On February 8th, at approximately 9:00 pm, while sitting comfortably in their new (to them) home, Eric raises the question, “Where’s Riley?” Yes, Riley… one of our two rag doll cats. Fuzzy little urchin who likes to leave fur everywhere, chase Kris down the stairs, splash water all over the floor, and generally lay about.
I thought for a long minute – I had been at home all day that day getting things done around the house, unpacking boxes and the like. Max, our other rag doll, had been especially attentive. Every chance he had he followed me around and jumped into my lap. But I didn’t remember seeing Riley. Kris said, “I haven’t seen him… and he didn’t try to trip me on the stairs this morning either!”
At this point the kids are getting anxious. “Where’s Riley?!? Here Riley! Here boy! Where are you?” Up the stairs, searching every nook and cranny in the house. Down to the basement, in all the cupboards, behind all the doors. No Riley. Not a peep.
Riley had tried to rush out the door by Kris a few days prior and she hurt her back catching the little brat and sending him back inside. Maybe he got out? Shane and I had taken the old water heater out the day before… maybe he scooted out and we missed him?
Ok, it’s 9:30. It’s 20 something degrees outside. It’s dark. The wind is blowing. But here we go, outside to look for the cat! The backyard is fenced in but that probably wouldn’t matter much to a cat. Oh, and Riley is blind, or nearly so. He has all his claws but has never been outside before. And we’ve only been in the new house for a month. Good luck!
After checking the backyard pretty thoroughly, and the garage, and the deck around the pool, I go out to the front of the house and Shane (wearing a strap-on headlamp) says to me, “Come here and tell me if I’m crazy!” He shines the light up to the top of the front porch, to the roof, to the chimney… and there is Riley… on top of the chimney! 35 feet up, at least! I yelled up, “Riley!” He looks down and gives the most pitiful “Mmmmmrrrrroooowwwwww!” Poor buddy! He’s probably been outside for 24 hours or so and found the warm spot on the top of the chimney to wait it out!
Now I start thinking… How am I going to get him down?!? I don’t have a ladder. There’s snow on the roof and it’s a pretty steep pitch. I’m not good with heights at all. I’m certainly not going to suggest letting Shane climb up there – he’ll kill himself trying to get the cat and Kris would be sad…
So, we jumped in the car thinking to run by the fire house just in case someone was there. They weren’t. Ok, go by Cy’s, the local grocery store to see if anyone knows a fireman. They’re closed. Gas station? Kid working there lives in Hornell and doesn’t know anyone.
Kris calls up our friend, Patty, to see if she knows anyone. Patty said that she knows Colene Hulbert’s phone number! Colene’s husband is Dan, the Fire Chief! Awesome! So, Kris calls and talks to Colene for a minute and then to Dan. Dan said that he would be right down! Turns out that they haven’t ever rescued a cat before! Could that cliche be wrong?!?
Dan pulled in front of the house a few minutes later with Colene. After a few minutes of looking at the situation and hearing Riley’s “Mmmmmrrrrroooowwwwww!”, Dan was on the phone. Ten minutes later up pulls a fire truck with Dwight Smith and Matt Howe and one other woman that I’m sorry to say we don’t know.
Out came the ladders! Up the ladder went Matt! Then Dwight passed up a roof ladder and Matt climbed that to the peak and grabbed Riley! He tucked him into his fireman’s coat and started down. Handed Riley off to Dwight and then to Kris! Saved!
Matt wanted a picture with Riley so we all went in the house and made a few shots!
We want to thank Matt, Dwight, Colene, Dan and the rest of the Arkport Hose Company #1 for their help in rescuing Riley! And also for thinking ahead and not sending it out over the airwaves for all to hear! It’s really great that these people would take time out of their nights to come help us out and we really appreciate it!