Posted: Sunday, March 17th 2013 at 9:15pm
'Luck of the Irish' rides with local cat
By Marc Eggers Staff
GAINESVILLE – When Gainesville resident Bruce Cash rang the door bell at Hall County Fire Station #13 late Sunday afternoon and told firefighters that his cat was stuck in a tree at nearby Sardis Park, they thought nothing out of the ordinary about it.
Firefighter David Truelove said later that they do get a lot of requests for similar situations. “I've had several people stop by the station wanting help with their cats.”
It happens all the time: cat climbs tree, cat is unable to climb down from high branches. It's the classic story of a fireman rescuing a cat stuck in a tree...but this time it was different.
This time the cat was actually “in” the tree! Yes, inside the tree.
Cash had taken his new pet, Oreo, to the park to enjoy the springlike St. Partrick’s Day weather. But things went downhill from there.
As soon as Cash opened the door to his truck after parking beneath a massive tree in the picnic area of the Army Corp of Engineers facility on Lake Lanier, Oreo jumped out of the vehicle.
At first Oreo tried to hide beneath the truck but then made a beeline for the nearby hardwood. Scaling its rough exterior in a full sprint, Oreo disappeared headfirst into a knothole nearly ten feet above the ground.
Cash was aghast. “It was a mistake to let him out. I told him on the way over here that nothing was going to happen to you,” Cash said.
The knothole was too high for Cash to reach into, so he drove a short distance to borrow a friend's stepladder and a can of cat food to use as an attractant.
Cash tried repeatedly to entice Oreo to exit his arboreal hideout at the knothole, but to no avail.
It soon became a concern to Cash that Oreo was possibly unable to return to the opening.
With few other options, Cash decided to visit the firehouse and hope that a crew would be available to help rescue Oreo.
Truelove and fellow fireman Kris Boggs were dispatched to see what help they could render.
“When we got here we looked inside, tried to locate the cat, couldn't find anything; we really had given up. We thought he wasn't here any more,” Truelove explained.
“Then,” Truelove continued, “we started looking at the bottom of the tree and there was a dead spot.”
Truelove and Boggs used a steel pole to knock away some of the rotted wood at the base of the trunk and discovered that the tree was hollow.
“Luckily he was still in there,” Truelove said as Cash smiled with appreciation, clutching Oreo.
“I'm feeling grateful, but also stupid,” Cash said with a laugh, promising Oreo that there would be no return visits to the park. Then he asked, “Isn't there some old saying about cats having nine lives?”
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