THFD firefighters rescue 'Emma the Destroyer'

·3 min read

Aug. 30—Tuesday started off like any other day for Megan Higashimura, who let her three dogs outside in the fenced-in back yard while she got ready for work.

Two of the dogs can run free, but Emma the Destroyer — an 8-year-old beagle mix — has to be on a tie out because she tries to escape.

"She can figure out how to get under the fence and into my neighbor's yard," said Higashimura, who lives on Terre Haute's north end. "She's a little escape artist."

But when Higashimura went to let her dogs in, only two responded. Emma was nowhere to be found. "I called her name and she still didn't come."

Soon, Emma's dog mom found a hole in front of her porch, and the tie-out extended down into that hole. "Emma was down in there," she said.

She woke up her husband and got her mother-in-law, who lives next door. "I wasn't sure what to do. I couldn't see Emma, but I could hear her," panting, Higashimura said.

"I was very afraid. I wasn't sure how to get her out," she said. "I didn't know how deep that hole was."

Higashimura then contacted 911, and the Terre Haute Fire Department soon was on scene.

According to the THFD Facebook page, companies were dispatched to help rescue the dog, which had fallen into a 10-foot deep well.

Firefighters hand dug out the hole for more access and then used water rescue tools to help extricate Emma.

"Improvising and quick thinking by all these crews helped save this pet," according to the fire department. "Maybe a little dirty, but the dog is safe and unharmed."

The rescue took about 40 minutes, Higashimura estimated. "It moved pretty quickly once the fire department got there." Emma the Destroyer came out dirty, but "smiling. ... She was happy so many people were there to see her."

The mischievous beagle mix had no injuries and seemed fine, she said. "I gave her a bath and she acted like everything was normal."

The fire department theorized that the heavy rain overnight had opened up the old well hole.

Higashimura is thankful for the quick action of the Terre Haute Fire Department in rescuing Emma.

"It was a lot of relief," she said. The family didn't waste any time in getting the well hole filled in.

Fire Chief Bill Berry said if homeowners discover open wells, they should have them fixed or covered. Anybody could fall in, including children or pets.

"That's a safety hazard and we don't want anyone to get hurt," Berry said. "We don't want anyone to lose their pet."

In the case of Emma the beagle mix, "Our guys did a great job. We used all of our resources and used some tools off the newly formed swift water rescue team and got the dog out safe," Berry said.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or at Follow Sue on Twitter @TribStarSue.