SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Firefighters went to great lengths not just to save a dog that became caught in a drainage ditch, but to keep it from ever happening again.

RJ, an Akita, let curiosity get the best of him when he took off — possibly chasing a skunk that seems to have left his mark.

RJ’s dog friend, Tommy, pulled a sort of heroic Lassie move when his owner, Frank Chargualaf, went to call in his furballs for the night

“My little dog kept running back and forth in the middle of the yard like he was trying to show me something,” said Chargualaf.

Tommy was going frantic, frazzled and freaking out. That’s because RJ was down in a ditch and couldn’t get out.

“Looked like he tried to climb out and the inclines are so steep,” said Chargualaf.

Feeling helpless, Frank called 9-1-1 and firefighters showed up immediately.

“The dog was in fact in a canal standing there not hurt, but wanting to come home,” said Sacramento Metro Fire Dept. Captain Jason Wenner.

They couldn’t pull RJ up from the ravine, so they had to walk to him by going through a gate. Firefighters were the only ones with the key. They walked down to RJ, leashed him up and walked him right back out.

“This is one of those incidents that isn’t very high-stress. We’re all dog lovers,” said Cpt. Wenner.

That’s something you could sense when Cpt. Wenner told us about his own dog.

“A 16-year-old Weimaraner, Maverick,” said Wenner.

This captain is happy to save any life knowing man’s best friend deserves a second chance.

Frank is now all smiles. After all, he’s had RJ for five years. But it’s Tommy who can hardly contain himself. He’s ecstatic to get his big brother back.

“Thank you very much for helping me with my dog. He’s part of my family; I wouldn’t know what to do,” said Chargualaf.

Firefighters already went above and beyond, and took it one step further by coming back to Frank’s house and fixing the hole in the fence that RJ escaped through. They’re assuming RJ learned his lesson, but you can never be too sure.

Frank says they recently moved into that house and didn’t realize there was a hole in the fence.


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