By Saree Miller & Gari Voss
The sound of a kitten in distress reached the ears of Joe Leverance as he worked at Baker Allegan Studios on the afternoon of Monday, October 23, 2023.
“I sent Deb out to see if she could determine where the kitten was, but she could not locate it,” explained Joe. “When I got up about 3:30am on Tuesday morning of Oct. 24th, the sound still echoed around us.”
It was not until about 6pm on Tuesday that Joe decided it was time to send out a message on Allegan County Informed to seek assistance. “People started showing up and trying to locate the source of the screaming kitten.”
As Saree Miller described, “It was raining on Tuesday evening, Oct. 24, 2023, but after seeing a post on Allegan Informed from “Joe At-Baker” regarding a kitten stuck under the bridge in the Old Mill District, Butch and I went down to see if they could do anything to find the source of the sound.”
The couple arrived to find 7 people already working hard at the rescue. “Joe, who is Joe Leverance owner of Baker Allegan Studios, had heard the crying kitten from his studio, and posted that he could hear a kitty but couldn’t find it.”
Daniel, a good Samaritan whose last name is unknown, braved the cold water without any equipment but could not see the kitten. Sue Evans, a volunteer from Wish Bone Pet Rescue, and Amy Daughtery, with the spay and neuter program, had some cat food and a pet carrier wrapped in plastic to keep the kitty dry after the rescue was hopefully successful.
The group could hear the kitten’s heartbreaking cries but could not see it, so Saree called Allegan Fire Chief Nick Brink as Nick had been very active in helping her at the Allegan County Fair. Nick said they would be right down.
The Allegan Fire District arrived with 9 firemen ready to help. Two firemen had floating wet suits, so Fireman Cory Krotz didn’t hesitate to get in the green water with ropes attached to him. Krotz went under the crumbling cement and steel bridge and could see the kitten in about a 3 inch concrete void.
Fireman Jason Baker joined Cory to hold the flashlights and help Krotz stay in place. Krotz was able to grab the very young tabby kitten and handed it off to Chief Brink. Sue and Amy put the kitty in the carrier, warmed him up and gave him some food!
Saree explained, “This Above and Beyond Rescue took about an hour and a half in the rain.”
All involved, and those viewing the videos, send a really BIG THANK YOU to the Allegan Fire District and Chief Brink for their rescue. It was a great experience watching the firemen in action though it was an extremely unique “water rescue”.
Chief Brink shared, “It is rewarding and one of the benefits of our job that we get to help others – even rescue cats. Our team enjoys these types of rescues.”
After the rescue, those involved thought of water names for this tiny kitten. Joe felt that ‘Sonic’ would best describe the kitten because its cry could be heard through the wall of the Studio. The animal shelter came up with “Hydro” that seemed to fit and match the old hydro dam in which it was stuck.
Overall, all’s well that ends well. Job well done guys!