GRAND FORKS — Grand Forks fire crews helped coax a dog out of a discharge drain to reunite her with her family Sunday morning, Dec. 22.

Crews responded to a report of a missing dog around 10 a.m. Sunday on the 2600 block of 40th Avenue South. When responders arrived on scene, owner Scott Badger told them Kenai, a 2-year-old Springer Spaniel, had gone into a storm drain discharge grate and was unable to get out.

Badger said that he, his wife, Melissa, and 19-month-old daughter had been sledding with Kenai when the dog got trapped. He said it wasn't like her to run off and get into trouble, and that normally she got all her energy out running after pheasants on hunting trips.

Badger said he suspected it was those hunting instincts that led her into the storm sewer.

"I don't know if she got on the trail of a jackrabbit or what caused her to go in there," he said. "But she somehow snuck away through a little grate of the storm sewer and then disappeared."

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Badger said they realized where she was when they heard her crying in the storm sewer. Badger ran back to the house to get his flashlight.

When he directed the flashlight into the sewer, he could hear Kenai — who loves to chase lights on walls — barking at the beam. However, he still couldn't see her.

"Once I realized I couldn't see her, then I thought I need some assistance," Badger said.

Grand Forks Fire Department personnel responded with two trucks and soon located a manhole cover at the top of the ditch. The crew climbed to the bottom and found that Kenai had traveled about 50 feet further into the pipes. Crews removed a second manhole cover about 150 feet away.

After about 45 minutes, with some "gentle persuasion" from firefighters and Kenai's family, she was coaxed out of the discharge drain to a firefighter waiting to rescue her and bring her back to the surface, where she didn't hesitate to jump into her family's arms.

"It didn't really even matter that she had storm sewer nastiness all over," Badger said. "I just grabbed her and gave her a big hug."

It was a resolution firefighters called a "happy ending and a merry Christmas," and Badger said the family couldn't be more thankful to firefighters.

After crews left though, he said the first thing the family did was take Kenai straight back to the house.

"We gave her a bath," he said. "Yeah. She smelled pretty bad."