By Mike Kinney
Tony Nguyen is a Richmond firefighter. You can now also call him “the dog whisperer.”
On Monday afternoon, Nguyen played a central role in the rescue of a frightened dog that ended up stranded on a 100-foot-tall cliff in Point Richmond.
Firefighters responded to the area at 2:44 p.m. on the report about the stranded chocolate brown Labrador, said Fire Inspector Luis Padilla, president of Local 188.
Nine firefighters and a battalion chief participated in the rescue, which included use of Truck 64. The truck features an aerial truck ladder that can reach up to 110 feet, Padilla said. A East Bay Regional Park District ranger was also credited in the response.
Nguyen manned the ladder and approached the scared dog high up on the cliffs, Padilla said. At first the dog was very scared and was barking at Nguyen. But Nguyen was eventually able to make the dog feel comfortable and calm down.
“Tony was able to gently grab the dog and bring the dog safely to ground level,” Padilla said.
The dog is apparently a stray with “very pretty eyes,” said Padilla, who added the pooch also looked skinny and malnourished.
“We were very proud of Tony and we started calling him the ‘Dog Whisperer’ because of the way he calmed the dog down and made it a much safer operation,” he said.
One of the firefighters decided to adopt the Labrador.
Local 188 posted a video of the rescue on Facebook along with a warning to the public about city budget cuts that could impact future rescues, including the shutdown of Truck 64.
“Contact your City Council Members and let them know that you are against cutting minimum staffing in the Richmond Fire Department,” Local 188 stated in the post. “Only you, the Richmond residents, can make a difference.”