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The Firefighters Thought They Rescued A Litter Of Puppies, But Then They Realized: They’re Not Puppies At All!

Firefighters And Puppies?

Firefighters do more than just put out fires. These modern day heroes act as personnel for emergency situations that arise in their communities. They lend a helping hand to different crises and are the first respondents to SOS calls.

When there are medical emergencies, these guys will be there in a blink. The same goes for situations regarding hazardous materials, building inspections and even rescue operations! It’s all in a day’s work for these firefighters.

No matter what the emergency may be, as long as they’ve got the necessary equipment, firefighters are on the job. Their help isn’t limited to human-related situations. Sometimes they need to rescue some non-humans who are in need of their help as well.

This was also the case for the Colorado Fire Department. Little did they know they were in for a big surprise!

Geared Up And Ready To Go

Equipment is an essential part of any firefighter’s job. Firefighters need to bring all the equipment they need whenever they respond to reports.

For the Colorado Springs Fire Department, they have 6 truck companies, 22 engine companies, 3 medical squads, a hazmat team and a HeavyHazmat team.

On top of that, they have equipment such as hose wagons, an air supply truck, brush trucks as well as a vehicle they use for the decontamination of hazardous materials.

On the fateful day of the puppy incident, the firefighters of the Colorado Spring Fire Department were just milling around, going about their daily tasks.

These firefighters were well-trained in the art of saving people but what they learned in their rescue assignment left them surprised. Can you guess what it is ?

The Call

Everything started with the Colorado Springs Fire Department receiving an emergency call. An animal was in need of saving, and being the professionals they are, the team immediately headed out to respond to the call.

Although they knew they were heading to an animal rescue mission, they had no idea of the surprise that was in store for them.

Necessary Planning

Saving animals isn’t just as easy as going there and picking them up. Firefighters take specific precautions before they respond to a situation like this.

This is due to the fact that the animal could be rabid and because all animals behave differently, it would be hard to predict whether or not one will bite or attack.

Animals often attack their helpers when they are distressed, like when they are in an emergency. In any case, firefighters take extra precautions, especially when dealing with animals during a rescue mission, which mostly involves strategic planning and a slow but steady approach. But every situation is different!

How Did They Feel About The Mission?

I bet you’re wondering if the firefighters of the Colorado Springs Fire Department were worried or nervous when they got the call. The answer is: No, they weren’t! According to the team, they’ve been on rescue missions hundreds of times in the past.

So, even if they didn’t know what they would be encountering, they were certain that they would know how to handle the situation when they get on site.

The Situation On-Site

After receiving the call, the team immediately got in their truck and made their way to the rescue site. When they got there, the team instantly recognized the situation at hand.

Not one animal, but a group of animals, supposedly puppies, were trapped under the grate of a storm drain. The Firefighters knew that Incoming water would probably seal their fate fairly quickly.

A Race Against Time

Without rain, the animals weren’t really in any immediate danger. However, the firefighters knew that they should get the animals out as soon as possible because they didn’t want to run the risk of being too late.

Even without water, it was also very cold down there, which means that smaller animals, especially younger ones like puppies, may not be able to survive. They needed to get the animals out, and they had to do it quickly.

The stormdrain where the animals were stuck in wasn’t deep, so the firefighters assumed that the animals stuck down there were small. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have fallen into the grate.

Sadly, even if the sewer wasn’t deep, the animals still couldn’t climb or jump out of the enclosure. Knowing this, the firefighters set out to execute their plan and the first step was to send a man or two down the sewer grate to get the pups out.

At First Sight

To access the puppies, the firefighters had to raise the storm grate. They immediately heard the lonely cries of the animals. At this point, they realized something very important.

They weren’t merely rescuing puppies, they were rescuing a whole litter of them! They were also still very small, with their eyes still closed, so only a few days old at most.

The firefighters still had no idea how they got there in the first place, but they knew that they had to get them out quickly, or they might not survive.

Something Wasn’t Right

While it made sense to get the animals out, there was still the question of “Why and how did the animals get stuck down there?” Did a person put them down there?

The team didn’t want to entertain that sad thought because if it truly was a person who did then surely they would have known that the puppies would drown immediately if it rained.

Was that the original plan of the perpetrator? It was dreadful to think about because the team couldn’t imagine what kind of sadistic person would let a litter of puppies drown on purpose.

But if it wasn’t a person, how would a fairly large animal like a dog get into a stormdrain, which is an unusual place to give birth to puppies anyway, especially in an urban area.

There was no adult animal in sight, so the team was completely in the dark about how the small animals ended up there.

Tough Choices

While part of the team was checking on the litter, the rest was trying to answer the question as to how the pups got stuck down there. After plotting the general layout of the sewer grate enclosure, they were thinking through different scenarios.

Was the mother of the pups nearby? If she was, the firefighters must have scared her off because of the amount of people and noise present at that time. Would it be possible to reunite pups and mother after taking them out of the stormdrain?

