Successful Rescue of Seven Newborn Puppies from Under an Arizona House

Ingenious puppy rescue on GoPro video
By Jonathan Wood, November 2020

In mid-October, a call came into the Arizona Humane Society’s (AHS) Emergency Dispatch in from someone who reported seeing free-roaming adult dogs entering and exiting a hole under an abandoned Phoenix house slated for demolition. When the two AHS Emergency Animal Medical Technicians™ (EAMTs), Theresa Scheckel and Dan McGrath, arrived on the scene, witnesses told them they believed the female dog had recently given birth, but that the puppies were nowhere to be found.

A video clip of the operation shows two malnourished adult dogs squeezing through a narrow gap between the building and the ground and excitedly responding to Scheckel and McGrath’s whistles and coaxing. The dogs seem people-friendly, and the female looks to be a nursing mother.

Scheckel and McGrath begin digging larger holes to gain access and search for the puppies. McGrath then slides under the house and discovers the puppies in a pile (as shown in the Go Pro footage) in the extremely narrow crawl space. Remaining under the house, McGrath places the puppies on a gurney, then slides them out to his partner, who carefully removes them and places them on the ground nearby.

Once out from under the building, the seven pups—so young that their eyes were still closed—and mother were reunited, and all the dogs (two adults and seven puppies) were taken to the Arizona Humane Society’s trauma hospital for medical exams.

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The puppies, five males and two females, appeared to be less than two weeks old. The mother, who seemed to be an approximately year-old Lab mix, had puncture wounds to her torso, likely from constantly entering the crawl space. Mother and puppies rested comfortably in AHS’s Mutternity Suites, an extension of its trauma hospital and a quiet space for pregnant and nursing mothers, then spent a few weeks in an AHS Foster Hero home. They are now ready for adoption (their sweet-natured mother, who’s been named Rose, has already found her forever family).

This mom and her pups are eight of more than 4,300 homeless pets that AHS EAMTs rescue each year. In total, AHS takes in nearly 18,000 of the Valley’s most vulnerable pets annually and cares for them in its trauma hospital and intensive care units. To learn more about AHS, please visit www.azhumane.org.