefighters rescue Dutchy