'It was just an interesting day in a llama's life'

CANBY, Ore. - Firefighters rescued a llama, known as Sergeant Pepper, that was stuck in the mud Tuesday.

It was a first for Canby firefighters. Previously, they have gotten plenty of cats out of trees, a cow out of a well and a horse that fell through a bridge.

It took a game plan and six firefighters to get Sergeant Pepper back on solid ground. It didn't take long. Just seconds after the rescue effort began, it was over. And after wandering a bit too far from his normal path, the Sergeant Pepper was safe.

"This was actually a pretty easy rescue," said Troy Buzalsky, division chief for the Canby Fire Department. "If we would have set up sophisticated equipment, we would have had some really fancy pictures, but the truth is we always want to take the easiest path first."

With help from a local vet, rescuers waited until Sergeant Pepper was relaxed to free his two right legs from the chest deep mud.

"We needed to sedate the animal, because we didn't want the animal to get excited, we didn't want the animal to panic as we attempted to rescue," Buzalsky said. "We grabbed it where we could and we rolled the animal, kind of like a log, and the legs came right out."

Sergeant Pepper's ordeal brings back memories of Moses the camel. Back in September 2010, Moses kept Clackamas County firefighters busy for three hours until they summoned the strength to dig and pull the 1,500-pound camel out of a six-foot-eight sinkhole.

Fortunately Sergeant Pepper weighs about 1,000 pounds less than Moses, allowing firefighters to free him in a fraction of the time.

"Other than just venturing a little off the trail, I think it was just an interesting day in a llama's life," Buzalsky said.

Sergeant Pepper was heavily sedated after the rescue and did not appear to be injured. Firefighters say these animal rescues help them hone their skills in case they ever find people in these situations.

Video of the rescue and Sergeant Pepper courtesy of the Canby Fire Department: