By Janet Tappin Coelho
A hapless hound had a lucky escape after firefighters managed to haul her free in a remarkable rescue operation when she got stuck in a crevice for nine days.
Rescuers spent a marathon ten hours trying to save Bella, a mixed breed, after she was found trapped with her head caught between two rocks in a forest in south Brazil.
Video of the incident shows the moment the emergency crew, helped by local residents, pull the frightened animal free.
Everyone involved erupts with cheers and shouts of joy as they celebrate their success.
But it nearly didn’t end well.
Fire fighters found the stranded animal around 10am last Wednesday (29 March).
For eight hours, the emergency crew tried chipping away at the rocks with pickaxes to create enough room to shift the dog.
But all efforts to release the helpless canine failed until someone came up with the bright idea to send a skinny volunteer crawling down into the
tight space to dislodge her.
Fire officer, Lieutenant Marcus Vinicius Abre, said: “It was a very complicated process because the space was too narrow. The angle of the rock meant it was difficult to get to her and she was wedged in tight.
“The area is dangerous and there was a risk of stones rolling down on top of her.
“The little dog was weak because she hadn’t eaten for days and she whimpered in pain every time we tried to pull her out.
“We were scared of hurting her yet we couldn’t find a way to get her out. But we knew if we gave up she wouldn’t survive.”
Sergeant Jorge Batista, who participated in the rescue explained: “After many hours of trying to reach the dog from various angles using different
techniques, we came up with the idea of getting a thin person to slide down into the tight gap to loosen her.
“The volunteer crawled in and managed to tie some ropes around Bella’s legs. He tucked a blanket over her body to protect her from getting scrapes and bruises as we pulled her out.
“We placed some sticks underneath her body to help roll her forward. Then ever so slowly and very carefully we inched Bella out.”
At 8.30pm, more than ten hours later, the exhausted and bewildered-looking mutt was free.
She had cheated death because of the sheer determination of her rescuers not to give up.
Bella went missing in the tropical rainforest near her home in BalneÃ¡rio Camburiu, after owner, Tania Guidi, 57, let her out to play with her other dog, Zelda, before she went to work on March 20.
Tania said: “When both dogs didn’t return home that night I got worried and went out looking for them.
“A day later, Zelda reappeared. She was alone and very skinny.
“I asked Zelda ‘where’s Bella?’ and she trembled and looked really sad.
“I was frantic because I knew something had happened to Bella but I didn’t know where to look. I told everyone she was missing.”
The pooches’ terrifying predicament was eventually discovered after residents heard an animal howling for five nights in a row.
Local man Felix Felipe Eufrozino said: “We guessed it was Bella and a few of us decided to search deep inside the forest to track down where she
But after struggling for a couple days to free the dog themselves residents agreed to call out the fire brigade.
“It was an amazing and really emotional moment when they freed Bella,” recalled a thankful Tania.
“Everyone just screamed and shouted with happiness because so much love had gone into saving my dog’s life.”
Bella was taken to the vets for a check-up. She was weak and dehydrated but had suffered no serious injuries.
Tania said: “Bella is still in a bit of pain from a few bumps and bruises and she’s feeling very sorry for herself.
“I’m keeping her indoors at the moment and pampering her a lot as she recovers. I’m hoping when she’s ready she’ll pluck up the courage to go out to play again.”