The Bangor Fire Department rescue a dachshund owned by local resident Anne Fenner on Saturday after the dog vanished down a culvert and got stuck. Bangor Fire Dept. photo. Credit: Bangor Fire Dept. photo

Fiona, a miniature dachshund, got a little more than she may have bargained for Saturday afternoon when her expedition into a drainage culvert ended with a rescue operation by the Bangor Fire Department.

The adventure began when Fiona’s owner Anne Fenner was walking her dogs in the field behind Bangor High School and Fiona got off leash and made a break for it.

“She crossed a path and went into the woods,” Fenner said late Saturday afternoon. “We called and called but she had disappeared and she always comes back.”

Knowing there was a culvert not far from where Fiona was heading and knowing the dog’s love for exploring anything resembling a tunnel, Fenner said she had her suspicions where the dog had ended up.

“Dachshunds love culverts,” Fenner said. “But Fiona knows how to back out of them.”

The culvert passed under a street and Fenner said she followed its route to a sewer grate between Orchard Hills Parkway and Baldwin Drive and when she looked down, there was Fiona looking back up and crying.

“Sure enough, there was a big pipe that opened into a bunch of water below it,” Fenner said. “There was another pipe lower and to the left [and] Fiona could only jump into that pipe and not back into the other one to get back out.”

Unsure what else to do, Fenner dialed 911 and within minutes, the crew from Bangor Fire Department Engine 6 was on the scene.

“It was pretty simple,” said Engine 6 Lt. Joe Wellman. “The dog had ended up in the catch basin between two culverts [and] you could see her down there but [Ms. Fenner] had no way to get down there and get her out.”

Wellman and crew members Joel Burda and John Goulet were able to get the grate open and extend a ladder down the 4-feet or so to Fiona.

Burda then climbed down and retrieved the bedraggled, but otherwise uninjured dachshund while Fenner and Fiona’s far less adventurous brother Frankie looked on.

“She was nervous but looked happy to be out,” Wellman said. “She was barking a bit, but her ‘mom’ was right there and [Fiona] was happy to see us.”

Wellman said he and his fellow firefighters have rescued dogs from burning buildings before, but this was the first rescue operation from a culvert for them.

“The firemen were so nice and not annoyed acting at all,” Fenner said. “They were very good with her.”

As for culvert-loving Fiona?

“I doubt she’s learned her lesson,” Fenner said

Julia Bayly

Julia Bayly

Julia Bayly is a reporter at the Bangor Daily News with a regular bi-weekly column. Julia has been a freelance travel writer/photographer since 2000.