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Cottage Grove Public Works employees Gary Orloff (left) and Jeff Hendrickson are pictured with Copper, the beagle they helped pull from a storm sewer in Cottage Grove. (Submitted photo)

Lost pup found, rescued from Cottage Grove storm sewer

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life Cottage Grove, 55016
Cottage Grove Minnesota 7584 80th Street South 55016

When Angie Bustad's family beagle wandered off Sunday night, they worried about its whereabouts.

Their search for Copper ended happily two days later, but only after hours of an emotionally exhausting search, help from city workers and a bit of luck.

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The Cottage Grove family lives on Jocelyn Avenue, near 70th Street and County Road 19/Keats Avenue. After Copper went missing, the family distributed 250 fliers on Monday around their neighborhood and at Cottage Grove and Woodbury restaurants, gas stations and shops. They put notices on Facebook, Craigslist and the website Lost Dogs of Minnesota. They called the non-emergency number to report the dog missing.

They set out to find Copper, who belongs to Bustad's 17-year-old daughter, Larissa Rinkel. They looked all over the neighborhood, but with no success. On Monday night they continued their search in the nearby Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park, after a boy reported seeing a dog in the park.

It wasn't Copper.

"We were a wreck," Bustad said. "We couldn't find her Monday."

Bustad's family returned to the park Tuesday morning. The search wasn't looking good, and then they got a call from a Cottage Grove police officer midday Tuesday.

Someone heard a dog barking from down in a storm sewer near the family's home.

It was Copper.

Police contacted Cottage Grove Public Works for assistance. Streets foreman Gary Orloff and Jeff Hendrickson, a senior public service worker, went out to rescue the dog.

"She was happy to see us," Orloff said.

Orloff climbed down into the pipe and planned to carry the scared pup up to street level, but realized Copper was a bit heavier than expected.

They lowered a basket into the pipe and then pulled the 30-pound pup to safety.

"It was great," Orloff said. "A good way to break up the day."

The dog was lucky because no rain had fallen while she was missing; that could have caused the horizontal pipe she was in to fill with stormwater.

Bustad's family was overjoyed when they were reunited with Copper.

"We were ecstatic," she said. "We had almost given up hope."

Bustad and Copper's rescuers figure she crawled into the end of a stormwater pipe in a water easement in the family's yard. Public Works employees put a new grate at the end of the pipe to prevent Copper or other animals from getting into the pipe.

Copper was unharmed in the ordeal, but she was really hungry when she got home, Bustad said.

"It's a very happy ending," she said.

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