Los Angeles firefighters freed a frantic dog whose head became stuck in a thick, metal barbecue smoker in the Westwood area earlier this week.
But the 5-year-old golden retriever, Curry, whose owner described her as a "smart, funny, beautiful and joyous dog," later died of her injuries at a veterinary hospital.
The dog became stuck Monday, apparently after getting through a barbecue cover and unlatching a small door covering a narrow smoker pipe, according to the fire department.
Her head became lodged inside the pipe, while her body remained outside of the drum. The owners called the fire department when they couldn't get her out.
Firefighters arrived and spent an hour and a half rescuing Curry, using powerful machines to surgically tear apart the barbecue while trying to make sure the dog was calm and could breathe.
The agency printed excerpts from a letter later sent by the owner.
"They gave her water, oxygen, tried to get her head back through the pipe, and when they realized it wasn't possible, they cut through 1/4" stainless steel and cut away the 3" thick wall of clay, cut through the 1/4" thick stainless metal pipe, used the jaws of life to pry apart the metal, all the while vacuuming up the clay dust created in the oven so that she could breathe," the letter said.
"Our family will forever be thankful for all that the brave firefighters did to help Curry, and that they persevered so that she didn't die in that situation in front of our young teenage sons."
The owner suggested that the dog may have died from the heat and stress caused by being caught in the steel smoker for such a long time.
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