It had a happy ending.
When Becky Brewer’s 60-pound treeing coon dog Lily went missing from her 80 Cannonade Trail home in Tattersall Trails Estates on Tuesday evening last week she looked everywhere, or so she thought.
She put up fliers throughout the neighborhood. She went searching on adjacent streets but found nothing until late last Wednesday/early Thursday morning when she heard something and looked down, or rather, under the street.
As it turned out, Lily was close to home the whole time. Close as in stuck inside a 15-inch wide metal drainage tile or pipe that ran from Brewer’s yard under the street to a neighbor’s yard where it merged with two smaller plastic tiles.
Finding Lily was the easy part. Getting her out was another story that eventually involved members of Oak Grove Volunteer Fire Department and the Whitley County Road Department, a backhoe, some flashlights, a shovel and representatives from Whitley County Animal Control, the Whitley County Judge-Executive’s Office, Whitley County EMS, Corbin Utilities, Delta Gas and possibly a few others.
Lily turned up at Brewer’s home this past Halloween. The family found her lying on a water hose outside the home and nursed her back to health.
Of course being a treeing coon dog means that Lily likes to chase things.
On the night of Tuesday, June 14, she disappeared.
Late Wednesday, June 15, around midnight, Brewer let her Yorkie out in the yard and it started barking near the drainage ditch.
“I thought maybe there was a skunk or possum,” Brewer said. “A few minutes later I had the window open and I heard a bark. It was that coon dog bark.”
Brewer ran outside and called for Lily.
“She barked again and then I realized she was in the ditch,” Brewer said.
To be more precise, Lily was actually inside the drainage tile pipe under the street.
It was the last place Brewer would have thought to look.
She thinks Lily probably chased an animal into the pipe, but when she couldn’t turn around, she freaked out and stayed where she was about 30 feet or so into the pipe.
“I can’t believe this happened,” Brewer noted.
Brewer’s first reaction was to call 911. The fire department came out but unfortunately they couldn’t get Lily out.
One of Brewer’s next calls about 7 a.m. was to next-door neighbor Lon “Chuck” Head, who is Second District Magistrate. It would turn out to be the strangest call Head has gotten during his tenure as magistrate.
“Becky said, ‘Chuck, we have a problem over here. Can you help me with it?'” Head recalled.
After Brewer explained the problem, Head immediately got Whitley County Judge-Executive Pat White Jr. on the phone and relayed the information to him.
His reply was, “We’ll be right there,” Head noted.
Road Department Supervisor Truman Prewitt said this was also the strangest incident he had ever had to deal with. He admits that he initially thought White was pulling his leg when he called about 7:15 a.m. Thursday.
“When he went into details, I knew that he was serious,” Prewitt noted.
Around 8:15 a.m., several Whitley County officials were already on the scene, including Projects Director Amber Owens, Whitley County Animal Control Officer Wayne Perkins, and members of the Oak Grove Volunteer Fire Department.
White arrived a short time later.
It took until about 9:25 a.m. for the backhoe to arrive on the scene.
The road department had been doing work off Highway 904 near Gatliff the prior day and had left the backhoe there because they planned to resume work Thursday morning, but their plans had changed.
When the backhoe arrived, it started digging near the edge of the yard across the street where the drainage tile emptied into a smaller plastic tile.
First the smaller tile was removed.
About 9:34 a.m., Whitley County EMS Assistant Chief Brandon Woods, who was looking through the pipe from the end in Brewer’s yard, yelled to diggers “You can see daylight through the pipe … You’re close to her.”
About 9:37 a.m., road department worker Lynn Perkins laid down in the dirt looking through the pipe.
“I can see her face and nose. She is about eight feet from this end. Her head is turned towards me,” Perkins noted.
Brewer soon replaced Perkins lying in the dirt yelling for Lily to come to her.
About 9:40 a.m., Lily’s head popped out the pipe soon followed by the rest of her body.
She appeared none the worst as she delivered plenty of kisses to Brewer and then her daughters, Kelsey and Kaitlyn, who were standing nearby.
“It means the world to me. I can’t imagine that they would come out and do this and dig up the yard and street to get her out,” Brewer said crying a few minutes after Lily’s rescue. “She would have died if she had not gotten out.”
Brewer said that Lily would be staying inside “for a long time” after this ordeal.
“I almost cried when that dog came out of that drain. It just tickled me to death. I couldn’t be any more happier than I am right now,” Head added. “I can just imagine if it was one of my dogs that was stuck in there. I would just go crazy worrying about them.”
“The main thing is we saved the dog,” Prewitt added.
Another bit of good news for Brewer and her Cannonade neighbors is that the road tile in question needed replacing, which officials went ahead and did Thursday since they already had the road partially dug up.