Friends and neighbors of Helen and Mike had tried in vain to coax the cat, named Diesel, down from his scary perch since yesterday. The fire department was called but there was no where to safely align the ladder in order to reach Diesel, and so he spent a cold, windy night, crying pitifully, in the tree.
Today, neighbors decided to take matters into their own hands. A young man named Shane had a friend that had tree-climbing gear. Sheryl Nelson first attempted to reach Diesel by climbing a 20-foot ladder. When that tactic was unsuccessful she drove to her home in Swedesboro, gathered her gear, and returned to the tree. And that is where Ms. Nelson succeeded when everyone else had failed.
Nelson climbed the ladder gingerly and then hooked up her equipment, carefully scaling upward to the branch where Diesel sat crying. She called gently to him and stretched out her hand while the gathering crowd remained absolutely still, all eyes focused on the enfolding drama. The cat, exhausted and half frozen from his night outside, climbed toward his rescuer. With the stealth and speed of a ninja, Nelson grabbed Diesel and cradled him in her arms. Moments later, after repelling down to the base of the tree, the crowd broke into cheers as Ms. Nelson handed the cat over to his tearful owners.
“This neighborhood is great”, a man in the crowd said. “This is the way everyone should act, pitching together to help each other.”
2. Sheryl Nelson coaxes Diesel from the tree
3. Owners Mike and Helen radiate joy at the work done by Sheryl Nelson.