Salem Gap, NC - Eight year old Johnny Stumph could tell his dog Jack was going to grow larger than most dogs when Jack would pull him on his skateboard up town Mountain Road.
"When Jack was just a puppy I'd tie a rope around him and he'd pull me all day long like I wasn't even there," said little Johnny. "He'd pull me up the mountain road and once we even passed old lady Thomas coming back from town. He's got to be the biggest dog in the whole wide world"
Johnny explained that, "Everyone fed Jack too, 'cause if they didn't Jack would turn over the dumpsters at the supermarket and the Bar-B-Q looking for food. So he just kept growing and growing."
For a dog house it seemed Jack took over the port-a-barn that Johnny's dad used to store his farm equipment. "One rainy day I came back from the corn field," Johnny's father said with a wry smile, "and 'ole Jack was parked where I was usually stored the combines. Those machines have been parked outside ever since. I mean, if I park one inside Jack would just push it out of the way anyways."
"Guess what?" said little Johnny, "Jack helps out around here too. If Mom's garden needs watering I'll take him down to the pond for a swim. When he shakes off the water the garden won't need any more for a week."
All was well in Johnny and Jack's world until Saturday morning when the weather took a turn for the worst. "It started to thunder and lightning and all of a sudden Jack took off running straight into the Town Mountain railroad tunnel." said Johnny sadly, "it's hard to believe he could get stuck in there."
Late Saturday afternoon a locomotive was called in to pull Jack out. Heavy chains were tied around Jack's hind feet, but Jack wouldn't budge. Then another locomotive was called in. This locomotive pushed on Jacks head while the other locomotive pulled. After several hours Jack was freed.
It appeared that the only serious damage done during the rescue was when Jack lurched forward during the excitement after being freed and pulled the first locomotive off the track.
Railroad officials said they believe it will take at least two more days on the mountain to put the engine back on the tracks.