HOLMBERG: ‘Swamp Man’ the high-climbing cat rescuer

Posted at 11:05 PM, May 08, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-11 06:41:48-04

WAVERLY, Va. -- Destiny Buhls and her little sister were missing their cat, Socks.

“Six days,” Destiny said. “One night I was walking down here and I heard it crying. And I came back the next morning and looked up and there he was.”

“There” was up a tree in a yard on Coppahaunk Road, a half mile or so from their house in Waverly, Va.  But it wasn’t a little, cat-friendly tree, but a vast, 100-year-old willow oak, its lowest branches almost as tall as the two-story home beside it.

What could these cat-loving girls do?

Swamp Man to the rescue.

Swamp Man -- aka Brian Carr -- is a local legend of sorts.

Why is he called Swamp Man?

“Because I live in a swamp,” he replied.

He’s a skydiver and a tree-worker who started climbing young, clearing power lines. When skydivers find their expensive parachutes snagged high in the trees, who do they call?

Swamp Man.

When scary-tall trees need to be limbed, who do they call?

Swamp Man.

But he charges for those services.


“I do cats for free,” he said. “Cause I’m an animal-lover. I’ve got five of my own.”

He’s also got a style of his own.

We all watched in amazement as Swamp Man scurried up the giant oak, grabbed Socks and slid him deftly into a colorful pillowcase and then lowered him quickly but gently into Dentiny’s waiting arms.

He then rappelled 45 feet to the ground in the time it takes to read this sentence -- just as smooth as cat’s nose.

He accepted the girls’ thanks and hugs with a tip of his cap and, “You’re welcome very much. Any time.”

And then he was off his Ford Super Duty pickup truck wearing the plates “IGOJUMP.”

Yup. Swamp Man.

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