GROVELAND – Christynn Malagon was frantic when she got a call at work Thursday that firefighters were at her home.

There wasn't a fire. Malagon’s 1-year-old Shih Tzu, Oreo, got his paw stuck in the bathtub drain while the family was bathing him.

“I never thought anything like this could happen," Malagon said. "I don’t think I’ve ever considered who I’d call for an emergency like that for an animal."

“This type of call is normally to assist residents in a non-emergency type capacity, i.e. helping someone up who fell and can’t get back up on their own or changing out smoke detector batteries," said Groveland Fire Department Captain Steve Smith. "This day, it was different."

Smith said he was greeted by an 8-year-old and her grandmother, who showed him to the tub where Oreo was stuck.

“The poor little thing was all soapy and wet. He was shaking and he looked tired," he said. "You could tell he had been trying to get out himself because his little leg was all red. His little paw was stuck in the drain where it screws down into the pipe, and short of spinning the dog a million times in circles, we determined the best way to extricate Oreo from the drain was to cut the drain from around him,” Smith said.

When the crew started trying to do that, however, Oreo cried in protest and a mobile veterinarian – Dr. Lou Lucero of Sumter Veterinary Services – was called to sedate him.

After that, getting Oreo out was easy.

Malagon said Oreo slept through the night Thursday, and when he woke up Friday, he was raring to go.

“They (firefighters) all, every single one of them, were awesome," Malagon said. "They treated the dog as if he was a person. They were wonderful with Oreo and with us and the vet was too. I wouldn’t have known what to do without their help.

“After this however, we won’t be bathing Oreo in the tub again,” she said.