Dog under Pier 6 rescued

Two officers in boat save trapped stray and name it Lucky

November 28, 1999|By Tim Craig | Tim Craig,SUN STAFF

You can call him Lucky.

Tired, hungry and dirty, the black-and-white mutt that spent much of the last five days under Pier Six was rescued by police yesterday morning as he doggie-paddled around Baltimore's Inner Harbor.

After days of ignoring the pleas of well-meaning tourists and would-be rescuers, the dog was scooped into a 20-foot Baltimore police boat and greeted two officers from the marine unit with licks to the face and a wagging tail.

"I think it was so tired it finally came to us," said Officer Ian W. Cameron, of the Police Department's marine unit.

The dog, a spaniel mix whose ribs were showing, was taken to the marine unit's headquarters on Boston Street in Canton, where Cameron and his partner, Officer David Muller, gave the pooch a bath and a name: Lucky.

Cleaned up, and with a new name, Lucky pranced around for news cameras but never strayed from his new best friends. Muller and Cameron went to work an hour early yesterday to undertake the unauthorized rescue mission.

Cameron, a six-year veteran and Muller, a four-year member of the force, boarded the police boat at 8 a.m. to save the dog that veterinarians said would probably not survive another day in 57-degree water.

Successful rescue

After going a mile to the Inner Harbor, the officers arrived near Victor's Cafe about 8: 30 a.m., where a half-dozen people were trying to lure the dog ashore.

Lucky ignored yells and whistles from the crowd as if knowing that a rescue over a 4-foot sea wall would be futile. But the dog did not resist when the police boat approached.

Once on dry land, boaters along the Inner Harbor waterfront gave the officers a collar and fed Lucky three bowls of dog food.

"To see a dog in pain like that is hard," said Muller.

Many rescue attempts

Although the practice of police officers and firefighters rescuing kittens from treetops was halted in Baltimore long ago, the stranded dog prompted numerous rescue attempts.

On Friday, police officers, Fire Department divers, tourists and employees at an Inner Harbor restaurant spent nearly five hours trying to retrieve the stray.

Police used an uncooked piece of sirloin steak donated by McCormick and Schmick's Seafood Restaurant to lure the dog from under the pier Friday afternoon.

Lucky took the bait but dropped it and swam back under the pier when officers tried to grab him.

Water washes under most of the pier, which stretches about 200 yards into the Patapsco, but police believed the dog was curling up on a spot where wooden planks connect the pier to land.

`Ready to plunge'

Yesterday, frustrated by four days of failed rescue attempts, Mark C. Herrmann planned to rescue the dog this morning with fellow employees from McCormick and Schmick's near Pier Six.

Said Hermann, the general manager: "We had servers and managers ready to plunge into the water. But it was probably not the right decision to risk human life to save the animal."

Police said it is illegal to swim in the harbor.

An officer in the city police marine unit, who attempted to rescue the dog Friday, will adopt Lucky.

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