Colorado Springs firefighters took a frantic call and raced off on a rescue mission to save a litter of puppies in peril. They had to act fast before weather changed. Little did these firefighters know that the puppies had a strange identity. Veterinary teams would make a sudden discovery that would result in the firefighters making a very unpopular decision.
A Strange Matter
The brave firefighters working at the Colorado Springs Fire Department had experienced many types of emergencies and calls. On a daily basis, fires, broken trees, and other freak accidents became quite commonplace. Even trapped animals and creatures wasn’t a new phenomenon, but something about this day would be entirely different and even strange.
The team never hesitated to run straight into duty without even blinking an eye, putting their personal fears and reservations aside. The same would go for when they received the dreaded call in March of 2018, but something would be very different this time, and none of them could have seen it coming.
The Dreaded Call
Given that March doesn’t exactly land in the middle of fire season and all the flammable lights and trees of the holiday season have been long torn down, it’s considered a more low-risk month in Colorado Springs in terms of wildfires and house fires, so the team weren’t expecting a high intensity kind of day.
Most of the firefighters were lounging around the station and expecting most of the month to be more of the same. However, everything would change with a very strange phone call. The panicked individual on the other end of the phone wasn’t exactly describing the blazing infernos that they were used to tackling.
Noise From The Sewers
It looked as if their next mission wasn’t going to feature any flames, but would concern something else entirely: creatures. When it comes to rescuing animals, the firefighters at the Colorado Springs Fire Department weren’t unfamiliar with the act. They were fully equipped and prepared when it came to saving a cat from a tree or rescuing a poodle from a burning building.
However, what this person was telling them over the phone was something they hadn’t yet encountered. Apparently, the caller was hearing yaps from inside of a sewer drain. When firefighters got to the scene, they had only some idea of what they might find — and in what condition.
Where Were They?
The firefighters arrived to where the caller had directed them, and the local immediately showed them where they had heard the yaps. The storm drain was deep and dark, and while firefighters heard the yaps of a little dog, they couldn’t see anything inside.
They knew for certain that it had to be a little dog making those yaps down there. The storm drain lid had openings that were big enough to slide a very small puppy through. After a few minutes looking in with a flashlight, they realized that they were getting nowhere. In order to find the yapping dog, they knew they’d have to get up close and personal.
Drain Pipe Puppies
The rescuers began putting their arm inside the storm drain to blindly grope around, feeling for the suspected dog. They pulled out a puppy. However, the yapping continued from inside the drain. As it turned out, what they were hearing wasn’t a single dog but an entire litter of puppies.
Before lifting them out, they had to smell the puppies for that newborn smell. They could tell by the scent if they were still being fed by the mother. Those traces of human smell on the puppies could result in their mother rejecting them. Yet the most astonishing thing about the situation wasn’t the puppies themselves, but something much worse.
Who Did It?
The firemen on the scene and the good Samaritan who called them couldn’t wrap their heads around the situation. Their area wasn’t known for stray dogs, so it wasn’t by chance that they were here. So who on Earth had the nerve to put a litter of puppies in a drain pipe? It’s nothing new that a litter of puppies would be a bit of responsibility, but during those early days the mother dog would handle most of the work.
And why not simply take the litter to the local shelter — what could possess someone to put them in the sewers? At the end of the day, the biggest danger with being in a drain pipe isn’t even the lack of sunshine or the low possibility of being found.
Pray The Rain Away
Rain isn’t exactly a rare occurrence in the month of March, especially not in Colorado Springs. If a storm were to strike, not only would these little puppies be colder and soaked through, but they’d likely be washed away by a rush of water.
It’s not a mystery that the water that rushes down your street curb ends up filling the neighborhood storm drains. What would that mean for the puppies? Firefighters and locals alike couldn’t phantom such a twisted individual living in their community. That said, as firefighters began the actual rescuing, they found themselves in for quite the handful.
One Puppy After Another
This wasn’t a litter of three or four puppies, but so much more. As the firefighter continued pulling the little wriggling animals out of the drain, there ended up being far more there than anyone had counted on. There were a whopping ten puppies in total, all stuck yapping for dear life in that drain.
The firefighter pulling them out laid down a white sheet and began placing puppy after puppy on it. The little darlings appeared to be black Labradors, one of the most beloved dog breeds on the adoption market. And while they all seemed to be in good health at the moment, they were missing something essential for their survival.
There was only so much a group of firemen could do for these little puppies. As the rescuer who was extricating them laid them on the sheet, it was clear that the pups had only just been born. They didn’t even seem to have their sense of sight yet.
At this point, a mother was essential to making sure these puppies would survive the night. If they had been rejected by their mother, they would instantly be at risk for medical conditions like hypothermia, dehydration, and hypoglycemia. Seeing as there was no mom in sight, they would try their luck at the Humane Society. While they weren’t dog moms, they had something that could help.
Helping To Rehabilitate
The average person would have no idea how to care for a small puppy straight out of its mom. After all, the task of raising puppies in their very early stages of development could be extremely time-consuming. Luckily, the folks at the Humane Society had a track record of plenty of experience rearing orphaned puppies.
The little animals needed to be checked out constantly, and they needed to be bottle-fed heated formula to bring their little bodies warmth. Humane Society workers would also need to help the little puppies use the restroom. As one of the vets was looking over the puppies, she made an incredibly illuminating discovery about this particularly lucky litter.
