"Norman" and the Terrible TRee
(late May 2017)
"Norman" was stuck for three days in Brandon MS before his rescue. He started at 30 feet but climbed to 50 feet during the rescue. Fortunately, he was cooperative when I finally reached his height in a perfectly terrible tree covered in vines. Justin, many thanks for your generous donation to the Oktibbeha County Humane Society!
It was Saturday morning, and I noticed some text messages on the Kat Fone about a kitty stuck in Brandon. I called back, and talked with Ester. A family kitty had been stuck in a tree since possibly Wednesday, could I help? I told her that I would pack the truck and leave immediately. Ester warned me the kitty was in some woods across a drainage ditch, so I brought some lawn mower loading ramps to help bridge the ditch.
I was met by Justin, Ester's husband, when I arrived. Their son, William, also joined us. Justin led me to the back yard, where we crossed the ditch using the loading ramps, and then walked a short ways through some thick woods. Justin pointed to a sweetgum that was covered in vines. I could hear the kitty meowing, but could not see him. Justin told me that he was particularly attached to Norman as he had rescued him out of a parking lot in Jackson when he was a wee kitty. Another family kitty, Chester, was also out at the tree hoping that we could rescue Norman. Justin and myself then spent some time hauling my gear from the truck to the tree. At this point, I examined the tree to determine where I could put a rope. It was a perfectly terrible tree in that there was so much foliage and ivy, that I could not spot a decent limb until I backed far away from the tree. There was one good limb union near the top, but I could only see the end of the limb sticking up out of the ivy, I could not see the union itself. I decided to simply shoot the throw line over the top of the tree, and let the rope settle down into the union. After some work, I had a line established in the tree. I tried once again to spot Norman in the tree, and finally saw him at about 30 feet. I did not fully trust my tie-in point, so I also put a safety rope at 20 feet. My plan was to attach a secondary rope to the trunk once I reached the spot of the first safety rope.
I donned my gear and started up. It was slow going as I had to break through vines, and keep a secondary tie-in to the trunk. I finally reached the point where Norman had been but he was no longer there, he had moved up the tree (sigh). I kept going and finally saw him - he was on the limb that my rope was on! He was at the trunk, and my rope was about 4 feet above him, caught on a small burl on the limb. As I climbed closer to him, Norman kept looking up the tree as if he wanted to go higher. I asked Justin to keep calling to Norman for distraction purposes. I climbed close enough that Norman allowed me to scritch him but I was still too far away for a grab. I climbed to the top of my rope above Norman, then made a quick scruff grab before Norman could decide to go higher. After fighting some vines and limbs, I was finally able to get Norman completely into the bag. Whew! I started down and was soon on ground, where I handed Norman off to Justin. After Norman was safely in the house, Justin returned and he and William helped me pack up. Ester and Justin allowed me to wash up in the house sink afterwards as there was some poison ivy in the tree. I was able to capture the photo below of Norman chillaxing in the house after the rescue. I also stupidly left some gear at the house (throw bags, goggles, gloves) but Ester graciously volunteered to mail them back to me.