Monday, June 25, 2007

Rescue 911

Dakota and I in the dry river bed

We used to enjoy the TV show Rescue 911 which ran from 1989 to 1996. William Shatner narrated this informational series of true stories before television became over run with reality shows. Real life heroes who rescue others in peril are always interesting subjects.

I work in a rehabilitation hospital that has no emergency department. There are no physicians in the building after rounds are finished each weekday. If one of our patients experiences a medical emergency, we have to call 911 and request an ambulance to rush them to the acute care site. But I have seen the staff perform some real life rescues in the past couple of weeks.

Raccoon rescue

I drove in the parking lot last week and heard an awful racket in the storm sewer. I thought a fledgling may have fallen in the grate and could not see what was making the noise. At noon we discovered a distressed baby raccoon perched above the water. It had crawled through a drainage pipe and did not have enough room to turn around. The edges of the storm sewer cover had been paved over and there seemed to be no way to rescue the little animal.
Someone called security and before long, a number of able men put their heads together and planned the rescue. A truck and rope loosened the grate and someone found a log that gave the little raccoon a route to safety. A pail was put below the pipe in case it jumped in the water.
The terrified creature did land in the water and as it was lifted out, jumped back in the pipe, this time head first, and exited the way it had come in. Success!

Tadpole rescue

The river is so low now that there are many pools of water separated from any water flow. The heat of the past week is drying up these shallow puddles very quickly. Many minnows and developing tadpoles are competing for diminishing amounts of water. The herons and raccoons are having an easy time finding food. One of my work mates decided to scoop up some of the larger tadpoles and move them to deeper pools of water. There were a number of them stuck in the mud, but they did revive when they were relocated. There are many frogs and toads out sunning at noon who are able to hop to water, and there will be tadpoles that develop to maturity without our help. But it is gratifying to give a few more a chance of survival.

Recently, there have been literally thousands of tiny toads scurrying around the rocks and paths. We walk the paths carefully trying to avoid crushing them with our feet. I have seen two small ribbon snakes hunting them and understand that this is part of nature's cycle of abundance.

Tiny toad on the rock

It is nice to work with people who are caring, not only with our patients, but also with the little living things that many would consider to be pests. Those who relieve the suffering of the smallest creatures will be sure to treat other people with respect and compassion.


  1. Your post gives a whole new perspective to Rescue 911. Poor baby raccoon!
    Reminds me of the summer we had to rescue a baby skunk from our swimming pool--we used a log and it finally climbed out!

  2. You are so right, Ruth. People do reveal themselves in the way they treat our fellow creatures.

  3. That's so true Ruth. Sounds like you work with a great bunch of people.

  4. Anonymous8:02 am GMT-4

    Without a doubt this is a wonderful thing that eveyrone is doing to save anyone with needs including our critters!

  5. Anonymous8:12 am GMT-4

    Well done! It is always uplifting to see people helping animals - especially when it involves a small, wild critter that, all too often, are deemed insignificant. Thanks to all involved for doing this.

  6. Helping the helpless is what makes us humane and shows our dinity as people. These simple acts are life affirming.

  7. Thanks for sharing these rescue stories, Ruth. It's nice to know that there are people who can take time out of a busy workday to care about and help creatures who would otherwise die without human intervention.

  8. KGMom- I don't know if I'd be front in line rescuing a baby skunk! We have a number of skunks in our neighbourhood as we smell now and then.

    Cathy and Jayne- I have read that people who mistreat other people often start out mistreating animals. True kindness is extended to all things.

    Monarch- I am sure you are a model 911 nature rescuer. You have likely told some stories on you blog...

    LauraO- Thanks. I think we realize more and more that there is nothing living that is truly insignificant. I will continue to kill mosquitoes though!

    Lynne- I was afraid that our swaggering security officer would have nothing to do with the rescue. But now I know that he is a softie beneath the uniform.

    RuthieJ- To bad we don't hear more good news stories. Most people are truly decent and kind.

  9. I liked that show too.-thanks for the uplifting story.-I'm glad there are people who care about animals.

  10. I loved that show, too. Restores your faith in the good of people, doesn't it?


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.