The Rapidian

Grand Rapids Environmental Services workers rescue kitten from sewer

This dispatch was added by one of our Nonprofit Neighbors. It does not represent the editorial voice of The Rapidian or Community Media Center.

Thanks to an alert resident and great teamwork, a stray kitten is safe and in a new home after finding himself in a storm drain on the city’s southeast side.
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Puddles just minutes after being saved from the sewer at 4 am.

Puddles just minutes after being saved from the sewer at 4 am. /City of Grand Rapids

Puddles, a few weeks after his rescue.

Puddles, a few weeks after his rescue. /City of Grand Rapids

Puddles new best friend, Oliver, was also adopted from Vicky's Pet Connection.

Puddles new best friend, Oliver, was also adopted from Vicky's Pet Connection. /City of Grand Rapids

The rescue began when 3-1-1 received a call on the afternoon of August 4 with a report of faint “meows” coming from a storm drain. The Grand Rapids Environmental Services Department (ESD) team responded to rescue the scared kitten. Initial rescue efforts were unsuccessful, however, as the kitten moved deeper into the sewer.
With nothing more it could do, the ESD crew then carefully cleared the standing water from the drain. This would ensure the kitten would be safe until it could complete the rescue. ESD asked residents to keep watch and call back if the kitten came back within reach. That call came about 12-hours later (around 3 a.m.).
With the kitten now within eyesight, the second rescue attempt was a charm. Crews were able to bring the tiny kitten to safety. Covered in fleas and emaciated, the kitten was first taken to the Kent County Animal Shelter (KCAS) for immediate care. Staff there named the kitten "Puddles." It's an ironic name, as when they named him, KCAS staff didn’t know Puddles' origin or the rescue attempts story.
Once evaluated, Puddles transferred to local animal rescue organization, Vicky’s Pet Connection. The ESD’s own Stormwater Manager Carrie Rivette then adopted Puddles after he received some medical care and T.L.C. 
“My cat just passed away, so when I heard about the rescue of Puddles, I felt like it was fate for him to come home with me,” said Rivette.
When Carrie went to Vicky’s Pet Connection to get Puddles, she also fell in love with another kitten that Puddles had become friends with named Oliver. She didn’t dare separate the two best friends, so she ended up bringing both kittens home that day.
The City’s ESD team is often dispatched to keep over 17,800 of storm catch basins clear, a core task to keep city streets from flooding. But it is very unusual for teams to act and retrieve animals. “I’m proud of our front line crews who work hard 24/7 to ensure that all lives are safe,” said Manager of the Environmental Services Department, Mike Lunn. "This story is truly one of teamwork, with different agencies from different local governments working together with a private animal welfare nonprofit."
Vicky’s Pet Connection, based in West Michigan, takes in several hundred stray pets each year and finds them new homes, but few come from such interesting places, says one of Vicky’s Founders, Nancy Mogle.
“He was an excellent ‘save’ from the sewer system and we are all very grateful for the efforts involved in the 3 a.m. rescue of this little lost soul!”
Any resident who needs assistance, whether that be feline or otherwise, should always call 3-1-1.

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