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Father Patrick Beretta, puppy nuzzle

Father Patrick Beretta holds his mastiff puppy after she was rescued from a 30-foot-long drain pipe that runs underneath St. Patrick’s Church on Tuesday morning.

BUTTE – A soft, furry puppy was reunited with its owner Tuesday morning after it got stuck in a drain pipe that runs underneath a Butte church.

Father Patrick Beretta looked everywhere in the small fenced-in yard after morning mass at St. Patrick’s on South Washington Street. The puppy, an English bull mastiff named Ysolt after an Irish princess, had just arrived Monday at the Bozeman airport from its former home in Georgia.

When Beretta couldn’t find his new and “absolutely adorable” more than 8-week-old puppy, he called police concerned that someone had stolen her despite his two other “very large protective” dogs.

Within 30 minutes Officer Patrick Fleming, assisted by Officer Callie Daly and an animal control officer, pulled the scared pup from a 30-foot long drain pipe that stretches underneath the church vestibule.

“It’s a good feeling to have something come to a nice end. Everything was all wrapped up and he (Beretta) got his puppy back, so that’s a great feeling,” said Fleming.

The officers initially searched for a possible suspect and then returned to the yard, acting on a hunch that Ysolt was close by. Beretta said Fleming shined his flashlight inside the mouth of the 12-inch pipe encased in concrete inches above the ground.

It was a place the priest had searched before but had not seen his missing Ysolt.

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Fleming said the puppy was indeed trapped and he wasn’t sure for how long. An animal control officer arrived to the scene with a catch pole after Fleming and Daly determined they needed assistance in reaching Ysolt.

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Using the catch pole the animal control officer gently nudged the puppy toward Fleming, who was finally able to reach her and pulled the shaking puppy’s backside toward him.

Ysolt’s rescue “made me and my staff very, very happy. He (Fleming) did the right things,” Beretta said.

On Tuesday afternoon, little Ysolt was getting reacquainted with playmates Tristan and Cleopatra – also English bull mastiffs – in the sun-dappled light of their grassy patch.

Beretta said the morning’s experience was “wonderful” and gave the officers a thank-you hug.

“I was thrilled. I told the sheriff how grateful I was to have his officers,” he said.

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