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Man reunited with dog rescued from drainage system
BEAUMONT - by Lauren Huet
A former Beaumont City Councilman, Brian Alter, found himself calling upon all the resources he could think of to help find his lost dog. In the end, a refusal to give up and a handy chisel reunited a man with his dog.
Alter adopted Copper just a week ago from the Humane Society, and is overjoyed to have him back.
"I was thrilled to find him. Honestly that I was thrilled to find him and he was okay. I had all kinds of horrible thoughts and my goal was to find him because this is a wonderful dog and I want him to have a nice home," said Alter.
Copper is the newest member of the Alter family, and he's joining three other dogs.
"Every time one of our kids has left home, by coincidence, we've grown by a dog," said Alter.
Copper just got back from quite an adventure that could have turned out differently.
"[He] could have gotten stuck somewhere and not gotten out at all," said Alter.
It all started yesterday.
"My wife was coming home and she opened the door and he was gone," said Alter. "I mean he just bolted past her before she had the chance to stop him and went out and chased the cat."
Copper chased the family's cat right into a small sewer pipe.
"And so he went in right there," said Alter, pointing to a tiny pipe that runs under the driveway. "We presumed he was going to come out the other side, but that's not what happened."
He called the city, and someone came out to inspect the opening, but they said Copper couldn't have gotten into the sewer line. So, Alter searched the neighborhood for hours.
"I lost my dad eight weeks ago or seven weeks ago, and so there's just a lot going on," said Alter. "Finding Copper was kind of my little up for this year. So, losing him was just a bad thing."
After a fruitless search and a sleepless night, Alter took his other dogs out for their usual walk at 4:30 a.m., he hoped they would lead him to Copper.
"They went to that grate, right there," Alter said, pointing to a drainage grate on the side of the street. "And I turned on the flashlight and they were there."
Their family cat on the left and Copper on the right. When the other dogs started barking, the cat bolted, but Copper stayed.
"He was calm and I was able to reach down through the grate and get a leash on his collar so I could hold on to him," said Alter, who was afraid Copper would disappear into the underground drainage network. "And we were able to get some water to him and drop some cookie biscuits to him."
Alter says the drainage grate is new, and wedged in so tightly that they couldn't lift it. An Animal Control officer came to help. He didn't have the proper equipment to open the grate, but stayed by Alter's side throughout the ordeal.
At around 8 a.m., several hours later, a construction worker working on a neighbor's house came to the rescue.
"He had a little sledgehammer and a chisel and was able to loosen it," said Alter.
So Copper's adventure has a happy ending. Alter says the family cat regularly roams the sewer line, and will be fine.