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Freedom alive in well
Missing cat rescued from neighbor’s yard
Hugs neighbor WEB
Bruce Durbin watches as his wife, Rhonda Durbin, hugs a neighbor after the Durbins’ cat was rescued Friday. - photo by Julie Arrington
A Forsyth County couple was reunited with their cat Friday after it was rescued from a well in a neighbor’s yard.

Freedom the cat had been missing for about three weeks, said Bruce Dubin. He and his wife, Rhonda, had given up on finding the furry feline.

“We thought he got eaten by a dog,” he said.

The Forsyth County Fire Department responded about 1:30 p.m. after a resident of Tidwell Road in south Forsyth called about the cat, which she could hear crying in her yard.

Fire Capt. Jason Shivers said there was no water in the 45-foot deep hole.

To free Freedom, firefighters first had to break down a wooden structure around the well. The department’s technical rescue team then set up a tripod over it.

Shivers said the oxygen and gas levels had to be measured before firefighter Glen Everett could be lowered in using cable and rope to retrieve the cat.

The dual system, Shivers explained, is designed so that if something goes wrong with the cable, the rope serves as backup to protect the firefighter from falling.

“Should there be a failure by the cable system, the rope system will lock,” Shivers said.

In the event something did go wrong, a second firefighter, equipped with rescue and safety devices, was on standby to retrieve Everett.

“We must have a backup system and firefighter ready to descend and recover our people,” Shivers said.
Once he reached the cat, Everett put it in a pillowcase and brought it back up to the surface where it was placed in a carrier.

It appeared Freedom hadn’t used up all nine lives after all.

“Oh my God,” gasped Rhonda Dubin, who during the rescue believed the trapped feline belonged to another resident on the street. After getting a closer look she realized the cat was hers.

“Unbelievable,” her husband said.

Dubin said she took in Freedom as a stray and wasn’t sure of his age.

After a few hugs and happy tears, the couple took the cat, who had apparently lost some weight, to a veterinarian for an examination.

E-mail Julie Arrington at