By Adam Slight
Headlines are buzzing this morning with the heart-warming story of a daring rescue mission that took place in Ottawa this weekend. A poor defenseless kitten was plucked from a tree by firefighters in Little Italy last night, lending creedence to the old urban myth, and ensuring from now on that any time a cat is stuck in a tree in Ottawa, 911 will be called.
Residents of the Beech St. neighbourhood began to hear a tiny “meow” (or a “mewling” (?) sound, if you read the Ottawa Citizen) coming from the high branches of a tree on Saturday. After the Ottawa Humane Society expressed a somewhat relaxed concern about the kitten trapped in the dangerous boughs, Ottawa’s firefighters were called in to the rescue. While the fire chief was strict in letting the public know that they were doing a public service, and that kitten rescues were generally too risky for firefighters, this didn’t stop them from spending hours in the tree trying to pull poor kitty down.
Finally, the cat was saved, everyone was happy, and the firefighter who saved the day got a photo taken of him hugging a kitten. Everyone wins.
The firefighters deserve applause for going above and beyond their mandate to rescue a scared pet in danger.
However, several years ago I was a part of a similar rescue mission that had the same positive results but somehow didn’t make the city’s headlines. There were no heroic photos of me hugging kittens in the newspaper.
Some friends and I were having a late night barbecue, drinking beer in the front yard of a townhouse in the Minto-owned student ghetto on Meadowlands Dr. While crushing bruskies on the patio, we heard a similar “mewling” from a nearby collosus of a tree. Much like the firefighters, my brave friends and I couldn’t let a poor kitten remain frightened in the dangerous tree branches.
We tried many methods to rescue the kitten. We called to it, “mewled” at it, tried to gently shake the branches by throwing our shoes into the tree, and even tried to climb the tree’s huge trunk itself.
Eventually we formed a human pyramid and rescued the little guy. That’s right. We did it without a fancy fire ladder.
For the rest of the barbecue, our new little friend was at our side lapping milk from a saucer and enjoying a can of juicy tuna.
And the next day he was gone forever.
So while I think its awesome that the firefighters saved that poor little guy up in the branches in Little Italy yesterday, and I don’t want to steal their thunder, but my friends and I already did this like four years ago.
I’m waiting for your call Ottawa Citizen.