QUILCENE — A 90-pound female Mastiff named Indie was rescued unharmed after she fell down a 25-foot percolation hole in Quilcene.
Indie went missing on Sunday night and was heard down in the hole by her owner on Monday morning, prompting rescue efforts, said Tim McKern, Quilcene Fire Rescue Chief.
Percolation holes, often referred to as perc holes, are used when testing land for how well it absorbs water before installing a septic tank on a piece of property, McKern said.
The owners and neighbors placed a ladder down the hole, hoping Indie would climb it while they all awaited rescuers, but she stayed put.
Quilcene Fire Rescue arrived at the property at about 12:15 p.m. Monday and quickly realized “this was a little more than Quilcene Fire could handle, so we asked for help from some friends,” McKern said.
Quilcene firefighters asked for assistance from Brinnon Fire Department, Port Ludlow Fire & Rescue and a Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office animal control officer.
Nine to 10 people ended up helping, with a Center Valley Animal Rescue official on standby in case further assistance was needed, McKern said.
The family was unaware of the hole on its property until the dog fell into it. It was tucked back in the woods surrounded by dead trees.
Before lowering Tye Seeley, Port Ludlow firefighter and technical rescue specialist, into the hole, the team sent down an air tube and an air monitor to determine if the air levels were safe, McKern said.
The landscape posed a challenge to the rescuers, McKern said. The dead trees directly around the hole would not support rope hoists, so rescuers had to find live trees that would hold the weight of Seeley and Indie, McKern said.
Indie welcomed Seeley at the bottom of the hole, eagerly seeking petting as he wrestled a harness on the large dog.
Rescuers then lifted her from the hole. She was unharmed, but hungry, McKern said.
The rescue was completed by 2:45 p.m., he said.
“The key to those is they just take time. You can’t rush right in,” McKern said. “You have to think about it. Be methodical. We have rules to follow.
“It was a dog and so, for us, it was not only a good exercise to help the dog, but it also was a good training opportunity for us to train with our neighboring districts.
“It was not something that we do every day, but it was a good learning experience for all.”
Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at [email protected]