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Fondness for animals is a big asset to anyone who works in the home service business. That's because we encounter many pets in our work, and it really helps if we can relate to them.
On the other hand, all of us have stories that just go to show...it's a real zoo out there!
*Bats in the boiler. About midnight on a very cold winter evening, a Pennsylvania firm got a call from a homeowner without any heat. The service technician tried the boiler when he arrived at the house. He could hear the ignition buzz, but no heat was coming on. He checked the oil level, which was fine, and the filter, which was not clogged.
Then he checked the electrodes, and found the problem. The electrical connection had shorted out. But why then did he hear the ignition buzzing?
A dead bat was positioned with one foot on each electrode. When the electricity from the transformer came on, it buzzed through the bat, sounding just like the ignition.
*"Watch out, you big oaf!" A plumber was on a ladder working on an overhead water line in a big arena where the circus was performing. A co-worker suddenly heard his cries for help. Rushing to the area, the helper saw a toppled ladder but the plumber who had been working on it was nowhere in sight.
"Up here!" yelled the desperate man, dangling from the overhead pipes after an elephant had knocked over his ladder.
*Cats everywhere. Cats are known for finding unique hiding places. One plumber in South Carolina was called to rescue a kitten trapped underneath a dishwasher. Apparently the kitten had been chased under the house by a dog. The animal tried to escape through a small hole under the dishwasher left by the original plumber, only to become hopelessly stuck.
The plumber removed the dishwasher panels and bent the rear support legs, but still couldn't reach the kitten. With two nervous children looking on, a helper went under the house to support the cat while the plumber made small cuts with a jigsaw around the kitten's head. After 40 minutes of chipping away at the floor, they got the kitten released unharmed. Lesson learned: "To close all holes no matter how small or hidden they may seem," said the plumber.
On another occasion, a worker for the same plumbing firm was opening up a tile wall in an upstairs bathroom to replace a tub and shower valve. No one was home while the work was being done, and during the course of the day the plumber made several trips to his truck. He finished the job by day's end and closed up the hole in the wall.
Next day the plumber returned to the same home to remodel a different bathroom on the first floor. There was a note waiting for him: "PLEASE LET MY CAT OUT OF THE WALL!" The cat had crawled into the open wall the previous day while the plumber was on one of his sojourns to the truck.
Plumbers hate when that happens!
*Ralston-Purina would pay millions for the recipe! An apprentice was doing a piping job in a home and had just opened a can of pipe dope - a pasty substance used to help seal pipe connections. He left it upstairs while he went down to the basement to shut off a valve.
Just minutes later he came back upstairs to find the pipe dope can empty. He stood there scratching his head wondering what was going on. Just then a great big dog came wandering in with a satisfied look on his face and a big glob of pipe dope on his nose!
The apprentice ran to the woman of the house to tell her the dog had eaten some pipe dope. She immediately called a veterinarian, while the worker called his office, which in turn contacted the manufacturer to find out what kind of chemicals were in the pipe dope.
It turned out that there was nothing harmful in it. The manufacturer recommended, however, that the lady follow the dog around with a bushel basket for about a day!
*"No, you idiot, you don't rod drains with THAT kind of snake!" A resident of an apartment building in Hamilton, Ontario, lost a pet boa constrictor when it escaped down his toilet. A month later it was discovered by a downstairs neighbor when the snake stuck its head out from her toilet. The horrified woman screamed, which apparently frightened the creature into retreating down the trap. It subsequently reappeared several times.
The toilet was removed and several attempts made to lure the snake out of the pipe by placing a dead rat in the bathroom, without success. "I can't handle this," the shook-up lady told a UPI reporter covering the story.
Word reached the Hamilton Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, who arranged to take pipe apart in the unit below trying to get at the pet snake. There they found it dead, apparently from suffocation or drowning.
Strangely, the terrified woman whose home became the boa's final resting place reacted with remorse. "I didn't want the snake dead," she said. "I hate snakes, but I wanted them to take him out alive."
Oh yeah? Hey, lady, if you hadn't scared the poor thing half to death with your screams, he might still be slithering! You'll have that on your conscience for the rest of your life.
Thanks to Plumbing & Mechanical magazine for sharing these tales.