A rescue to remember

At 9.15pm on 1 May Emerald Fire Brigade rescued a family dog named Blackie after he became stuck in a wombat hole. 


A team of 14 firefighters from Emerald Fire Brigade took more than two hours rescuing the dog from the hole.

Members came prepared with floodlights and shovels but had to create a makeshift lasso to free the five-year-old Labrador.

The wombat hole was in a difficult location 200 metres behind the local houses on a steep hill and adjacent to a very muddy creek.

Blackie was stuck four metres into the wombat hole and Emerald Captain Paul Yandle said you could barely see him.

“We had to dig carefully as the conditions weren’t very stable and the wombat hole could have caved in," Paul said.

“We’d had enormous amounts of rain in the last two days so the area was very boggy and slippery. Many members slipped on the mud; it was a very dynamic situation.”

Emerald brigade has rescued a few dogs from difficult situations, but never from a wombat hole.

“Once we had dug in enough to get near him, we used the lasso tool to pull the dog to safety.

“Members of the family were a really great help and managed to get hold of some carpet and mats to stop members from slipping.

“The digging was hard work so we all took it in turns,” Paul added. “Because of the angle of the hill and the digging it caused more mud to fall from above, so we had to be very careful.”

Firefighter Amy Fontana is also a professional dog trainer and was able to give valuable advice about what to expect regarding the dog's behaviour when it emerged.

“It was important to understand the dog has been in great distress, so we made sure he saw his owner first to comfort him,” Amy said.

"This was a great example of the personal skills our members bring with them into CFA, which can be utilised at a job,” Paul said.

Blackie was rescued in around two hours and the brigade returned to the station at 12.15am.

“It was a really great team effort from everyone and a great outcome.”

Author: Holly Penketh