Worker calls puppy rescue Christmas miracle

SAN FRANCISCO — Workers at a Recology recycling plant in San Francisco told KPIX 5 how they rescued a poodle puppy that was dumped into a garbage bag last week.

The five pound puppy, named Gem, was recuperating on Monday. Her wounds are healing, she is eating, and she is probably trying to forget her unbelievably close call with death.

Authorities said Gem had been put into a garbage bag, tossed into a debris box that holds construction material, and dumped at the Recology center.

“You can see, wood, metal, sheetrock, really heavy, rugged stuff. It’s really difficult to imagine how the dog survived the movement of this material,” said Robert Reed of Recology.

Gem also survived a giant bulldozer that loaded her and the debris onto a conveyer belt, through a machine that violently shakes everything, before being dumped onto the sorting belt.

Just 20 feet away from where the belt dumps debris down a chute, Gregory Foster saw the pup and pulled the switch to stop the line.

“My co-worker Jason climbed on top of the line, and at that time I could see like a puppy’s head sticking out the bag. And I could see it kind of move, like it was trying to climb out of the bag,” Foster told KPIX 5.

Arturo Pena initially thought the dog inside was a stuffed animal.

 

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Arturo Pena, Recology recycling plant worker
KPIX
 “I went outside and I found a box, and a perfectly folded blanket right next to it. And I just wrapped (Gem) up because it was all wet from being in the line for so long,” Pena said.

Pena cleaned up the dog’s wounds with alcohol. He then found some spare ribs, fried rice and a cut of pizza for the dog to eat.

After word of the rescue spread, the phones started ringing at San Francisco Animal Care and Control.

“We’re getting a lot of people calling, wanting to adopt her, foster, and offer donations for her care,” said Capt. Le-Ellis Brown of the agency. “We got, received over a hundred telephone calls this morning in a three-hour window span.”

Pena said he was feeling good about his role in the rescue. “It’s a miracle, it’s a Christmas miracle. That’s what it is,” he said.

Investigators are still trying to determine who owned Gem and who put the dog into the trash.

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