Dog has its day, posthumously
It’s been said that heroes come in all shapes and sizes, and judging by the actions of one brave puppy, it’s true.
South Shore resident John Rhodes was driving to work Dec. 15 when he noticed a tiny dog in the middle of Sawmill Road. He pulled over to make sure the puppy was OK. The animal started barking when Rhodes approached him, then trotted about 10 feet in front of him, stopped and barked again.
“He was the little runt. It was like he wanted me to follow him,” Rhodes said. “So I followed him to a group of huddled, shivering, shaking puppies. They sought refuge under a downed tree and branches about 30 yards off the road.”
Three small, male puppies were almost frozen in the snow.
“Obviously someone just left them there to die,” Rhodes said. “And out there, Sawmill is just full of coyotes.”
Late for a mandatory “class” at work, Rhodes set the puppies in a safe, dry place and reluctantly headed off, planning to come back as soon as he could.
“I called my wife and she went out three or four times but she couldn’t find them,” Rhodes said.
Unable to concentrate in his class, Rhodes told co-worker Sandy Lee about the event and the two took off together to find the puppies.
As they arrived at the spot off Sawmill Road, three El Dorado County deputies were already at the scene.
Rhodes and Lee arrived just in time to see the smallest puppy being carried off by a coyote, bloody and dead.
“I keep thinking maybe I could’ve done things differently,” Rhodes said. “But the thing that touched me so much was the little guy that saved them all. He wouldn’t let me touch him until he’d led me to the rest.”
According to Lee, she and Rhodes, along with his wife Tanya and the deputies, scurried frantically to gather the abandoned puppies.
“Somebody wanted those puppies to die and put them out there in the snow to die,” Lee said. “A sheriff was trying to gather the puppies and just then a coyote ran by with one in its mouth. Three survived, the three we caught.”
Ruthie Cecchettini, an El Dorado County animal control officer was also there to help. She took the dogs back to animal control and said they are doing OK, all things considered.
“They appear to be in fairly good health, just really frightened,” Cecchettini said. “They are really cute puppies. They look like some kind of setter/rottweiler mix. They’re black with tan highlights and a wavy coat. I think they’re about three months old.”
According to Cecchettini, there is probably not much that could be done legally if the people who abandoned the dogs were actually caught.
“It’s likely that a district attorney wouldn’t press charges, but I wish they would,” Cecchettini said. “I’m not out to get these people, but this is just so preventable. Spaying and neutering your pet makes it preventable.
“I don’t know why they wouldn’t have brought them here. Maybe some people think, ‘Oh they’ll just kill them at the pound,’ and that’s just not true. I just don’t know what the reasoning behind this is, but it isn’t the first time it’s happened and unfortunately it won’t be the last.”
The puppies will be held for four days at Animal Control and then put up for adoption.
“These three kids (puppies) are going to make some families very happy this Christmas,” Cecchettini said.
For information, call Cecchettini at (530) 577-1766.
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