Vol 7 No. 26 - March 21, 2007

Trapped pooch pulled from pipe
A jubilant Rebecca Brodeur holds onto her miniature dachshund, Moka, and prepares to give a hug to West Manatee Fire Rescue firefighter Greg Wigeri van Edema, who pulled the tired pooch out of the drainpipe where she had spent the night. A crowd of about 20 people gathered to watch as a crew from LaPensee Plumbing dug through the street to get to the tiny dog.

By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer

HOLMES BEACH – Moka is a canine “Golden Girl.”

Like her namesakes from the 1980s TV sitcom, she tries to stay out of trouble, but it doesn’t always work out that way.

The 19-year-old miniature dachshund, who is deaf and can only see shapes through her one good eye, became the center of attention Monday when a bunch of people worked together to save her life.

It all began Sunday night when Moka’s owner, Rebecca Brodeur, let her outside her home at 518 69th St., in Holmes Beach, for her nightly “constitutional.”

“She usually goes outside, does her business, makes a U-turn and comes back in,” Brodeur said. “This time, she didn’t come back.”

Brodeur said she left her doors open all night after a frantic search of the neighborhood turned up nothing.

“In the morning, my neighbor (Kelly Joseph) came over when she saw my doors open and asked, ‘Are you missing your Moka?’” Brodeur said. “I told her she hadn’t come home all night and she said she thought she had heard some yipping from a storm drain.”

Brodeur found that Moka was trapped inside the drain in front of 522 69th St., the home of Jeff and Ilona Kenrick. She called Manatee County Animal Control, Holmes Beach Public Works and West Manatee Fire Rescue. When they all determined they would need a different kind of expertise, they called LaPensee Plumbing. Owner Mike LaPensee responded and called his son, Greg, who responded with a crew.

“I was at the Island Community Center checking up on a job there when I got the call,” Greg LaPensee said. “We brought in the backhoe and dug through the asphalt. Then we dug by hand down the outside of the pipe until we had access to it and cut through the side of the pipe.”

LaPensee said Mocha appeared to be in good shape when firefighter Greg Wigeri van Edema pulled her out.

“She had a hard time getting her footing after she was rescued,” LaPensee said, “but she came out in good shape.”

West Manatee Fire Rescue Captain Tom Sousa said she might have been a little thirsty. He also said the rescue drew some onlookers.

“There was a big crowd there,” Sousa said. “They really wanted us to get her out.”

Brodeur agreed, saying she had a lot of people to thank.

“There was Jeff, (Kenrick) who was there from the start, the firefighters, the county animal people, the city’s public works department and, of course, LaPensee Plumbing,” she said. “They didn’t have to bring out that backhoe, but they were concerned for Moka.”

Like the TV sitcom, Moka the Golden Girl got a lot of help from her friends.

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