Yikes! That and a few other words were the first out of my mouth when I first saw where Coco was in the tree. This little ten-month-old Siamese girl had climbed all the way to the tip-top of the stem of a Sweetgum tree near her home in Walker, and that stem was too skinny for me to climb. I feared that I would not be able to reach her even with a 12-foot rescue pole. I climbed up the tree to the base of her stem without a clear rescue plan in my mind. I wanted simply to get up there and see how it looked and felt up close and then decide what to do.

When I reached the base of her stem which was about 55 feet high, I looked up at her and saw that she had already climbed down a foot or two but was still at least 15 feet away. When she saw me and heard me coaxing her down to me, she became motivated to give it a try. After spending two nights in the tree, she certainly did not want to stay there any longer. It was a tense and terrifying sight to see as she scrambled down that tiny stem while stepping on very tiny limbs and losing her grip and balance. Somehow she always managed to regain control, and that tiny powerhouse kept her grip and pulled herself upright with each and every slip and fall. She made what I thought were poor choices in where to go. At one point where the stem angled slightly, she tried to climb down the down-side of the stem instead of the up-side where it would be easier. Still, somehow, she managed to hang on while swinging her body wildly around in cartwheels until she was able to slide down to within my reach. I lifted her off the stem and held her in my arms while praising her courage and gymnastic skills.

Once in my arms and lap, Coco seemed to be having some second thoughts about trusting me, so I quickly put her in the bag while trying to keep her from escaping from me. After securing her in the bag, I brought her down and handed her over to her family.

Coco rescued herself, but she also rescued me, and I am forever grateful to her for that. I was not comfortable going much higher on that small stem, so she saved me from taking that risk. Thank you, Coco.

Be forewarned: if you are susceptible to a heart attack, do not watch the video. I find it tense and terrifying even when I know it ends well.