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CBS News team covering the Morocco earthquake finds a tiny puppy alive in the rubble

Mules being used in Morocco quake recovery
Donkeys, mules being used in Morocco earthquake recovery in isolated areas 05:12

Marrakech — In the aftermath of Morocco's powerful earthquake, CBS News found life amid the rubble. While reporting in Talat N'Yaqoob, close to the epicenter of the devastating 6.8 magnitude quake that killed almost 3,000 people, we heard faint yelps coming from a pile of debris. 

Just beyond a heap of crumbled cinder block and ashes in Morocco's High Atlas Mountains, a tiny, dark-brown creature, about the size of a hamster appeared disoriented and was struggling to move. It turned out to be a puppy, so young its eyes were still sealed shut.

CBS News correspondent Chris Livesay holds a tiny puppy he and his team found amid earthquake rubble in Talat N'Yaqoob, in Morocco's High Atlas Mountains, Sept. 14, 2023.

He was completely exposed to the hot North African sun, with his mouth full of dirt, groping for his lost mother. There were no signs of her, any possible owners, or the rest of a litter. 

I carried him to the shade of our vehicle while my team members found some milk. A Moroccan aid worker even donated a baby bottle for us to try to feed him with.

We then drove about five hours back to Marrakech, down the same treacherous switchbacks prone to rockslides and traffic jams that have made the search and rescue efforts in the wake of the killer earthquake so challenging. 

We put him in a cardboard box to keep him safe, padded with a bath towel. But he ended up spending much of his time in our arms to keep warm. 

It was on these bumpy roads that the puppy found a permanent family. 

"I'd like to adopt him," said CBS News engineer Steve Argyll, in charge of handling communications for our team on the ground.  

"I think I'll name him Popty," he said. "It's short for the Welsh word for microwave. My partner and I have been wanting a dog for a while, and this is the name we'd been saving." 

From left, CBS News correspondent Chris Livesay takes a group selfie as engineer Steve Argyll holds Popty, with driver Ahmed, local journalist Omar Kabbadj, CBS News producer Anna Matranga and photographer Jay Coates, after they found the tiny puppy amid earthquake rubble in Talat N'Yaqoob, in Morocco's High Atlas Mountains, Sept. 14, 2023. CBS News

Upon arriving in Marrakech, we took Popty straight to a veterinarian. Fortunately, Popty was in perfect health.

But given how young the orphan pup is — born just a few days before the earthquake — he needs to be fed every three hours.

A veterinarian tries to bottle feed a tiny puppy found by a CBS News team amid earthquake rubble in Talat N'Yaqoob, in Morocco's High Atlas Mountains, at the vet's office in Marrakech, Sept. 14, 2023. CBS News

In the meantime, Argyll, the puppy's new father, will have to return to London. The vet offered to look after the puppy for the next several weeks while Argyll sorts out the paperwork to bring Popty from Morocco to his new home.

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