COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - After a team of neighbors and deputies came together to rescue a dog on live television, on Monday the dog’s owner shared the sad news that she died.
Two days after being rescued on “LIVE PD,” Maxine, a 17-year-old golden retriever-red heeler mix, passed away.
On Friday night, 10-year-old Corval Reynolds said he heard a whimpering coming from a storm drain on Golden Eagle Drive, according to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department. Reynolds then told his mother, who immediately called 911.
Deputies Bryce Hughes and Chris Sinceno responded to the incident and went into the sewer to rescue the dog, even though they weren’t sure what was down there at the time. But Maxine wasn’t responding to their attempts to lure her out.
With Maxine still whimpering, John Edwards and Steven Cantey came to help. Edwards jumped down and was able to rescue the dog with help from the deputies and the equipment Cantey provided.
RCSD took Maxine to the vet and Sheriff Leon Lott said the department was prepared to pay any fees, but donations kept coming from people who saw the incident play out and wanted to assist.
The vet was able to find a microchip in Maxine that helped connect them with Fran Prokop, her owner.
Prokop said she wasn’t the one who adopted Maxine. It was the other way around.
“She slipped from her cage when we rescued her and she followed us,” Prokop said. “She ran out of that cage and she came to us.”
Before honoring the civilians involved in the rescue with Sheriff’s Awards for Community Service and the deputies with Awards for Excellence, Lott said he has heard some people don’t believe the department should’ve been spending their time rescuing Maxine.
“Some people say it was just an animal,” Lott said. “No. Anyone who has a dog knows they aren’t just animals. You saw people reach down deep in their hearts, deep in their souls to do something to help.”
It’s a feeling Edwards, a military veteran, echoed. When asked why he jumped down the drain, he said it was a simple decision.
“It’s life, you know. I just had to go do it,” Edwards explained. “It was a dog in need. It was a desperate dog, so I had to get this dog out…who wouldn’t?”
Prokop said while the loss of Maxine is devastating, she is grateful for the team who gave her two extra days with her.
“It is important to know that people care that much,” she said. “With all the bad in the world, with all the bad that happens, we are all used to seeing all the bad on TV and online. There’s hope. If we give a little to others, there can be change.”
The dog managed to slip into the drain after being let out in Prokop’s yard to use the bathroom.
Prokop said Maxine was especially skinny because she was suffering from kidney issues.
The story left Lott emotional. He said he knows from personal experience how powerful the bond between a dog and an owner can be.
“I guess what all of us do is we relate to our own dogs,” he said as he fought to hold back tears. “I relate to mine and how much I love mine…it’s something that loves us and we love them very much.”
Watch the entire press conference with the deputies, sheriff and Maxine’s owner: