While people and pets throughout the region were sheltering in place during Tuesday evening’s heavy thunderstorms, Caroline County Animal Control and a team of Dominion Power employees were working to rescue a kitten from a tight spot.

The kitten had fallen into a pipe that contained high-voltage electrical lines feeding power to Bowling Green Health and Rehabilitation Center.

Animal Control Deputy M. Bullock said she got a call Tuesday afternoon from concerned nurses at the center, who said they had been hearing a kitten crying from a hole on the site for two days.

“We were looking at him being there for a third day,” Bullock said. “Time was of the essence. He was wanting help.”

The nurses showed Bullock the hole from which the mews were emanating. Bullock realized the hole led to a pipe containing electrical lines that “could definitely kill somebody right quick.”

She tried for two hours to rescue the kitten from outside the hole, first trying to reach him manually, then lowering down objects for him to grab hold of.

“I went so far as to cut a towel into strips that I weighted to go down to him,” Bullock said. “I felt him grab ahold, but he was too weak to stay on.”

Finally, she decided to contact Dominion Power. Dominion employees Brian Jeter, Jimmy Gracik and Thomas Manley arrived to help.

Bullock said they looked at the scenario and told her it was going to be difficult.

“I told them, ‘I’m not leaving until we get him out,’ ” she said. “One of the guys said, ‘Oh, we’re not going to leave him in there. I’m going to turn off the electricity right now.’ ”

The rehabilitation center’s generator kicked on while Bullock and the Dominion Power employees worked to get the kitten out.

“Those guys were phenomenal,” Bullock said. “And the nurses [including the rehab center administrator Jenna Cracknell and nurse Emily Stanfield] were wonderful, bringing us out cold drinks because it was really hot. It was just a combination of lots of positive thoughts and not giving up. The way that all kinds of strangers came together to do this was amazing.”

Finally, after five hours, Operation Kitten Rescue was successful.

Bullock was waiting with a towel to receive the little guy.

“As soon as he was out and in the towel, he started licking my hand,” Bullock said. “It was obvious he was very thankful.”

Everyone on the rescue team wanted to take turns holding the kitten.

“These three big guys who are rough and tough, they just melted when the kitten got out,” Bullock said.

And they had a name ready for him—Kilowatt.

Kilowatt went home with Bullock on Tuesday night, where he got a warm bath with Dawn dish detergent and a cozy bed.

“As soon as we got him warm and in bed, he zonked out. He was down for the count,” Bullock said.

Bullock said Kilowatt’s rescue was one of the most trying events in her 15-year career with Caroline Animal Control. Because of what they went through together, she feels they need to stay together.

“He’s going to live with me now,” she said.

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Adele Uphaus–Conner:

540/735-1973

auphaus@freelancestar.com

@flsadele

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