At first, the firefighters weren’t sure if the puppies were 100% okay, but after careful inspection, they concluded that they were in stable condition which was great news for everybody. They were probably in need of food, but none of the animals were in pain or immediate danger.

Proceeding with Caution

After the firefighters made sure that the litter was healthy, they were faced with a dilemma: What if their mother purposely left them there, and was just waiting for a chance to get back to them.

Bitches often leave their litter alone during the course of the day, to find food for themselves. But in this scenario, the location was dangerous and also very unusual. It was still unclear how their mother would even get to them, should she come back. So what should the firefighters do?

What would happen if they just left the babies down there? Would they survive? What if it started raining before their mother could get to them. Taking them out on the other hand would definitely mean taking them away, because they were too vulnerable to be just left out in the open.

Making a Choice

It was finally decided to get the babies out. If their mother wouldn’t come back soon, they wouldn’t stand a chance if they were left down there.

After preparing a sheet to put the animals in once they’ve rescued them, the team got them out of there, one by one. They were eight total. But the biggest surprise of the day was yet to come!

Spoiler alert!

If you want to find out the surprise now, and watch the video of the rescue, please click here! Keep on reading if you want to know the whole story.

Putting Together the Pieces

The team still didn’t know how the babies got stuck in the sewer grate, so they made it their main goal to find out what happened. Again, they didn’t want to believe that a human owner would leave these poor defenseless pups, so they called the person who initially made the call.

Surprisingly, the woman who called in said that it wasn’t done by a person. The puppies were actually swept away with the current of a moving stream and then fell into the storm drain.


When they found out that it wasn’t a human who left the puppies in the storm grate, the firefighters were greatly relieved. They weren’t happy about the situation the babies ended up in, but they just felt more assured knowing that it wasn’t the doing of a heartless human who might be doing this to other animals as well.

Quick To Act

The woman who saw the whole thing happen was clearly distraught by the situation. According to her, when she saw that the pups were about to fall into the drain, she immediately tried to stop it from happening but the puppies slipped away from her.

She tried to get them out but the grate was closed and she had no tools at hand to unlatch it. That’s why she called for help.

The Unspoken Hero

The firefighters on the job thanked the woman for quickly responding to the situation and for calling emergency services. She thanked them as well and brushed it off saying it was only the right thing to do.

And while that might be true, not everyone would do what she did. The sad truth is that there are people out there who would not have reacted at all.

Making A Guess

The initial rescue part of the mission was done. Now, the team had to find a good home for the puppies. To achieve this, the firefighters need to first find out what kind of dog these puppies are so they could have a detailed report.

In scrutinizing the pups, they noticed that they were all-black and had short, wiry hair and so the team thought the dogs were Labradors but boy, were they mistaken…..

Taking the Next Step

It was decided to bring the puppies to the Humane Society, a group that advocates against animal cruelty and helps find new homes for pets. Here, the pups got a professional assessment and check-up.

Some Good News

The vets at Human Society confirmed that the puppies were healthy and in good shape even after being left in the storm drain. Hearing this, the firefighters were very relieved and thought that this was the end of the story…… but was it ?

Staying Updated

Mark Jenkins, a fireman involved in the rescue mission, left his contact information with Human Society so he could check up on the puppies from time to time.

He was concerned about how the pups would turn out but he didn’t expect to get a call from the vets so soon. What he learned during the call took him by surprise.

The Missing Puzzle Piece

The swiftness of the return call worried Jenkins, but the vet reassured him that there wasn’t anything wrong with the puppies. But, there was one piece of the puzzle that the team missed out on. Can you guess what it was?

A Huge Surprise

According to the vets at Human Society, the puppies that the team rescued weren’t Labradors… they weren’t even dogs! Apparently, the baby animals the firefighters rescued were a whole other species! Mark couldn’t believe what he was hearing. What kind of creature did they save from the storm grate if they weren’t puppies?!

An Explanation

The vet broke the news to Mark that the puppies the team thought they rescued weren’t dogs, they’re FOXES! — Red Foxes, to be specific. We know what you’re thinking : Why are they black?! How are they even foxes?

According to the vet, it can be easy to mistake young red foxes for puppies when they’re babies because they look similar to certain dog breeds. Their name proves to be misleading too, since red foxes aren’t actually red, their furs just have an orange tint!

Doing The Right Thing

Mark enthusiastically shared this exciting news with his team and to say that everyone was surprised is an understatement. They couldn’t believe they just rescued a litter of baby foxes thinking they were puppies!

The team was glad to hear the news and felt that they did the right thing by saving the foxes from the storm drain.

A happy ending?

The team now had to explore their options about what to do with the foxes. They made a decision and brought the cubs to The Woodland Park Animal Clinic, an establishment that works towards the rehabilitation of wildlife animals.

The clinic specializes in caring for young wild animals and raising them in a safe but suitable environment. Many animals are later released back in to the wild. Caring for wild animals that grow up outside their natural habitat is not an easy task, as human care impedes their natural instinct.

We can only imagine that all of the foxes were released back into the wild and are grown up now, and perhaps even have their own litter of pups.

What do you think?

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