Lifestyle & Human Interest

Firefighters Rescue 8 Labrador Puppies from Storm Drain. Soon Discover They Weren't Actually Dogs


Rescuing baby animals is tough work. Usually, the small creatures are stuck in a tree or in the bushes, or sometimes even a mom is seen wandering and someone has to actively search for where she left her babies.

One pilot even saved a baby chimp from poachers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and flew him to safety on his lap.

But firefighters, in particular, are known for their work saving animals of all kinds.

So, it was not surprising when a group of firefighters rescued eight black-colored pups from a storm drain.

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According to Fire Captain Brian Vaughan, the rescuers thought that they had saved a litter of newborn black Labrador puppies who had been left by their owner.

After 20 minutes, each “dog” was pulled out of the storm drain and taken to the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region.

It was there that they realized that their puppies were actually baby red foxes.

“They took them (to the shelter) and actually one of the vets in that location said, ‘No, these aren’t Labradors, these are foxes,'” Vaughan said. “(The firefighter) was just in shock.”

Foxes, according to the fire captain, are very common in the area near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

Travis Sauder, Colorado Parks and Wildlife District Manager, told CBS4 that he was not surprised that the firefighters came across a litter of fox kits because animals are starting to reproduce in the springtime.

“This time of year there are a lot of animals that are starting to have their young, and they have them in small dens that are places that we can encounter when we’re recreating in the outdoors like we like to do.”

He added that they will take the foxes back to the storm drain in hopes that the mom will come back to take care of them.

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“These animals are going to be put back where we found them hoping that the mother is still in the area and can pick up the normal duties like she would,” Sauder said. “If the mom’s not around anymore we can take them to a licensed re-hab.”

Mix-ups like this one can happen, and it is usually better to call an expert to identify the animal before displacing it from its home, no matter how good your intentions are.

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith