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A Beaufort County beagle got his head stuck in a tree. This is what happened next

Lady’s Island-St. Helena Fire District firefighter Anthony “Pops” Roberts works to free a beagle whose head was stuck in a tree Monday on Lady’s Island. Firefighters free the dog after more than an hour of sawing and chiseling.
Lady’s Island-St. Helena Fire District firefighter Anthony “Pops” Roberts works to free a beagle whose head was stuck in a tree Monday on Lady’s Island. Firefighters free the dog after more than an hour of sawing and chiseling. Submitted

Flash the beagle is the son of champion Mississippi rabbit hunters.

He spent the first week of life outside a kennel in a Tallahatchie County hotel while his new owner, Billy Powell, was on a work trip to Mississippi from his Beaufort County home almost 11 years ago.

The dog’s official AKC registered name is Mississippi Flash the Tallahatchie Rebel.

Powell didn’t want a rabbit hunter or a show dog and negotiated a price of $100, down from $1,600, after bonding with the breeder’s family over dinner.

“He’s never chased a rabbit in his life,” Powell said.

Flash spends much of his time in Powell’s lap. But the champion bloodline led him into a predicament this week when he stuck his head in a hole in the base of a tree in the backyard of the Powells’ Lady’s Island home and couldn’t pull free.

Powell’s wife, Terri, thought Flash was digging for moles when he didn’t come back inside after she let him out Monday morning. The dog often digs for the rodents, chases squirrels and once got loose and was found tracking a deer.

Flash is also a hoarder. Among the items he has stashed in his bed are his much heavier bag of dog food, a large tub of loose change and a handgun Billy had been cleaning on the coffee table.

“Flash doesn’t behave,” Terri said. “He is very naughty.”

Terri tried to pull Flash away from the tree, and the dog yelped. She ran for her phone and dialed Billy, whose was on a service call for his job as a mechanic and didn’t pick up.

Then she sent a text message to her son, Logan, a teacher at Beaufort High School on standby because his wife, Heaven, is due any time with their second child. Logan asked if Heaven was OK.

“It’s Flash,” Terri told him. “He’s stuck in a tree.”

Logan told her to call veterinarian Mark Guilloud, whose practice is nearby, and to call 911.

Guilloud arrived and said he could sedate Flash but not free him without help.

Firefighters from Lady’s Island-St. Helena Fire District arrived and used shampoo and water to lubricate Flash’s coat.

“In all my 32 years, this is the first time I responded to a dog stuck in a tree,” Battalion Chief Danny Williams said. “Normally it’s the proverbial cat stuck in a tree.”

A firefighter kept his hand between Flash and the tree as others worked with saws, chisels and hammers to chip away the wood. Whenever the beagles appeared uncomfortable, work stopped until he was calm again.

After more than an hour, a soggy Flash was free. Guilloud’s office treated Flash with anti-inflammatory medication for a swollen neck, and the dog’s ears were a bit raw where they rubbed against the tree, Billy said.

But soon Flash returned to his mischievous ways, dragging a food takeout box from the table to stow in his bed.

“He’s crazy,” Terri said.

Stephen Fastenau covers northern Beaufort County as a reporter for The Beaufort Gazette and The Island Packet, where he has worked since 2010 and been recognized with state and national awards. He studied journalism and political science at the University of South Carolina in Columbia and lives in Beaufort.
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