A Sticky Situation

Charlie Brown's playful nature almost cost him his life. The two-year-old miniature pinscher was running around chasing other critters when he poked his head into an old rusty hot-water heater, and then couldn't get it out.

"A rabbit decided he'd go in one end and Charlie Brown figured he'd go in after him. The rabbit went on through but Charlie Brown, he stopped when his head got stuck," says owner Bob Campbell.

When Campbell saw the rear end of his dog sticking out of the discarded water heater, he could see the little pooch was clearly in trouble: "He had very labored breathing and he was gasping."

Firefighters were called in and used a heavy-duty saw to cut off the top of the rusted heater so Campbell could get Charlie out and take him to the animal hospital.

"We want to say we really are thankful to the Lakeside Fire Department. Without them we couldn't have saved him," Campbell said tearfully.

Workers at the El Cajon Veterinary Hospital anesthetized the frightened dog and soaked him in mineral oil to make him slippery. "She was pushing... and I was pulling Charlie gently from this direction," one of the veterinary technicians said, "and finally he was delivered. He did really well."

In just a few minutes, Charlie Brown's head was back where it belonged, and although he was a little groggy from the anesthesia, he was alert enough to squirm when he came face-to-face with the piece of metal tube that had held him hostage.

No worse, though maybe a little wiser for his experience, Charlie Brown is reportedly back home chasing rabbits.