Though they may sometimes get more unusual species to treat, vets know dogs pretty much like they know the back of their hands. That said, it didn’t take long for one of the vets to realize that something was pretty strange about these Labrador puppies. After closer inspection, it was brought to light that these were indeed baby red foxes.
The firefighters couldn’t believe they had saved foxes. They didn’t even know how such a wild animal could have ended up in their area, as it was a bit far off from the woods that everyone would expect foxes to be in. However, according to one of the vets on hand who happened to be an expert in foxes, this wasn’t uncommon.
Foxes Are Survivors
While foxes may closely resemble our canine friends, they are completely different in many ways. Foxes don’t need human companionship to survive. They will assess almost any situation, adapt, and thrive. Whether it be desert terrain, a backdrop of forest, jagged mountains, frozen tundra, or your city streets, foxes will find a way to assimilate with ease.
Foxes may actually have more in common with your pet cat than they do any dog. They are active mostly at night, prefer to live a relatively solitary existence, walk on their toes, and pounce on unsuspecting prey. Plain and simple, foxes are survivors. With that said, what exactly were a pack of fox cubs doing down a storm drain?
Perfect Hiding Spot
Many people wondered why a litter of foxes would be found in a storm drain — and they found their answers pretty quickly. The story didn’t take long to catch the attention of fox expert Travis Sauder. He took to Colorado Springs’ local news station and explained that this was mating season for foxes.
Given the urban environment that continues to expand and encroach into nature, as well as the constantly-growing presence of people, the mother fox probably saw the storm drain as the perfect place to leave her cubs. With that, the firemen decided to do something that didn’t sit too well with the animal-loving masses.
Returning To The Storm Drain
While the Humane Society was ready to take over as mother for the cubs, the firefighters decided that there might be a better option for the young cubs. It was a decision that could possibly result in a more natural future for this lucky litter.
The firefighters opted to take the cubs and put them back into the storm drain where they were found. Before judging them too harshly, one has to think about how the fox mother would feel returning to the drain and finding her litter gone. Yet while the cubs were returned to the drain, they weren’t being completely left to the elements.
Keeping An Eye Out For The Litter
The Humane Society decided to not just leave the cubs to the possibility of no rain and a returning mother. What if they drowned, or what if mom didn’t in fact come back? The Humane Society decided they’d step aside while continuing to keep an eye on the fox litter to make sure that they had not become completely abandoned by their mother nor left to some bad weather.
If the mother fox would not return, they were prepared to step in and raise the foxes themselves at the Humane Society. That said, while these supposed Labrador puppies ended up being foxes in their natural environment, not every Labrador in a dangerous situation ends up being a safe fox in disguise. Firemen were again called, as one particular Lab found himself in a chilling scenario.
An Icy Predicament
In January 2010, another set of brave firefighters across the nation in Theresa, New York, received a call from a man in panic. He spotted a Labrador being swept away by some icy waters. Apparently the dog had gotten loose and began chasing some bird. That’s when the poor Lab slipped into a river and found himself unable to escape the chilly current.
Hearing this, the firefighters suited up as quickly as they could and delved into the freezing elements. They didn’t pay any mind to the harsh conditions, just wanting to rescue the dog before it was too late. When they arrived, their hearts nearly broke.
Diving After Him
The Theresa, New York firefighters wasted no time in rescuing the terrified dog. They tied a rope around one of the firefighters and he waded into the freezing, rushing water. All the while, the poor dog cried out and begged for someone to help him. Yet just before he lost any footing and would have been completely swept away, the firefighter managed to take the Labrador in his arms and lift him out of the river.
By the time the dog was in an ambulance and the team covered him in blankets, he looked a bit better, even as he shivered wildly. Things then took a turn for the worse: the poor dog became unresponsive. A vet stepped onto the scene and checked his pulse. And the prognosis did not look good.
Searching For a Heartbeat
As the veterinary team fought hard to save the life of the shivering Labrador and to keep him as warm as possible, the doctor searched for a heartbeat, but was unable to find anything for a nerve-wracking minute. Everyone was feeling on edge as they feverishly smothered the dog in blankets.
Then, as it seemed, the dog was given a second chance. Faintly from inside the dog’s chest, the doctor heard a heartbeat. However, the dog still had to fight through a case of hypothermia. Even if he recovered, he’d still be far from set for life. Nobody could have guessed what would happen next for the dog.
A Lab’s Second Chance
To the delight of the firemen, the Labrador managed to beat the freeze and return to his healthy and happy self. However, mystery still surrounded this dog. Nobody exactly knew where this dog had come from, and no particular owner stepped forward to claim him.
This alone could dictate whether this dog would have a happy future or one behind bars in the dog pound. Judging by the looks of him, it was clear he was not a dog meant to be in the slammer. The happy little dog was immediately put up for adoption. Just as it looked like he might find a new family, something astounding happened.
Finding His Clan
Before the rescue dog could be passed off to a new family, his family came forward to claim him. The mystery Labrador turned out to be named Charlie, and apparently, this industrious little pup was no stranger to trouble. As they told it, he’d broken out of a locked house and then managed to escape through the locked fence.
Charlie had been on quite a journey and now it was time to return home. That said, Charlie hadn’t seen the last of those firemen that saved him. He wouldn’t be falling into any more frozen rivers. However, he would now get plenty of visits from the brave men who saved his life.
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