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Fireworks Freaked Pooch; Family Feared He Was Long Gone

A Riverside County Animal Services officer retrieved a dog from underneath a home on Tuesday (Oct. 13) after a family heard their pet whimpering.

The Riverside family feared Midnight, a 13-year-old female Labrador bolted and was long gone after fireworks exploded in their neighborhood on Sunday night – shortly after the Los Angeles Lakers won the National Basketball Association title.

Little did Midnight’s family know that their beloved pooch was under the home for two straight days. Midnight had jammed herself under a wood beam directly under what is the home’s kitchen area.

When Officer Michael Cox arrived at the home in the 3400 block of Franklin Avenue, he said he was uncertain if he might be able fit through the opening where the dog had presumably entered. The dog had leaped through a screen and hunkered down in a safe spot as far away from the opening as she could.

“It was as if she had burrowed a spot for herself, but she had actually entrapped herself,” Officer Cox said. “That’s the magnitude of just how scared she was from the fireworks.”

Midnight’s owner, Talisa McGrath, said that her pet had never run off before when people lit fireworks in the neighborhood. She would normally hunker down somewhere in the yard, Ms. McGrath said. (All the gates were closed, she said, so Midnight’s whereabouts were a mystery.) When she learned Midnight was under the house, she contacted a contractor. At first she thought she might have to have a hole cut into her kitchen floor.

Instead, the contractor – Gilbert Jordan of Jordan’s Custom Woodwork – provided Officer Cox with protective goggles and protective suit to safely retrieve the pet. A family member joined the officer into the crawl space to assist and make the pet feel more comfortable. When Officer Cox initially tried to pull the dog, she used her front legs on the other side of the beam to hold on and resist his help.

Eventually, the family member was able to push the dog and the officer pulled the dog in a safe manner. Inch by inch, the duo made progress without injuring her. The slow process took a few hours. As the dog noticed the light coming from the opening, she hustled out on her own.

“It took us a few minutes, and there was a lot of dirt kicked around,” Officer Cox said. “Even with flashlights, the visibility was very low. But the good news is we were finally able to nudge her from her spot and she crawled out of the hole into the arms of her very relieved and happy family.”

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