After Sharon Ditta’s dog Howie fell down a pipe in the Beban Park area on June 26, firefighters from Nanaimo Fire Rescue Station 2 assisted. Pictured here, Capt. Bryun Ashlie, left, Lt. Jason Battie, Blair Pinker, Ditta, Howie, and Kevin Pond. (KARL YU/News Bulletin)

Woman grateful after Nanaimo firefighters rescue dog from drain

Nanaimo Fire Rescue says dog Howie fell down 15 feet in Beban Park

A Nanaimo woman is expressing gratitude to Nanaimo Fire Rescue after firefighters rescued her dog following a five-metre (15-foot) drop.

Sharon Ditta was with her dog Howie at Beban Park, near the equestrian area around 9:15 p.m. June 26, when Howie got free, ran under a building and fell down an open sewer. Ditta tried crawling under the building, but couldn’t get to her dog.

“The firefighters came, they didn’t have to and they did, and they climbed down … and they got my dog out,” said Ditta. “It was just unbelievable, but at the end I said to them, ‘I feel so appreciative. What can I do to say thanks? I really appreciate it,’ because I don’t know what I would’ve done because I coudn’t move the cover myself and [firefighter Jason Battie] said, ‘Nothing at all. It’s our pleasure,’ and I was just blown away.”

Ditta said Howie has two broken bones, lost some teeth, had a toe amputated and is lucky to be alive.

Battie said the rescue had to be performed by going under a portable. Firefighters couldn’t see Howie immediately, he said.

“We could hear it,” said Battie, also a lieutenant. “It had gone down the pipe a little bit and after a little bit of time of calling the dog … it crawled its way back, poked its head through the pipe back into the manhole and after making sure the manhole was safe to enter, we did gas readings with our detector, and we set up a rope system.

“I was able to go down and grab the dog before it went back down the pipe and we were able to bring it right back up and give it back to the lady, so it worked out really well.”

Ditta is grateful to both veterinarian Dr. Ken Langelier, who performed the surgery, and to firefighters from Station 2 for assisting in the rescue.

“You don’t really think about [firefighters] until you actually use them and you really, really need them right?” asked Ditta.

reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

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