MARLBORO >> The sharp eye of a child quite possibly saved the life of a beloved family pet this past weekend.
A dog that had been missing for 48 hours was found alive on a ledge near Route 9 Sunday afternoon. The 1-year-old beagle/bluetick coonhound mix named Maple was spotted cowering on a high ledge off of Route 9 by a young boy who was driving by with his mother.
"I thought it was a trick on my eyes, but I saw a dog hanging out on the cliff," said eight-year-old Leo Mousseau in a telephone interview.
He convinced his mother to turn around and stop and see if they could help the little dog stuck up on the ledge.
Maple is owned by Caitlin and Alexandra Burgess who are currently vacationing in Europe. They left Maple in the care of Caitlin's parents, Geoff Burgess and his wife Karen Kamenetzky, but when Maple went missing Geoff and Karen avoided telling their daughter about the missing dog.
"We didn't want to ruin their vacation so we didn't tell them," said Kamenetzky. "They'll have quite the story for when they return."
According to Geoff, Maple ran away Friday night around 5 p.m. and Karen contacted the police, searched on foot, sent out social media posts and made flyers asking people to please return their missing dog. Thankfully those social media posts led one individual on the scene of the rescue to bring Maple safely back to her caretakers.
When young Leo and his mother, Angela Mousseau, spotted the dog up on the cliff, they went looking for extra help to retrieve little Maple. Joe Farquhar, who lives off of Route 9, and his step brother, Jeff Fifeild, climbed up the ledge and sat with Maple. Cars drove by the scene, while others stopped to help. Martin Miller, of New York, and Lt. Robert Cook from the Albany, N.Y., Fire Department also stopped at the scene and Cook climbed up the hill with his ratchet straps to help belay Maple down the ledge.
"It doesn't look steep in the pictures, but the rocks were brittle enough that they were breaking underneath our feet," said Cook.
Cook says he is trained for high-angle rescue and was able to take his two rachets and make them into a harness which he wrapped around Maple. The dog was then belayed down the ledge.
"Even if one of us fell, the dog wouldn't have," said Cook.
One person who was at the scene said she knew who Maple belonged to because she saw a missing dog post on Facebook that Kamenetzky had made. And another woman at the scene was a veterinary technician and quickly examined Maple. According to Geoff, the dog was dehydrated and hungry, but otherwise in good shape.
When Kamenetzky found out where Maple had wandered off too, she said it was about 10 minutes away from their home in Brattleboro on Halladay Road. Kamenetzky thinks she must have travelled from their house, through a mass gravel pit, then wandered through the woods to come out on a ledge that overlooks Route 9.
"I think it shows that general American people are still good people," said Cook.
Geoff noted that when his daughter Caitlin and her wife Alexandra return, they would like to bring Maple over to the people who helped save her and personally thank them.
"It was heartwarming that so many people pulled over and helped," said Kamenetzky.
Maddi Shaw can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext 275.