It seems highly unlikely to lose sight of an 87-pound dog during a walk. But when Lana Norman from Las Vegas was walking her German Shepherd named Riley at night, the dog suddenly vanished. Riley fell into a storm drain that was missing the grate, landing several feet below the surface.
Norman tried contacting professionals for help, but when no one answered, her neighbor jumped into action. Not only was Norman terrified for her own dog’s safety, but she also worried that other pets and children could encounter the same fate. How many times have situations like this gone unreported?
Help Doesn’t Arrive
Norman and Riley were walking at around 7:15 pm. Seemingly out of the blue, Riley plummeted into a small hole in the ground. There was an opening where the storm grate should be, which was partially covered by hay.
“Then next thing I know he was down the hole, and I was going, ‘Oh my God,’ ‘Oh my God,’” Norman said. “I’m screaming at him, I’m crying. I’m totally freaking out. How am I going to get my dog out of this hole?”
Riley landed about eight feet below in an underground drainage ditch full of garbage. Right away, Norman called 311 for emergency help, but no one answered. So, she tried calling 911, but they turned her down, saying they only handle human emergencies.
Then, 911 transferred Norman back to 311, who still didn’t answer. So, Norman called every person she could think of, hoping someone would be able to help.
Good Samaritan Saves the Day
Luckily, a neighbor came along and saw how panicked Norman was. So, they jumped in the opening and pulled Riley out without hesitation. Now, Riley is safe, but Norman fears this happens more often than she realized. Her dog is her everything, but the hole could also put humans in danger.
“What if it were a kid? What if it was someone’s child?” Norman said. “What if it was an elderly person walking along here?”
Norman was shaking for hours afterward. Riley is such a big part of her life, and she’s grateful that someone was willing to put themselves at risk to rescue him. She has no idea what would’ve happened if her neighbor hadn’t saved the day.
A week after the incident, she contacted officials about the hazard. A piece of wood was put over the hole shortly after. After she spoke publicly about the situation, the county claimed that the grate has now been replaced. However, Norman still worries that there are other hazards out there that haven’t been fixed.