Volunteer firefighters to the rescue in Westmoreland


Pets can provide us with a lifetime of devotion and unconditional love. Which is why, when a pet goes missing, it can be a gut-wrenching experience.

We are grateful that in Westmoreland one such case ended happily — for all concerned — and there is plenty of praise-
worthy efforts to go around.

“Smitty Bear,” a 12-year-old Newfoundland, is fortunate to belong to a family that refused to give up on him, with owners Gloria and Dennis Destefanis searching for him throughout their neighborhood and in the wooded area behind their home when he went missing on Sunday. Friends and neighbors joined the search, hoping to locate the gentle giant.

When he was located later Monday, Smitty Bear, who suffers from arthritis, was found at the bottom of a steep ravine unable to make its way out.

Volunteer firefighters were called and were quickly on the scene. Within hours, they had descended to the bottom of the ravine, gently placed the ailing dog into a Stokes basket and climbed back to the top reuniting the Destefanis family with their beloved dog.

The dog is now comfortably resting after a trip to the veterinarian, where he received a “clean bill of health.”

The Westmoreland community can take pride in knowing that it still retains the best features of what we’ve come to know about small communities in Central New York -- a place where neighbors are quick to help other neighbors and where volunteer firefighters are quick to put their training, expertise and desire to help others to use with just a moment’s notice.


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