PWFD to the doggie rescue

Firefighters pull scared dog named Molly from breakwater crevice, return her to worried owners who were joined by volunteers in search for runaway terrier

THE PORT WASHINGTON FIRE DEPARTMENT on Friday rescued Molly, a lost Wheaton terrier, from a crevice in the rocks that make up the jetty off Rotary Park. Firefighter/paramedic Cameron Karstaedt held the dog, wrapped in a blanket, while Lt. Sam Lorge petted her. Photo courtesy Port Washington Fire Department
By 
KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Ozaukee Press staff

Firefighters have a reputation for getting cats out of trees, but the Port Washington Fire Department took that stereotype to a new level Friday when they rescued a dog from the jetty off Rotary Park.

The dog, a rescue named Molly who had been missing since Wednesday afternoon, fell between some of the rocks on the marina breakwater while trying to elude her would-be rescuers.

When treats and food failed to lure the dog within reach, firefighters moved one of the large rocks to reach the Wheaton terrier and attach her leash.

They were then able to pull her out of the hole and return Molly to her owners.

“It was nice to get the dog back to its owners. They were pretty distraught,” Deputy Chief Joe DeBoer said. “That was one of the feel-good calls — a nice way to end the year.”

Molly, he said, seemed well when she was pulled out of the rock wall.

“It let us pet her,” he said. “We got lucky. We all like dogs.”

Molly’s owners, Anne and Doug Bevill, took the dog to a Grafton emergency veterinarian, who said the animal was none the worse for wear except for a small cut on the paw.

Molly’s saga began Wednesday, Dec. 27, when she and Doug took a walk on the bike trail and then headed to their home on East James Drive.

Just getting Molly to take a walk was a big accomplishment for the terrier, a rescue dog who was adopted by the Bevills two months ago.

“When we got her, she wouldn’t go on a sidewalk. She wouldn’t go near anybody,” Anne said. “Now, she walks down the bike path. She walks past other people, other dogs.”

But she’s still a little skittish, Anne said, and she’s stubborn as well. So when Doug tried to get the dog to turn onto James Drive, Molly, who apparently wasn’t ready to go home, sat down instead. Doug bent down to pick her up just as a bike whizzed by, frightening the animal.

“It scared her and she just took off,” Anne said. “Off the leash went, and off she went.”

Doug hurried home and he and Anne headed out in their car to look for Molly. Along the way, they stopped people they passed to ask if they had seen the dog, and to their surprise most joined in the search.

“There were some young people who chased her up to Noridge, running through the yards. They went to the water plant, to Veterans Park. There was a young man on a skateboard — he was really fast, and he almost had her,” Anne said. “Those people wouldn’t give up. It was just amazing.”

But eventually they had to give up the search. That night, Anne said, she put Molly’s crate in the driveway with some clothes in it, hoping the scent would lure the dog home, but it didn’t work.

They posted her disappearance on Facebook, and people across the community began sharing sightings. Then on Friday afternoon, they got a call from a man named Pete who said he saw her on the breakwater off Rotary Park.

The couple, along with Pete, a fisherman who was in the area and a woman named Donna Herrick who drove in from Grafton to join the search, walked out on the rocks but Molly disappeared.

Then, Anne said, she saw Molly’s eyes peering out of a hole in the jetty.

“I don’t know if she fell down there or maneuvered her way in,” Anne said. Molly was wedged in the hole,  and no one could reach her.

They called the police department but the dispatcher told them that unless the dog was impeding traffic there was nothing officers could do, Anne said. They called their daughter, son-in-law and grandson — Katie and Sherman Gengler and their son Phill — who came to the waterfront, then rang up the fire department, which came to their aid.

DeBoer said the call came in as a dog trapped on the rocks in the marina, so a large contingent responded, including the dive team and a crew for the department’s inflatable boat.

“We weren’t sure what we were going to encounter,” he said. “We could see maybe 15 scenarios.”

It took about 15 minutes to get Molly out once they arrived, DeBoer said,  noting a department member climbed down to put the leash on the dog once they moved the rock.

“She was sopping wet,” Anne said of Molly, adding the dog was covered in algae.

“She looked like Peter Pan, she was so green,” she said.

After getting checked out by the vet, Molly came home and “she slept hard,” Anne said.

Their daughter gave her a tracker for Molly, Anne said, and the couple have been “hyper vigilant” about hanging on to the leash tightly while walking the dog.

“I’m not taking that chance again,” she said.

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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