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That's a manhole, dog

City crews hoisted a dog to safety after it fell down a manhole.1 / 2
Cheryl Gustafson feared the worst when her dog fell down a manhole, but Smudge survived the experience with just a slight limp. R-E photo by Jon Swedien2 / 2

Cheryl Gustafson was outside her house Tuesday at Sixth and Hodgman streets when she thought she saw her dog Smudge take her final step -- into a manhole and down into the sewer.

Owner and pet were outside on their normal morning routine.

Meanwhile, public works crews were working on a manhole on Sixth Street.

"I turned around and I thought 'Smudge is going to go into that hole,' and as I looked -- ploop," Gustafson said.

Gustafson said she and a young crew member who was working near the manhole were both aghast at the situation.

The young public works employee grabbed his head and said, "Oh, my God," she said, while she began shouting "No, no."

Both walked apprehensively toward the hole, Gustafson said. As they leaned over it, they saw -- to their surprise -- Smudge was alive and seemingly okay.

Public works crews were able hoist Smudge out of the manhole after rigging her up.

Gustafson was relieved to see her pet was largely unharmed, suffering only a slight limp.

Deputy Director of Public Services Lynn Nardinger said Tuesday's incident marked the first time he can remember a pet has fallen into a manhole in Red Wing.

Smudge was susceptible to a fall, Gustafson said. At 14 years old, Smudge has lost most of her sight, is hard of hearing and suffers from arthritis.

Gustafson is just glad to have her old dog back -- and safe.