Norfolk City Employees Come Together to Rescue Puppy From Drain Pipe {PICS}

Employees from the Department of Public Works, Norfolk Fire-Rescue, Norfolk Police Department, and Animal Control worked together to rescue a puppy that was stuck in a drain pipe on Thursday (July 22).

The Norfolk Police Department shared a heartwarming picture of the rescue saying the “puppy is doing well, and getting much needed rest and love!”

via Norfolk Polic Department/Facebook

The Norfolk SPCA shared an update on the puppy’s condition Friday, July 23rd.

Wednesday morning, the desperate, fleeting, barely-audible cries of a scared and dying puppy arose from a storm drain in the Norfolk SPCA’s parking lot. This is the second time in just over 6 weeks that an abandoned puppy in need of urgent medical care was found on the property of our shelter.


Quick to arrive were the Norfolk Fire Department, Norfolk Police Department, an Officer from the Animal Protection Unit and a team from Norfolk Public Works Department. We are beyond grateful for their support and crucial collaboration in the rescue effort. A camera was used to determine the exact location of the puppy in the pipe, a back hoe maneuvered to move soil and gravel, and hand shovels helped to expose the section of pipe where the puppy was stuck. The crew bore a hole in the pipe and the puppy’s unresponsive body was finally pulled to safety.


Now close to 10:00AM, Jake knew that the puppy had likely been in the cold, wet drain for more than 10 hours and time was of the essence. Jake urgently rushed his pale and limp body inside to the Norfolk SPCA’s Veterinary Hospital.


Without a moment’s hesitation the puppy was scooped up by Licensed Veterinary Technician Eugenia Baryshnikova and she, with a team of Assistants, set to work to stabilize the fading puppy.


Veterinarian in Charge, Dr. Rita Hemmings called out instructions to her team from the adjacent surgery suite as she had her hands tied in a routine surgery for a shelter dog. It was nothing short of awe-inspiring to watch. These trained and experienced professionals had one goal – to save this puppy’s life.


The Norfolk SPCA Veterinary Team fondly named the little fighter Donatello, or “Donnie” after one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles—the cartoon characters who live in the sewers of New York.


Now safe and stable in our care, Dr. Hemmings shared her medical notes, giving us a glimpse into Donnie’s condition and his will to live:


“Donnie presented to the clinic covered in mud and silt, unresponsive, and hypothermic. The team quickly worked to stabilize him with glucose support, supplemental oxygen, heat support, and intravenous fluids. He was kept on oxygen therapy for almost an hour before becoming more responsive. Once his blood sugar and temperature improved, we were able to identify painful injuries to surface of both his eyes and began treating them. Several hours later, his temperature spiked to 105 degrees and cooling therapy was initiated. X-rays of his chest were suspicious for a developing infection from the inhaling silt and mud while trapped. Antibiotics were started as we closely monitored his breathing and gum color. After a few hours, his temperature normalized and he was breathing more comfortably. He has continued to improve throughout the night and will be closely monitored for a few days.


Although Donnie is an affectionate young man, it appears he has multiple congenital deformities including underdeveloped toes, curvature of his spine, misshapen ears, a significant under-bite, and some un-erupted baby teeth. Despite his spinal and foot deformities, he gets around very well and seems comfortable at this time. Due to his tooth abnormalities, it is difficult to accurately age him. Normal puppies begin to show adult incisors at approximately 12-16 weeks of age, but developmental abnormalities can delay normal tooth development. We suspect he is approximately 10 weeks at this time.”


Donnie is alive today because so many people cared.

Donnie didn’t give up and neither will we.

The HOPE Fund was established to raise the funds for extra diagnostics, specialty surgeries, and emergency medical care beyond what we can do in our small facility. If it were not for our community’s longstanding support we could not operate our Veterinary Hospital, which employs a team of 25 dedicated and compassionate professionals.

Please help us to continue to be there for the animals we all love. We want to give Donnie everything he needs to grow up healthy and loved, knowing that he is at a disadvantage. The heartbreak is real in these moments but we stand united in building a compassionate community and will continue our fight to prevent cruelty to animals.