Firefighters rescued a little dog trapped down an underground rabbit warren – by listening for his heartbeat.
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service was mobilised to help the distressed pet after the alarm was raised at 12.26pm on Monday, August 20.
Crews from Linlithgow and Alloa attended the incident at a field in Falkirk Road opposite the Leisure Centre, Linlithgow.
And they used specialist equipment to detect the faint sound of the Chorkie dog’s heartbeat – after it had been stuck for four hours in the underground labyrinth.
The relieved little dog – named Bear – was rescued and given cuddles from the delighted firefighters. He has since been reunited with his owner and is fully recovered.
Watch Manager Alan Roy said: “This was certainly one of our most unusual callouts.
“The crew initially tried to find the dog by digging into the field without success – but we were determined not to give up on this brave little animal.
“The life detector listening equipment is used in urban search and rescue situations where we try to locate people in collapsed buildings.
“Using a series of sequences we were able to pinpoint the approximate location of Bear who was stuck down one of the rabbit warrens.
“We dug down and were able to retrieve the dog who appeared a bit bewildered but in good health.
“It was crucial we acted as quick as possible so the animal didn’t injure itself.
“He was hydrated with water after his ordeal and after some cuddles from the crew and his owner he looked set to go chasing the rabbits again.”
And this is not the first time that firefighters have stepped into an unusual animal rescue.
They supported RZSS Edinburgh Zoo vets during a dental procedure involving Bertus the greater one-horned Indian rhino in November 2016.
They drew on their skills of searching collapsed buildings to safely manoeuvre the two-tonne animal safely into the correct position for the operation.
Highly-skilled firefighters were needed again in East Kilbride in February 2016 when they teamed up with the farming community to battle through challenging conditions and save the life of a horse.
Firefighters, skilled in rope rescue and water rescue, worked to free the animal, a female named Flash Dance – weighing 440 kilos – from two feet of mud at the bottom of a slope.
The crew then enlisted the help of a nearby farmer whose JCB digger was used to scoop away six feet of mud – allowing firefighters to get underneath the animal, secure ropes around her body and hoist her clear – She was tired, cold and dirty but otherwise uninjured.
Statutory responsibility for animal rescue lies with the Scottish SPCA however the SFRS will attend to support our SSPCA colleagues where requested and particularly where members of the public may also be in danger.
Anyone who discovers an injured or distressed animal should call the Scottish SPCA Animal Helpline on 03000 999 999.
For more information please visit: www.scottishspca.org