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Phoenix: A Miracle Dog

The Early Show, dog, Chris Nelson is the rescuer, Dr. Rebecca Hall is the vet
CBS/The Early Show
From Oregon comes the amazing tale of a dog who survived for nearly three weeks, with no food, no water and trapped under floorboards at a construction site.

Finally, this past weekend, security guard Lance Lyndh heard a whimper. And several hours later, after rescuers crawled inside the small opening, the dog was set free. Because of all she'd been through, Chris Nelson, one of the rescuers, named her "Phoenix."

When he saw her, Nelson says on The Early Show, the dog looked like "skin and bones. I thought it was actually a greyhound when I first saw her, that's how skinny she was. And she was trying to run, so she still had energy."

Everyone from veterinarians to the rescuers is calling the dog's survival a miracle. Construction workers in a small Oregon town had finished installing floorboards for a senior center.

Nelson says, "It had originally burned down a couple months ago. We were just starting to rebuild it. It was probably three, four feet within the space from the floor to the cement to the floorboard. It was dark. It was very hot. Very little air was coming through the plastic vents. And there's black plastic-laying all over the floor."

As temperatures outside soared on occasion above 100 degrees, the dog was without food and water for nearly three weeks until she was found.

It took six more hours for police and firefighters to cut holes and for two employees of the construction company to coax the dog to safety. That only came after the workers crawled underneath with food and water and patiently waited to earn the dog's trust.

Nelson says, "I just laid down. I started talking to her. I had a bowl full of water. Talked to her really quietly. She came a little bit closer. So I slowly slid towards her and I was pushing the bowl of water, splashing it. She seemed to be interested in the water. So soon as I pushed it up to her she started drinking. That's when I took advantage, starting to pet her. She got used to me at that point."

So how was it that she survived?

Dr. Rebecca Hall, the vet who's been treating the 3-year-old hound dog says, "She's got a tremendous will and strength here. It's just amazing that she was able to withstand those conditions and look as good as she is now. We've just been providing her with nutritional support and high grains and she's really doing well."

Her name before this little adventure was "Buttercup". Rescuers re-named her "Phoenix," and the dog seems to have no problem with that, according to staff at the Pacific Veterinary Clinic.

Dr. Hall says, "She's one of the thinnest dogs I have ever seen when she was presented on Saturday here at the clinic."

Lots of people wanted to adopt the dog. But the dog's owner has come forward. Dr. Hall says, "She's going to spend a week with us here getting her strength back and then scheduled to go back with her owners"

Phoenix just seemed to smile on morning TV.