City department adopts dog found in sewer

HOUSTON – You may see his photo and think, "Oh, that is such a cute puppy," but just wait till you read his story.

“We don’t get them that often, but when we do, it’s something out of the ordinary,” said Steven Gee.

It was about 7:30 a.m. last Thursday when Gee got word there was a dog trapped in a manhole that may have been there for several days.

“It was 20 feet deep, which is relatively deep,” Gee said.

Two hours was all he needed to get a rescue operation underway in partnership with BARC.

“The cover was nowhere in sight,” Gee said.

Performing an “emergency confined space entry,” Gee’s crew was able to get a man down to the 3-year-old pup.

“He (the man in the sewer) said the dog appeared to be fine, he was feeding it dog food out of the can,” Gee said.

This wasn’t a fire department job. It was the Houston Department of Public Works and Engineering to the rescue.

Gee is a managing engineer with the department.

“We pulled equipment off of other jobs, we redirected people and probably ruined our normal schedule, but I just felt it was what we needed to do that day,” Gee said.

That’s not where this story ends.

“It happened when we took him out of the manhole. I thought, this is our group that typically does this type of work and this dog came out of a sewer, which we typically work in, and I said he would be a good mascot for us,” Gee said. “I thought about it, thought about it, and told my family about it, and then I thought maybe I should adopt him.”

Tuesday night he did just that.

Now named Sam, the young dog has a family and it’s not just Gee’s.

The entire Department of Public Works and Engineering is showing him some much needed love.

“If it’s in somebody’s backyard and it’s their dog, that’s a different story, but when it’s in an open area and you don’t know who the owner is, then he could, he could’ve been down there until he perished,” Gee said.

You can help save other animals from becoming trapped.

If you’re in the city of Houston and see a manhole without its cover, call 311 and let Public Works and Engineering know -- they’ll take care of it.