Plucky Hamilton pooch cheats death, again
Mack has cheated death a second time.
At just over a year old, the collie-cross pup escaped death row at a Waitomo pound and, on Friday morning, a slip of the paw left the canine in a perilous position.
Mack found himself trapped 10 metres down a vertical bank on the edge of the rumbling Waikato River.
His owner, who rushed to the scene, was frantic. She thought Mack was done for.
"My worst fear was that he was going to get all worked up, fall down and basically drown," his owner Sharla Pearce said following the speedy rescue.
"It was very stressful."
Doggie minder Corinne Young had been walking Mack and another pooch at the Hamilton Gardens when Mack took things a step too far.
He tumbled about 10 metres down a bank and ended up stranded in the shrubs.
"He was halfway down the bank, and very close to the river," Young said.
"He just ran like a lunatic over the bank. I could hear him whimpering so I knew he was alive, which was good.
"But there's nothing you can do in a situation like this. I'm 64 and not in a position to go down there."
Pearce, who runs her own dog rescue, had saved Mack from being put down about seven months ago.
He came from bad beginnings and was not particularly fond of men, she said.
"He's a young dog but he was a rescue ... He's a bit timid, so he get's very stressed out."
There was no help at hand so Young phoned police.
They directed her to animal control. But they couldn't help. So she phoned police back.
"In the end they phoned the fire service."
There to respond was the Hamilton Fire Brigade.
Having spent the previous few days practising line rescues, senior station officer Alban Osborne said brigade members were keen to put their training into action.
They hooked up the rescue lines to the nearby trees and sent a pair of willing firefighters bouncing down the scrub lined bank.
"It was about 10 metres down from the ledge - the dog was stuck so we sent a couple of firefighters down the bank with a line rescue kit to get to the dog.
"We retrieved the dog and pulled them both back up."
Mack was back out and running around in no time, he said. His owner was very appreciative.
"It's all in a day's work," he laughed.
And Pearce couldn't thank the fire crews enough.
"It's a big relief, I'm a bit shaky but very relieved to have him back and he was uninjured."