Dog rescued after three hours in drainage pipe

A rescue dog had to be rescued again early Friday afternoon after she ran away from her foster home and hid in a drainage pipe along the south driveway of the Spring Lake Country Club. Crystal Gray, 17252 Villa Park, said they had just taken in the dog - a 40-pound English pointer mix - to foster. Gray said she was inside the house around 12:30 p.m. Friday when she saw her tree move and went to the yard only to find the dog had chewed its way through the fence. "She has been real skittish since we picked her up last night,' Gray said.
Becky Vargo
May 23, 2011


Gray’s husband, Aaron, came home and helped search for the dog around the neighborhood, following it back down Fruitport Road when the dog ran across the road and into the drainage pipe.

When the Grays couldn’t coax the dog — who they call Mama Hope, out of the pipe — they called 911 and firefighters responded to the scene shortly after 1 p.m.

Food was obtained from the country club, but the slab of steak wasn’t enough to encourage the dog out of hiding. Firefighters and neighbors tried to rig a variety of poles with hooks or ropes, but couldn’t reach the dog.

A rescue volunteer was sent to the Petco store to retrieve one of Mama Hope’s puppies to use as incentive to bring the 40-pound dog out of the drain. The puppy, which was at the store to be adopted, was encouraged into the pipe with the use of an animal control officer’s snare.

“She’s whining, but she’s not moving,” said firefighter Curt Haaksma of Mama Hope.

Emergency officials worked with Spring Lake Township Department of Public Works and the Ottawa County Road Commission to come up with a way to gain access to the pipe from another direction. Firefighters eventually dug a hole to the pipe, started banging on it and the dog starting back toward the opening.

At around 3:30 p.m., the dog, who had been about 20 feet into the 12-inch pipe, inched her way back out with help from Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department Animal Control Officer Tom Taylor.

Animal rescuer Michele Barnes immediately draped the dog in a blanket and provided the dog with a plate of food, which Mama Hope eventually gulped down.

“I’m glad it’s over and she’s OK,” Barnes said. “I love how everybody rallied. They didn’t hesitate to get her out.”

Barnes said she was en route to a veterinarian with Mama Hope as of 5 p.m. Friday to get her checked out. The dog had been abused and was still suffering from that abuse, she said.

The good news, Barnes said, is that “an employee from the Spring Lake Country Club is adopting Mama Hope.”

Barnes said the woman’s dog had just died and she was excited about providing a place for the rescue dog.

Mama Hope’s puppies, which are seven weeks old, will be available for adoption at an Adopt-A-Thon being held today, from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., at Earth’s Edge in Grand Landing near U.S. 31 and Jackson Street.

Mama Hope’s Story

Mama Hope was a homeowner surrender in Georgia, Barnes said. She had been crated for extended periods of time and had eight puppies in the crate.

Gray said Mama Hope’s toenails were very long and curled, causing her to walk on the sides of her feet, causing deformed bones. The dog’s hair was discolored and she had burns from sitting in her own urine for extended periods of time.

Mama Hope and her puppies were eventually brought to Michigan to what was supposed to be a rescue in Norton Shores, Gray said.

Barnes said a resident was using the name Michele’s Rescue to obtain the animals and then try to sell them for profit. When the person transporting the dogs saw the bad condition of the home in Norton Shores, she notified police.

Barnes said police ordered the person to immediately deliver all of the animals to Michele’s Rescue in Spring Lake.

“I wasn’t prepared for 11 dogs and two cats,” Barnes said.

The animal rescuer said she had to use all of her own money to take care of immediate needs for the animals and she is in desperate need of people to adopt or foster the animals.

Gray added that someone dropped off three strays.

Anyone interested in fostering or adopting the dogs or cats may contact Barnes at 231-798-4935, or visit her website at


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