Monday, 10 May 2021

Artist thanks ‘heroes’ who rescued dog from hot car

A WOMAN has thanked the “heroes” who helped rescue her dog after she accidentally locked him

A WOMAN has thanked the “heroes” who helped rescue her dog after she accidentally locked him in her car on one of the hottest days of the year.

Artist Sharon Yamamoto, 68, was worried for three-year-old Pluto when he was trapped in her Volkswagen Golf before passers-by and a garage mechanic came to her aid.

Together, they managed to free the West Highland terrier from the car unharmed after about 40 minutes as temperatures soared into the high twenties.

The drama began just after she had finished taking Pluto for a walk by the river and returned to her vehicle in the Mill Lane car park in Henley on September 14.

Mrs Yamamoto, of Lambridge Lane, Henley, recalled: “I put my handbag, car keys and Pluto in my car and shut the doors as usual. For some reason, all the doors locked.

“I was thinking ‘thank goodness I left the window open about an inch-and-a-half’. It was a very hot day and I knew I had to get the car open for the sake of my dog.”

Mrs Yamamoto, who was due to set up an art show at the Old Fire Station Gallery later that day, added: “This was the last thing I wanted to happen. I kept calm and thought ‘somehow, somebody is going to help me’.

“Various kind people tried to help. A young couple with a baby and two dogs were most supportive. They stayed by the car, not wanting to leave my dog alone. They were so caring.”

She took the advice of a woman who let her use her phone and walked to the Hofmann’s garage and showroom in Newtown Road to ask for help.

Mrs Yamamoto said: “Immediately, the man in charge recruited a young mechanic named Mitchell [McKee] and the two of us drove to my locked car.

“Mitchell tried using long pliers, wire, everything he could, without resorting to using the hammer he’d brought. He did his best but he was unable to reach the door handle. His arm was too big.

“He then removed the rubber seal at the edge of the window opening to allow a bigger gap but still couldn’t reach the handle.

“However, with the help of another man who held the window glass back a tiny bit, I could reach my arm inside to the handle.

“If it wasn’t for the three of us working together I could have never have got my arm in the window. My arm was a bit bruised but I don’t have very big arms.

“My dog was saved without breaking a window! Mitchell and the other stranger were my heroes!

“I didn’t get their names so I would like people to know just how kind they were. They were my heroes, they really were. I was so relieved.”

Mrs Yamamoto, who moved to the town from Miami 13 years ago, added: “The kindness of strangers is alive and well in Henley. Thanks to Mitchell, the young couple with the baby and the woman who loaned me her phone, Pluto is well.

“I am so grateful and wanted to let all of Henley know how much I appreciated their assistance in a difficult situation. People were so caring and they’d never met me before. It just proves there are really good people out there.”

She has written to Hofmann’s thanking the business and Mr McKee in particular.

She said: “I wrote Mitchell a letter and sent him a card and I was really hoping he’d come to my show on the opening night and I’d give him a glass of champagne! He was a super-nice guy.”

Mr McKee, 30, an apprentice technician at Hofmann’s, was sent to help by after-sales manager Ben Farmer.

He said: “I’m always happy to help other people in need. Pluto seemed all right afterwards. He didn’t seem too stressed or anything, he was just pleased to see his owner after being in the car for a while.

“She did offer payment but you don’t do these sort of things for anything material. You do it out of the goodness of your heart. She was very pleasant and grateful.

“Strangely enough, I’ve found a few dogs roaming the roads in the past but I’ve never had anybody come in and ask for help to release their dog from a car!”

Mr Farmer said: “I thought it was best to send someone who was qualified to help out.”

• In June Robin and Ginny Batchelor-Smith, from Lower Assendon, thanked passers-by who saved their Labrador Dinah after she was trapped in their Peugeot 206 on one of the hottest days of the year after the keys were accidentally locked in the boot.

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