Wilton Firefighters occasionally have need to use the “Jaws of Life” to rescue people trapped in cars by a motor vehicle accident. But last week, during a much different rescue situation, the town’s first responders used them in what might have earned the gear a new nickname–the “Paws of Life.”

On Saturday, Oct. 5, members from the Wilton Fire Department Station 2 along with Wilton Police and Animal Control officers responded to the Town Forest on Boas Ln. for an unusual rescue. A dog out for a walk with its owner managed to lodge its head in the stump of a dead tree. Attempts were made by the owner and other concerned dog walkers, including an off duty Stamford fire lieutenant, to free the dog but they were unable to move him.

Complicating the situation, the dead tree in which the dog was stuck had a large “widow maker” section of broken tree about 25 feet above the ground. Firefighters were worried that the section of broken tree would fall on the rescuers, injuring them or the dog.

The Wilton Firefighters decided to use their “Jaws of Life” cutters and spreaders to make enough room to free the dog’s head but also to move the tree as little as possible. One of three root sections was cautiously cut close to the dogs head. Firefighters then used the spreaders along with a TL9 rescue plate to lift the tree, to make enough room to remove the dog from the stump.

Town officials say the dog appeared to be in good health and very happy to be free.