KINGMAN - Jax has always been deathly afraid of bath time. On Nov. 17, the 5-pound mixed schnauzer learned his fears were justified.
Don't worry. This story has an, ahem, "pawsitive" outcome.
Try as they might, Kyle Evans and Rachael Jacobs could not dislodge Jax's paw from the bathtub's drain. The little guy was yelping and in apparent pain and the couple had no idea what to do.
That's when Rachael called Pat Yarush at Truelove Plumbing, who told her to call Neighborhood Services, who told her to call the Kingman Fire Department, who arrived, assessed the situation, and told her to call - a plumber.
Let's start at the beginning.
It was early in the morning on Nov. 17 when Kyle woke up to give Jax a bath while Rachael showered.
"The dog was running up and down the bathtub," said Kyle. "He's deathly afraid of water, but he finally settled down where the water was coming down and then he started going crazy.
"Rachael came in and kind of freaked out."
The pair spent the next half hour trying to free the "smallest part" of Jax's paw.
That's when Rachel called Yarush at Truelove, who told her to call ... well, you know.
Kingman Fire Capt. Robert Borker and firefighters Brian Knarr and Cody Wood arrived a couple of minutes after the call of a dog in distress was dispatched.
"I don't think they knew what they were getting into," said Rachael.
Yarush was called for the second time and when one of the firefighters said the department needed his assistance, Yarush replied: "Is it a dog with his foot in the tub drain? They really don't make a tool for that."
He responded and, like Jax's owners and KFD personnel, he could not believe how firmly Jax's paw was lodged.
"I tried to grease it, but couldn't move it," said Yarush. "The dog didn't want much to do with that."
In fact, Jax at that point was yelping and in pain and was getting more agitated by the second. Everybody took turns holding the dog's head above the water while Yarush tried to solve the riddle.
The plumber found a small handsaw used to cut pipe in small spaces and started cutting a wedge in the drain, without cutting Jax, who didn't like the extra pressure that was brought to bear on his paw.
That's when the KFD decided to contact a veterinarian who could provide Jax a sedative. Eventually, Jax was sedated, but not before firefighters got a Fido bag, which are oxygen masks made for dogs affected by fires, just as a precaution.
It took Yarush less than two minutes to cut through the cross bars in the drain and Jax was free. He was asleep, however, and couldn't share in the joy of the moment.
Kyle and Rachael took him to the vet's office. The paw is still misshapen and sore, but Jax will make a full recovery.
Thanks all around
On Tuesday, Kyle and Rachael and Jax greeted Yarush and the firefighters who responded the previous week. Fire Chief Jake Rhoades presented Yarush with a certificate of appreciation. Rachael gave the plumber a thank you card.
"We take a lot of pride in what we do," said Rhoades. Adding later, "It's not every day you get to make a difference in the life of a puppy."
Capt. Borker said all the training firefighters receive doesn't prepare them for what they witnessed last week, but it does teach them to use the available resources.
"We're very grateful to you," he said to Yarush, who seemed a little overwhelmed by the attention.
And the best news, after the freeing of Jax of course, is this: "We just bought pet insurance the day before," said Kyle, as a smile as broad as a beam crossed his face.