As always, animals were the story in 2007

As per my custom, here are some of my favorite news stories in 2007. Also as usual, they are mostly about animals.

I can’t help that. I am an animal lover.

OLALLA — Fifteen volunteers rescued a horse trapped in a muddy portion of a wide road ditch after the horse, named Jessie, escaped from a nearby stable.

After an hour spent keeping Jessie’s head above silty water, Jessie’s owners, onlookers, tree cutters and local firemen finally were able to pull the 17-year-old buckskin quarter horse to safety.

OKLAHOMA — The pilot of a TV news helicopter used the wind from the aircraft’s motor to push a stranded deer to safety after it lost its footing on frozen Lake Thunderbird and could not get up.

With the helicopter’s camera rolling, KWTV pilot Mason Dunn lowered the helicopter and the wind sent the deer sliding on its belly across the ice until it reached shore and scampered into a nearby wood.

LONG LAKE — Leo, a plump 2-year-old beagle, spent several hours stuck in a culvert under snowy Knight Drive until the combined efforts of Kitsap Animal Control, neighbors, three county stormwater employees and one of the county’s Vactor trucks got him free.

Leo apparently chased something into the sand-choked pipe while playing with some sledding youngsters and became wedged in. After hours of trying to hand dig him out, they called in the Vactor truck, which sucks gunk out of manholes and which in 10 minutes loosened the sand around Leo who came out barking and baying.

MEMPHIS, TENN. — A dog that escaped from his shipping crate at Memphis International Airport was found by a concerned animal lover after three weeks on the loose.

Bailey, a 75-pound Great Dane, was shipped from Seattle by his owners to stay for a few months with his owners’ kin in Memphis. But a Northwest Airlines employee opened the crate when it arrived and Bailey sprinted across the tarmac and was gone.

One of the residents near the airport was determined to find him and caught him in a trap baited with fried chicken. Bailey was scared and skinny but otherwise unharmed.

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. — Perky is one tough bird. The ring-neck duck survived being shot and spending two days in a hunter’s refrigerator, after which she had a close brush with death on a veterinarian’s operating table.

Perky made headlines when a hunter’s wife opened her fridge door and the should’ve-been-dead duck lifted her head and looked at her.

The bird had been in the refer for two days since being shot and presumed killed.

She stopped breathing during surgery to repair gunshot damage to one wing, but was revived by the veterinarian performing CPR.

WATERVILLE, MAINE — There’s a mouse in Bill Exner’s house that he has captured three times. Each time, the mouse escaped and the last time made off with Exner’s lower dentures.

The Exners found a small hole in their bedroom wall where they suspected the mouse was coming and going and got help to saw a section of wall out to find and retrieve the dentures.

The mouse apparently isn’t done. It frequently comes out and stares at Exner, his wife said.

“I swear it’s taunting him,” she said.

MASONVILLE, COLO. — Zoey is a Chihuahua, but when a rattlesnake lunged at her owner’s 1-year-old grandson, she was a real bulldog.

Booker West was splashing his hands in a birdbath in his grandparents’ backyard when the snake slithered up to the toddler, rattled and struck. Zoey jumped in the way and took the bites.

For a time, it appeared Zoey might not survive but she recovered and now prances about.

“These little bitty dogs just don’t really get credit,” said Booker’s grandma.

Adele Ferguson can be reached at PO Box 69, Hansville, WA 98340.

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