Weston dog rescued after 75-foot journey through drainpipe

Dave Donnelly lifts Rowdie out of the junction chamber.
Dave Donnelly lifts Rowdie out of the junction chamber.
Richard Murray

Rowdie, a 14-year-old chocolate Labrador retriever from Weston, found himself in a tight spot Wednesday afternoon when he followed his nose into a drainage pipe near a Little League baseball field.

During his daily walk at Burchard Park with his owner, Noel Estes, Rowdie caught a scent.

“All of a sudden he just shot off,” Estes said. He ran into a drainage pipe about 2 feet in diameter and was unable to get out.

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Estes said it had happened in the past, but the 80-pound dog was always able to get himself out, walking backwards since the pipe was too small for him to turn around. Because of all the recent rain, Estes thinks Rowdie was unable to get his footing to back out.

Weston Animal Control Officer Richard Murray responded to the scene and teamed up with water division employee Dave Donnelly.

“I’m still trying to figure out how it got down between the bars” blocking the entrance, Murray said.

He said he and Donnelly could hear Rowdie barking from inside the pipe. They first opened a manhole about 35 feet away from the opening to try to get him out, but he was already past that.

The next break in the pipe was roughly 40 feet farther along, a junction chamber for the drainage system. Fortunately, after about an hour of being in the pipe, Rowdie had not passed that point yet.

“’Cookies’ was the magic word,” Murray said. The men and Estes called out the word and offered the treats, trying to coax Rowdie out.

But before he made it out of the pipe, Rowdie laid down, apparently too exhausted to continue, Murray said.

Donnelly then crawled into the pipe and pulled Rowdie out with a noose before carrying him out of the junction chamber.

“It went relatively smoothly,” Murray said.

Doug McDougall, the town recreation director, was also at the scene and today, Murray said, McDougall is working on blocking off the pipe to prevent this from happening again.

Estes said that after giving Rowdie a bath, he is tired but otherwise unharmed.

“He’s a happy camper,” she said.