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MEEKER I If it’s true every dog has its day, then Buddy certainly had his.
And he has Glenn Abbott to thank for it.
Abbott, an employee of the Meeker Sanitation District, rescued the dog — which he has since named Buddy — from drowning in what is called a chlorine contact chamber at the town’s water treatment plant.
“That’s where we disinfect our treated wastewater before it goes into the river,” said Gail Frantz of the sanitation district.
The incident occurred about a month ago.
Abbott said he first heard a gasping sound, which aroused his suspicions, so when he went to check it out he saw a dog struggling to stay afloat in the water.
“He was about to go under,” said Abbott, who reached in and pulled the dog out of the water. “I climbed over the railing and then reached in and I was able to grab him. He was basically done swimming when I got there. He didn’t have an ounce of energy left.”
In describing Abbott’s actions, Frantz said, “What a heroic thing on his part.”
Frantz said Abbot rescued the dog “in the nick of time.”
Had Abbott not found Buddy when he did, she said the dog would have been sucked into the plant’s effluent pump.
“That would have clogged everything up and killed the dog,” Frantz said.
Asked how deep the water in the chlorine contact chamber was at the time, Frantz said, “It varies in depth, depending on how much treated water was in there and how much had been pumped out.”
When Abbott pulled Buddy out of the water, he noticed the dog had a piece of baling wire tied around his neck and back legs.
“I don’t know if it was done intentionally, or if it happened during his struggle,” Abbott said, speculating someone may have tried to drown the dog. “For a dog to go in there willingly, that’s too much. It would be nice to know how it actually happened, but we’ll never know.”
A security camera at the water treatment plant didn’t reveal anything.
“That’s the one spot they can’t see,” Abbott said.
“I wish it did,” Frantz said, adding, “I hate to think anybody would do that, but it looks suspicious.”
After Abbott and co-worker Oran Rundberg, who was also working at the time, rescued Buddy, they immediately took the dog to the Meeker Vet Clinic.
“When he came in, he was really hypothermic,” said veterinarian Stacy Hudelson. “I don’t remember what his body temperature was, but it had bottomed out.”
Hudelson estimated the dog was in the water for about an hour.
“They can’t last much longer than that,” she said. “He was about wore out (when Abbott found the dog). He was exhausted. He was just shaking when he came in. Just warming him up, he responded really well. Once he was up and could stand, he wanted to eat and drink.”
One of the lingering effects of Buddy being in the water at the treatment plant has been a bacterial infection.
“He got an infection in his intestines,” said Hudelson, who is still treating the dog.
Rose Abbott, Glenn’s wife, thanked the vet clinic’s staff for their efforts to save Buddy.
“We can’t thank Carol (Rowles, office manager) and Stacy enough,” Rose said. “They did so much for Buddy.”
Hudelson estimated Buddy’s age at around 10 years old, and she said he showed signs of abuse.
“He was real skinny,” Hudelson said. “He just looked horrible. His teeth were all worn down, probably because he’s chewed on rocks or cages or something.
“He was super timid,” Hudelson added. “He’s sure not been socialized. If you move too fast toward him, he gets really scared.”
Glenn and his wife, Rose, knew they couldn’t allow Buddy to be euthanized if no one adopted him, so they decided to keep him.
“They saved his life,” Hudelson said of the Abbotts. “He still has some trust issues with people, and he still probably needs to gain 10 pounds, but he’s come a long way. He looks like a new dog.”