THIS is the moment Patsy the pooch was plucked to safety after spending an incredible four days trapped down a hole.
A huge rescue operation was mounted after the two-year-old Patterdale terrier cross-breed became stuck in a tight underground drainage pipe.
Her distraught owner, Ryan Hutchinson, 19, and his friends had taken turns keeping a vigil near the pipe ever since the dog became trapped after running off during a walk at Summerhill Country Park, in Hartlepool, around noon on Saturday.
It was only thanks to the joint efforts of a 20-strong team of rescuers, involving the RSPCA, Northumbrian Water, Seymour Civil Engineering and Hartlepool Borough Council, that the plucky pooch was pulled to safety yesterday lunchtime.
Patsy was whisked away to the Clifton Lodge veterinary practice, in Stockton Road, with RSPCA chiefs saying the dog was suffering from dehydration.
Ryan, who lives on a farm at Greatham, on the outskirts of Hartlepool, said: “It’s just been horrible, I had never slept for four days, me and my friends sat there night and day.
“We are just glad she’s out.
“I’m just grateful to the RSPCA, Seymour and the council.”
Ryan said he was out walking with Patsy when she ran off around noon on Saturday and ran into the entrance to the pipe.
Ryan rang the fire brigade, and firefighters attended numerous times over the four days, but Ryan said there was nothing they could do.
There were access issues involved in getting to Patsy, who was 6ft below the ground and 24ft along the length of the pipe, which was underneath a walled private garden.
But the RSPCA enlisted the help of Northumbrian Water and their contractors, town-based Seymour Civil Engineering, who liaised with the land-owner and sent workers to dig Patsy out.
Council staff had put cameras down the pipe to try to locate the dog.
Ryan’s sister Bethan Hutchinson, 21, also from Greatham, added: “She’s obviously shown a bit of willing to last so long.
“She looks better than I thought she would.
“She’s a bit skinny, she’s obviously never drank or ate for four days.”
RSPCA chief inspector Mark Gent said his colleagues had attended on Monday around 3.30pm and assessed the area but were hindered because it was starting to get dark.
RSPCA staff returned to the scene at 7.30am yesterday and got Northumbrian Water, Seymour and the council to help.
Seymour staff dug down and used their equipment to break into the pipe, taking care not to harm Patsy and after an hour, Seymour worker Wayne McKinley pulled her free.
Chf Insp Gent said: “She was very shocked, she had been down there four days in the dark and will be dehydrated and has lost a bit of weight.”