‘A special call for everyone.’ Firefighters rescue dog that jumped from tower at state park

The 911 call that sent Bantam Fire Company to nearby Mount Tom State Park in Litchfield Monday wasn't out of the ordinary. But on this afternoon, it was who needed saving that was unexpected.

Marissa Alter

Jun 15, 2023, 9:19 PM

Updated 309 days ago

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The 911 call that sent Bantam Fire Company to nearby Mount Tom State Park in Litchfield Monday wasn't out of the ordinary.
“It’s about 1,300 feet in elevation. There’s a moderate 1-mile hike, and then there's an observation tower at the top that's about 30, 35 feet tall,” said Chief Ryan Litwin.
The small-town volunteer fire and EMS department is used to doing a trail rescue or two each year, according to Litwin. But on this afternoon, it was who needed saving that was unexpected.
A dog named Babe had jumped from the tower and was hurt, unable to walk. Litwin said Babe's owner and a friend had been hiking with their three dogs when the leashes got tangled.
“They stopped, knelt down, undid the leash for a second to try and untangle everything, and the dog bolted and went right up the tower, and the rest is kind of history,” Litwin explained. “So, a freak accident for sure.”
The only way for first responders to get to Babe was to hike, which they did carrying any potential equipment they might need. Litwin also called in reinforcements from the Litchfield Fire Department and Washington Volunteer Fire Department.
“With the terrain, and it was little bit of a warmer day and not knowing the size of the dog, I'd rather have too many resources and manpower than not enough,” Litwin told News 12. “When we first got there, the dog wasn't able to stand up. It yelped and was obviously distraught. But it was laying there, just panting kind of comfortably. We were obviously concerned about all sorts of injuries, whether they were internal injuries or broken bones.
First responders strapped Babe into what's called a Stokes basket and began to bring him down. Babe was the first dog to ever try it out and—from the pictures—appeared to approve.
“Just to see that dog coming down the mountain just sitting there, happy as can be on the stokes basket says it all,” Litwin said with a smile. “We all worked together as a team, all three departments.”
Once at the bottom, the team wasn't done with the work. They loaded Babe into their truck and went straight to the animal hospital. Litwin said he’d already been in touch with staff there to give them a heads up.
“We're all animal lovers here. I think pretty much everybody who was there had some sort of dog or pet and so it was just a special call for everyone,” he told News 12.
Babe is now resting at home but has joint injuries and will need surgery. His owner, Rachel Solveira, told News 12, “It’s a miracle that he survived with so few injuries. Both vet hospitals we went to said that they have seen several dogs that have jumped off that tower and they had far worse injuries or even died.”
Solveira posted her thanks to the rescue crews on social media, writing, “My heart cannot express my gratitude and appreciation to the Bantam Fire Company and first responders from nearby towns. I can tell you guys are a family and you know what you are doing. And you do it with heart. Even the Chief reached out to me today to see how Babe was doing.”
She also asked people to consider donating to the volunteer department to help them continue to do what they do.
“I'd like to think that any fire organization or rescue organization would've done what we did,” Litwin said.
To donate to the Bantam Fire Company, click here.


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