No barks about it: N.B. dog hailed as hero after helping save cat in storm drain

A dog named Cash lays by a manhole cover in this undated handout photo in Sackville, N.B. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Shelly Colette

A New Brunswick cat who had been missing for six weeks had an unlikely saviour: A dog.

Shelly Colette was walking her dog Cash a few weeks ago in Sackville, N.B., when the black border collie Labrador mix stopped over a manhole and refused to move.

Colette looked down and saw a cat through the grate and immediately knew it was Ghost, a local cat who had been missing for weeks.

“I had never met Ghost, but I had seen the missing cat signs around town and I thought, ‘That’s Ghost’,” said Colette.

“Cash was very intrigued and refused to leave. He wanted to save this cat.”

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Colette called Ghost’s owner Izzy Francolini, who rushed to the scene.

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“I was at work and I jumped up and my boss was super lovely and just told me to get him,” said Francolini, who works at a hand-died yarn company.

Francolini said she contacted town workers to remove the manhole cover, but the job proved difficult. She said it was too rusted to lift off, so it had to be broken in with a sledgehammer.

“The one guy couldn’t get it open on his own so five other guys showed up and they had three sledgehammers going,” said Francolini.

She then got comfortable, hoping the four-year-old cat would eventually climb out. But she believes the banging sounds may have scared the orange tabby further into the drain, so she camped out on the street.

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“Someone came and gave me a blanket so I made a little blanket fort basically. Every so often friends and strangers came and went. A neighbour charged my phone for me. Two people brought me dinner. A lady gave me five bottles of water,” said Francolini.

“It was incredible. It was mind-blowing and heart warming.”

After six hours of waiting, there was no sign of Ghost, so she reluctantly left her post.

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But about three hours later, she got a call from a friend saying they had passed by the manhole and could hear meowing.

Francolini said this time, she managed to tempt Ghost with food and successfully lured him to the surface.

“I grabbed him by the scruff of his neck and took him home,” she said, adding that Ghost lost about three pounds and had two ticks on him, but was otherwise in good health.

Francolini said if it wasn’t for Cash, she may have never found Ghost.

“I love that dog dearly,” she said with a laugh.

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Ghost received his name because of his notorious elusiveness. He was once found inside a wall and it took nearly a month to catch him.

Colette, coordinator of academic support services at Mount Allison University, said Cash is a goofy dog and an excellent tracker. He has led her into the middle of the woods to a dead deer, and has found his way out of a corn maze.

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