My very first rescue, actually, was on an Army base. I was in the military and there for training. We were walking to the theater that night when I heard a tiny mewing outside Army training barracks. I listened for a moment and located the sound coming out of a heavy grate set in the ground. Being strong and young back in the day, me and my buddy lifted the grate and set it aside the drain. The mewing abruptly stopped and we could see nothing in the drain, so believing we had freed the kitten by removing the grate, we went on to the movies.
The night sky was dark by the time we got back and the stars were out. It is gorgeous at night in Alabama, by the way... We were walking chatting, enjoying the night time, when I heard it again- the teeny tiny mewing of a kitten. Someone had placed that heavy grate back upon our kitten's hole!
(Thinking back now- she probably slipped between the grate and couldn't climb UP to get OUT, but I didn't think of that possibility back then).
It's been over a decade now, but somehow, in the pitch dark of night, we removed the grate again and I jumped into this dingy dirty gross drain to find the kitten. I pushed my hands through leaves and gods-know-what and suddenly, I felt her! Fur!
Pulling her out and holding her to me, now I was in trouble... She was probably a six-seven week old solid blue fluffy scrap of a thing. She was so happy to be out of that drain!
Now my problem was- I was residing in training barracks as well! I didn't have a house- I lived in barracks where pets weren't allowed and it was probably 10 PM at night!
I decided if I was going to get in trouble- this was the way to do it. So I snuggled the kitten into my shirt, brought her upstairs and introduced her to the girls.
We were in an open bay- ie there were bunk beds and we each had a wall closet, a set of showers in the back and a cleaning closet. I explained the issue to the girls and for once, we all agreed and we decided the kitten would stay with us until our Gunny came in on and then we would ask him to place her at the base shelter. I know- shelters aren't wonderful places, but it had to be better then dying in a drainpipe in the dark!
That weekend, we had that scamp running all over our bay. She was the cutest, sweetest little thing.
And yes, that Monday, as soon as our Gunny arrived, I trepidatiously went down to his office, rapped on his door, and went in with trembling knees to tell him I broke the rules, but it was for a good reason.
He took it well naturedly enough. I'd like to think he had a good heart.
She was actually our first rescue- in a long history of them now...