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Trash to the Rescue
by Alice Arnold

We were heading into one of our alleys but the trash was piled so high and wide we couldn’t even try to get the car through it, so I drove around the block to get in from the other end. As we were making our circle from the street, about halfway up the block I heard an animal in distress. I stopped the car and we listened.

We followed the sound to a newly boarded vacant house. One second story window was not completely covered by the board used to seal it, and we could see a dog’s head. We could hear him digging and whining, trying to get out. We used a crow bar to pry the front door loose enough for one person to get in; I volunteered to hold the board open while my partner went inside the house. I heard her calling to the dog and I heard the dog whining and crying in answer, but my partner returned to me by herself.

She explained that a board nailed at the top of the stairs leading to the second floor sealed off access to it. I went inside with her to examine this new obstacle and discovered that the board wasn’t nailed, it was fastened with screws and lots of them, as if someone deliberately made sure to block off the second floor. We tried but couldn’t budge the board; now the dog was going crazy trying to get to us.

My partner and I went out to the car to look for a screw driver or some other tool, anything that would make this rescue possible. The car had nothing in it to help us so we stood there for a minute, thinking. I was staring at the house when I noticed it was a small house, the second story wasn’t that high from the ground. I drove onto the sidewalk and pulled the car close to the front of the house.

My partner stood on top of the car, but we were about a foot short of the height we needed. Now what? Suddenly I thought of the garbage heap that blocked our original entrance into the alley - maybe I could find something there to help us. As I poked through the mountain of trash I came across a dresser drawer and carried it back, maybe this will do it.

By standing on top of the drawer that was on top of the car, my partner was able to reach the window; she pried loose the board and climbed inside the house where the dog was waiting for her. I know he understood we were there to free him. His size made the transfer a little shaky for a minute, but my partner handed him out the window to me as I stood on the drawer on top of the car. As soon as I had the dog in my arms my partner jumped out the window and the three of us got to safe ground as fast as we could. We put the dog in the car, I took the dresser drawer back to the trash heap, and we high-tailed it out of there.

Mountains of trash are not uncommon in the alleys, and they can be quite annoying; most often we have to go around the block (sometimes two or three blocks, depending on one-way streets and dead ends) and we waste precious time getting back to our alley route. But this time the trash heap blocking our way actually guided us to the trapped dog. If the alley had been clear I would have driven straight through, never going past the boarded house, never hearing the dog’s frantic pleas for help. In the end it was also the mountain of trash that gave us the final piece of equipment - the dresser drawer - that made our rescue a success.


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