Dogs aren’t typically the kinds of creatures you find in trees, but a pregnant Chihuahua in California was recently rescued from the hollow trunk of an oak.
A concerned resident had called Sonoma County Animal Services and reported that the pooch had been living in the tree for at least a week, but when Animal Control Officer Shirley Zindler arrived on the scene, she didn’t see the dog at first.
Zindler, author of "The Secret Life of Dog Catchers," investigated the tree and finally got on her stomach and shined her flashlight into the hollow trunk, where she saw “a pair of terrified eyes staring back.”
She tossed the dog some treats and tried to coax her out, but the frightened pup wouldn’t budge. Zindler worried for the Chihuahua’s safety.
None of the nearby residents were missing a dog, and, knowing the nearby road was a common dumping ground for unwanted pets, Zindler was determined to get the dog to safety.
“The coyotes and other hungry wild creatures nearby would also see the little dog as a meal if we didn’t get her soon,” she wrote on TheBark.com.
After several hours, Zindler finally got a hold of the dog.
“I reached in through the hole and she was so hungry that she finally started gobbling treats out of my hand,” she wrote.
The dog was only about 7 pounds and extremely underweight with visible ribs and hips. However, her belly was rounded because she was pregnant.
Zindler took the dog to the shelter, and another officer named the tiny Chihuahua "Boo" after Boo Radley, a character in “To Kill A Mockingbird” who leaves gifts in a tree.
A few days later, Boo went into labor and delivered a stillborn puppy. She then received emergency surgery, but unfortunately, none of the puppies survived.
Boo was still very frightened and distrustful, so Zindler took the dog home, where she'll stay there until she’s more comfortable around people and ready for adoption.
"Boo's progress is very slow but she's a little better each day. It's going to take a long time for her to overcome her lack of early handling, but dogs are social creatures and amazingly adaptable," Zindler said.
“Every tiny improvement or slight wag of the tail is a victory, and we will take all the time she needs to recover and find a forever home.”
For more updates on Boo, follow The Secret Life of Dog Catchers on Facebook.
Related on MNN: