MAZON – Mazon Fire Chief Mark Brookman was getting dressed to go to a wake Tuesday night when a call came into his home from a neighbor needing help.
“My daughter answered our house phone and someone on the other line asked if this was the nonemergency phone number for the Mazon Fire Department,” Brookman said. “The woman explained her puppy had been caught under the deck in her backyard for over an hour and that they hadn’t heard any sounds for 20 minutes as they were trying to get to the animal.”
“I explained through my daughter that we were probably going to have to damage her deck so she needed to call 911 for insurance purposes and we got ready to go.”
Stephanie Tarrant was the woman on the other end of the phone call. She was terrified her 6-month-old puppy, Bear, was frozen to death after she and her son, Jake, spent more than an hour trying to coax him out from under the deck in their backyard.
“I sent Jake out to get both the dogs out of our fenced in backyard when only one came in, we started looking for the other and could hear him under the back porch,” she said. “My son tried to get him out for over an hour with a treat, and he even started digging with a shovel but we couldn’t get to the puppy.”
She said while they were still attempting to rescue the dog it got quiet, and she didn’t hear him for more than 20 minutes when she decided to call the fire department.
Five volunteer firefighters, Brookman, Assistant Chief Tom Sereno, Captain Mark Brookman II, Paul Page and Missy Pumphrey showed up to the Tarrant home in the dress clothes they were wearing for a former firefighters wake and went to work trying to free the puppy. They were getting ready to attend the wake of Arvid Johnson of Mazon.
“I’ve been here 13 years, and this is the first time I can remember being called out to save a dog,” Brookman said.
The members of the fire department joke that people think they spend a lot of time getting cats out of trees, but that just isn’t the case.
Brookman said there was no way he wouldn’t respond to this call
“Everyone on the scene has a dog,” he said. “I’m a dog lover myself.”
At the house three of Tarrant’s five children were home watching and waiting for their puppy to be saved.
“I shoveled and even broke a piece of wood trying to get him,” Jake Tarrant said. “I was really sad, and worried and scared when I couldn’t get to him.”
Stephanie Tarrant said the dog was lethargic when they got him out and wrapped him in a blanket, and she was worried he wouldn’t make it, but by Wednesday he was running through the house playing with the children.
The fire department had to remove two boards from the deck to rescue the puppy.
“We’re here to protect lives and property,” Brookman said. “No one should ever be afraid or embarrassed to call.”
Other firefighters said it’s all in a day’s work.