Palo Alto Weekly

News - June 29, 2012

Raccoon chase goes south when dog maroons self

Firefighters rescue 40-pound dog from tree in Atherton

by Dave Boyce

Tradition has it that when a dog trees a raccoon, it's a three-step process. In Step 1, the dog chases the raccoon up the tree. Step 2 has the dog standing around at the bottom of the tree looking up at the raccoon and barking. Time passes. In Step 3, the dog realizes the futility of barking and goes away, whereupon the raccoon climbs down and resumes its life.

Guinness, a 40-pound, 8-year-old Wheaton terrier, added a nuance on the evening of June 19 in Atherton: Step 2a, in which the dog climbs the tree, chasing the raccoon to a higher perch. The problem with this is Step 2b: Getting out of the tree once you realize that you're a dog and that there's a reason that dogs don't climb trees.

Firefighters Bill Gilmore, Felkak House and Tony Eggimann from the Menlo Park Fire Protection District organized a rescue, taking Guinness from a large, lateral branch of an old oak after giving him a treat and fitting him into his travel harness, Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman said in a statement.

Guinness was "frozen in place, nervous and shaking" on a branch 30 feet above the ground and 50 feet above the Atherton Drainage Channel when Eggimann, atop a 36-foot ladder, captured him and carried him safely back to the ground, Schapelhouman stated.

The dog's owner had also climbed the tree, though not as far as her dog, but firefighters convinced her to climb back down, Schapelhouman said. The family asked not to be identified, he said.

Did Guinness learn a lesson? Only time will tell.

"In my 32 years in the Fire Service, we have been asked to rescue many cats in trees, and while we have rescued dogs from pipes, culverts, under homes and many other locations closer to the ground, I have never seen or heard of a dog that could climb a tree," Schapelhouman stated. "I'm glad this had such a positive ending, Guinness is an amazing animal."

Almanac Staff Writer Dave Boyce can be emailed at dboyce@almanacnews.com.

Comments

Posted by VoxPop, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 27, 2012 at 5:09 pm

Nicely written piece.


Posted by Dennis, a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 28, 2012 at 10:29 am

VoxPop, I was thinking the same thing. The opening paragraph is not out of Journalism 101, but perfectly sets the mood and helps visualize the story.

This was a nice, positive story.


Posted by Gethin, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 28, 2012 at 11:35 am

Raccoon 1
Dog 0


Posted by cgl, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 28, 2012 at 12:39 pm

I agree. It was a very clever story.


Posted by jardins, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 28, 2012 at 2:02 pm

"a large and laterally oriented branch of an old oak tree"--?? The journalist means a large branch growing out from the side of the tree? That's an amazing thing to envisage!


Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 28, 2012 at 7:57 pm

I read the story before looking at the photo. Impressive situation. Nice work by all involved!


Posted by Nora Charles, a resident of Stanford
on Jun 28, 2012 at 10:08 pm

Great job, firefighters! I'm glad it ended happily for all.

And yes, good writing.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 28, 2012 at 10:09 pm

Why am I not surprised it was a Wheaten terrier?


Posted by moi, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 28, 2012 at 11:24 pm

Pelicans and terriers had an interesting day.

As did the Norman Rockwell Fire Departments.

xlnt.


Posted by dog, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jun 29, 2012 at 6:46 pm

so that's what firefighters are paid $200,000 per year for, makes sense


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields