David Conlin of Springs was having his cesspool pumped on Jan. 10 when his dog Mookie ran out the back door and fell some 18 feet into the open cesspool.
Ray Serva, who happened to be at the house speaking to Jim Quackenbush of Quakenbush Cesspools of East Hampton, immediately ran to the truck to turn off the waste-suctioning pump. In a panic, Mr. Conlin tried to scoop up his swimming dog with a crabbing net, but was unable to reach him. The 20-foot-deep well was close to being empty, with just a couple of feet of methane-fumed liquid left. Mr. Conlin said that he wanted to jump in, but was advised against it by Mr. Serva, who told him, “You will die.”
Mr. Quackenbush left for about 10 minutes to get an extension ladder and a Tyvec suit. Once he returned, Mr. Quackenbush, also a lieutenant in the Springs Fire Department, climbed down into the hole and rescued the dog.
In an interview on Tuesday, he said that in his 20 years of pumping cesspools, he has “never had an animal fall in before,” and that he was “surprised he survived the fall.”
Mr. Conlin said Tuesday that he was “surprised and grateful” that his dog was okay. Mookie was cleaned up and taken to East Hampton Veterinary Group following the incident, where he received a clean bill of health. And on Tuesday, before posing for pictures with his owner and Mr. Quackenbush, he pranced over the covered cesspool as if nothing had happened.
An earlier version of this story misidentified Mr. Serva as an employee of Quakenbush Cesspools.