Copyright © 2015 Albuquerque Journal
Saint Bernards are renowned for helping in deep-snow Alpine rescue missions, but one named Jazzie was the victim that needed rescuing this week from a mud bog in Belen.
Her rescue, after being stuck for 18 hours, was made possible by a much smaller but very persistent friend – a dachshund named Razor.
Jazzie, Razor and a pitbull terrier named Layla escaped from the yard of their owner Tim Chavez on Sunday afternoon.
“This has happened before, but they usually come back in about an hour or so,” he said.
When they didn’t return, Chavez, a single father of three, drove around his rural Belen neighborhood looking for the dogs but didn’t find them. Razor returned home later that evening, but the other two animals remained missing.
In the meantime, Chavez put a notice on his Facebook page about his missing animals and notified the local police department that they had escaped.
“I woke up the next morning and expected to see Jazzie and Layla in the yard, but Razor was still the only one out there. So I went out to feed him and this time Razor wouldn’t go to his bowl.
Instead, he was really excited and was running around and kicking up dust and barking. I guess he was trying to alert me, but obviously I didn’t see that.”
Chavez, who works as a carpenter, left for work but called a neighbor to ask if he could walk by his home to see if the other two dogs had returned. They hadn’t, but Razor followed the neighbor out and began barking, apparently also trying to alert the neighbor.
The neighbor, Chavez said, “told Razor to quit barking and go back inside the yard.”
The persistent little dachshund instead took off as fast as his legs could carry him across a field and down along an irrigation ditch where the 9-year-old, 180-pound Saint Bernard remained firmly stuck in 2 feet of mud.
Razor continued to sound the alarm, barking to alert anyone who would pay attention – and finally someone did.
A passer-by driving on the road adjacent to the ditch heard the barking, looked down and saw Razor standing sentinel over the much larger immobilized Jazzie. The passer-by made a quick 911 phone call, and a short time later two Belen police officers and two Belen firefighters were on the scene.
Using a spine board and backboard straps, they pulled Jazzie from the muck that had mired her down for more than 18 hours.
Belen Fire Chief Manuel Garcia said this was the first time he knew of fire department personnel assisting in an animal rescue of this nature.
“We’re used to rescuing cats from trees,” he joked, “but not dogs from ditches.”
Valencia County Animal Control subsequently took Razor to the local animal shelter and Jazzie to the Los Lunas Animal Hospital.
Coincidentally, Chavez’s nephew, Jace Chavez, who had seen the Facebook posting about the lost animals, was at the animal hospital with a sick cat when the Animal Control truck drove up with Jazzie, who suffers from arthritis and hip dysplasia.
The nephew helped the Animal Control workers remove the large Saint Bernard from the truck and get her into the hospital, where it was determined she was exhausted and a bit hypothermic but otherwise fine.
Jace Chavez called his uncle to tell him that Jazzie had been found.
“I was extremely relieved and dropped what I was doing and headed to the hospital immediately, like you would do with any family member,” Tim Chavez said.
The reunion is not quite complete. Layla the pitbull is still missing, “but I’m hopeful someone will find her and get her back to me,” he said.
As for Razor, the tenacious little dachshund: Well, he may not be big enough to assist in snowy Alpine rescues, but he’s proven his worth in the muddy ditches of Belen.
He will be singled out with a hero’s award during the next Belen City Council meeting March 2.