Cloudy
62°
Cloudy
Hi 62° | Lo 50°

Canaan Firefighters Come to Snowflake’s Rescue

Canaan Firefighter Chris Thurston holds Snowflake after rescuing the 1-year-old cat from a tree on the Rail Trail in Canaan, N.H., on Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014. Photograph courtesy of Dale Kennedy.

Canaan Firefighter Chris Thurston holds Snowflake after rescuing the 1-year-old cat from a tree on the Rail Trail in Canaan, N.H., on Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014. Photograph courtesy of Dale Kennedy.

Canaan — When a call came in to the Canaan Fire Department on Saturday for “animal in tree ” along the Rail Trail near the middle of town, responders didn’t know what they would find when they arrived.

With hope, said Capt. Dan Quimby, it wouldn’t be a bear with cubs, or some other kind of dangerous wild animal.

“We weren’t exactly sure what we were going to run into,” he said.

What they ran into turned out to be Snowflake, the year-old fluffy, brown and orange tiger-striped tabby cat owned by 7-year-old Giada Kennedy. The indoor-only cat was discovered stuck at the top of a roughly 20-foot apple tree after she had escaped and gone missing 24 hours earlier.

Snowflake has been living with Giada’s grandmother, Dale Kennedy, after Giada’s mother began having strong allergic reactions to the cat a few months after taking her home. Kennedy moved from Lebanon to Canaan just two weeks ago, taking Snowflake with her, and was devastated on Friday when she realized that the cat had escaped from her new home.

“(The family) had been searching and searching, four different times,” Kennedy said. “We could hear her meowing but she just wouldn’t come to us.”

On Saturday afternoon, Kennedy said, her nephew called her to let her know they had finally located the source of the meowing — high above their heads, in the scraggly, thin-branched tree.

Kennedy said her nephew suggested calling the fire department, but she was dubious that they would come to get a cat. She’s not sure who made the call, she said, but when she arrived at the Rail Trail a short time later, a fire engine, police cruiser and at least five emergency responders were already on scene in a real-life “firefighter saves cat” story.

“Seriously, I am so amazed, I just couldn’t believe it,” she said. “They were all just so helpful and concerned.”

Quimby said firefighters were happy to save the cat. When possible, he said, it’s beneficial for trained responders to safely respond to those situations in order to avoid a more serious accident if, for example, somebody tried to climb the tree and fell out.

Quimby said firefighter Chris Thurston climbed the ladder wearing protective gloves — “we weren’t exactly sure what the temperament of the cat would be,” Quimby said — and was just out of reach of the cat. Kennedy said Thurston “really had to talk the kitty down,” but eventually the cat moved toward Thurston.

Both Thurston and Kennedy said Snowflake — so named because that’s how Giada had always wanted it — was happy to be rescued. Quimby said it’s been several years since they’ve responded to a call like that, and the department was appreciative of all the thanks that Kennedy had given them.

“Very nice lady,” Quimby said. “Very nice cat.”

Maggie Cassidy can be reached at mcassidy@vnews.com or 603-727-3220.