Boise firefighters use mother duck recording to rescue ducklings
Firefighters with Middleton Rural Fire District had just finished putting out a grass fire before noon Sunday when they got a call from a sheriff's deputy who asked for help with an usual situation.
A pet cow named Dixie was stuck between two tall trees in rural Canyon County.
"How she got there, we don't know. What we think was happening is she was just scratching, and she kept moving," Middleton Fire Deputy Chief Victor Islas said. "She got wedged between two trees."
Dixie's owners became aware of the situation when they heard their dogs barking, Islas said. They went out to investigate where Dixie and her calf were, then discovered her predicament.
Islas described Dixie as a "loveable cow" who was friendly to her rescuers through the whole hour-long ordeal. Middleton Fire consulted a couple of firefighters with Sand Hollow Fire Protection District who had experience with cows on the best way to free her.
They initially thought of using foam, but decided to use lithium grease instead.
"What we ended up doing is greasing the sides of the cow," Islas said. "We got four of us in the front, two in the back and kind of just pushed her back. Once we got her moving backwards, she was able to move pretty easy."
After they got Dixie free, the firefighters used tree branches to block the area where she got stuck to prevent a repeat.
"We have to be ready for anything," Islas said of the animal rescue. "It was a good opportunity for myself and my crew to think outside the box and think of a situation to get her out."
Middleton Fire won international recognition in 2015 for an unusual house fire rescue. Firefighters heard calls of "fire" and "help" from inside a burning house — and were surprised to find a pair of parrots, not people. The rescue was No. 2 on BirdChannel.com’s list of Top 10 news stories of 2015.
For those who love animal rescue stories, here's another: Boise firefighters rescued ducklings from a pipe Tuesday. They used a cellphone to record the mother duck's quacks to help lure the ducklings up to safety, according to a Boise Police post and video on Facebook.
Katy Moeller: 208-377-6413