Mahatma Gandhi wisely observed that “the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

 If we narrow that a little further….

….may i introduce to you to the compassionate city of Arlington, Texas.

Zoey is a 15-year-old Lab Mix and is completely deaf, and she slowly wandered away from her home.

At lunchtime, her humans Brennan and Andrea Tankersley looked everwhere and scoured the neighborhood.

Through a post Andrea made on NextDoor, dozens of neighbors joined in the search.

Said Brennan, “The difficult part is she’s deaf. 

So we’re calling out to her, calling out to her, of course knowing it’s not any good but you can’t help it.”

Andrea added, “People were hearing animal sounds, but they were hearing them all over the neighborhood.” 

Searchers heard faint dog sounds but try as they did, they couldn’t locate her.

And then they realized that the sounds were coming from under the road.

Zoey fell into a partially open storm drain, and crawled ever deeper into it….eight feet below the concrete and dirt.

The water department snaked a camera in the pipe to locate her, and did so.


To get her, they would have to tear up the street to do so, so soon there was a meeting with City Hall, the Arlington Fire Department, Police Department, city rescue crews and heavy equipment operators.

The Arlington Fire Department wrote of the rescue on Facebook,”15-year-old Zoey had been missing for a few days. AFD’s Technical Rescue Team was sent to evaluate the most appropriate way to remove the dog. Zoey was over 400′ from the nearest entrance into the storm drain. Crews had to remove concrete and access the pipe.” 

The thing is…. the city and those in charge didn’t think twice.

They didn’t hesitate. 

There was no other option.

No other real and humane option.

Let’s go in and get her, whatever the cost or inconvenience.

All hands on deck!

And on August 23rd, around noon and in the extreme heat ( it was 98 degrees ), with jackhammers, pneumatic saws, and very heavy equipment…..they did just that.





Throughout the operation, neighbors brought food and drink to the rescuers, and a local pizzeria also provided dinner for the rescuers and the neighborhood supporters.

Meanwhile, the camera was always on Zoey.

Said Brennan, “It’s hard to watch. She’s just sitting there panting. You know she’s hot. You know she’s tired.”

Once they were in the drain, Zoey was still over a hundred feet away from the opening.

And help came from a neighbor…..kindergarten student Hunter Pollard.


Firefighters began to run out of ideas to rescue the dog after exhausting plenty of options throughout the day. As a last resort, a crew member suggested asking nearby neighbors for a skateboard in attempt to slide the dog out of the drain. When the firefighters approached his family, Wood Elementary kindergarten student Hunter Pollard eagerly offered his skateboard to the rescue team.

“We were just outside talking and immediately after they asked us if we had a skateboard, Hunter sprinted to the car to get his out,” said Amanda Pollard, Hunter Pollard’s mother. “He was so excited to help them out, and it was such a heartwarming moment to experience.” The firefighter was able lay flat on the skateboard and slide approximately halfway through a 500-foot drain where Zoey was able to see him and began walking toward him. While on the skateboard, the firefighter was eventually able to grab Zoey and slide back out of the wet drain.

“We told Hunter his skateboard was probably going to go through some sewage and get wet, and he still insisted we use it to help rescue Zoey,” said Arlington police officer Kristi Weil. Because of his selflessness, Arlington police officers and firefighters pulled up to Wood Elementary in a big, red fire truck and surprised Hunter Pollard with a few tokens of appreciation.


And, after close to three days underground…. at around midnight…. at eleven hours and counting….




“It has been amazing,” said police officer Kristi Weil.

 “Everyone has been so helpful. There have been cheers of joy, and tears, when Zoey was rescued. And I love seeing the community turn out and cheer a successful end to this. And for a family to have their beloved pet returned to them at the end of the day.”

The tears and gratitude from the Tankersley family…..well, words can’t rightly express it.

Most cities and towns wouldn’t have made this a time-sensitive priority.

Most cities and towns, i hope, take a long look at Arlington, Texas.

A deaf ole’ dog.

Can’t get much more important.

Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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