Pup Goes With The Flow To Safety

A week-old stray puppy was the center of a lot of attention last Saturday when it wandered into a sewer pipe in Houston, Texas. The puppy's cries could be heard as volunteer firefighters made several attempts to get the puppy out.

Six hours later. firefighters figured out a unique way to safely rescue the puppy and reunite it with eight brothers and sisters.

Scott Wernick of the Houston Society For The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals tells The Early Show co-anchor Rene Syler a neighbor heard a puppy crying and called rescuers. A driver had abandoned a dog in their neighborhood but none of the neighbors realized the dog was pregnant until it gave birth to nine puppies.

Wernick advised the neighbor to call the police and have the police call the people who control the water. When he arrived at the scene, the Channelview and Sheldon Volunteer Fire Departments were already hard at work trying to get the puppy out of the sewer pipe behind the house.

Wernick says the puppy had "gone approximately 22 feet under the house. They were trying to go into the back with a plumber's snake and that wasn't working well. What they did was remove the toilet and put the hose basically up to the toilet hose and shot water and she shot out from the back of that house like a little rocket."

Wernick explained further, "They got an air-tight seal around the hole where the toilet sits on top of and put the water hose on there, and bumped the water hose just a little bit. It was such a tight seal that she blasted out from behind the house. She came flying out from behind that house."

The puppy was not hurt at all, just a little bit cold, he says, holding the dog, which was as big as his hand. "She is actually the runt of the litter, so she was a little smaller than everybody else but that wasn't from the six-hour ordeal," he says.

Quickly, the puppy was heated up and brought to the Houston SPCA to be taken care of. The young pup eventually was named "Piper."

The SPCA also brought Piper's sisters and brothers along and has plans to find the mother and reunite her with her puppies. Once the puppies are old enough and weaned, they will be offered for adoption.

Wernick says, "We've actually got a momma dog that's lactating so Piper is lucky enough to nurse on one of our animals here. We're going to try to catch her mother and in the meantime foster her and keep her with the golden retriever that we have. We'll foster her out and raise her until her eyes are open. When she's older, we'll adopt her out."

Wernick offered thanks to the the firefighters who worked so hard to get Piper out. He says, "The Sheldon Fire Department and Channelview Fire Department were outstanding. We wouldn't be able to do our job without help from guys like that. They were wonderful."

The mission of the Houston SPCA is to promote respect for all animals and free them from suffering and abuse. The Houston SPCA is an open-door animal shelter that accepts animals in need. No animal is turned away due to species, size, or health. The doors of the Houston SPCA are open to domestic, livestock, exotic and wild animals.

In the year 2003, the Houston SPCA received nearly 48,000 animals.
In the year 2002, the Houston SPCA received nearly 40,000 animals: 7,767 dogs; 7,889 puppies; 8,427 cats; 10,497 kittens; 655 rabbits, hamsters, ferrets, gerbils and other small domestic companion animals; 191 livestock animals; and 1,643 wildlife animals.

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