Chantel Brink
Chantel Brink
December 13, 2023 ·  3 min read

Firemen Thought They Saved 8 Labrador Pups, But They Turned Out to Be Something Completely Different

Rescuing animals can prove to be both difficult and extremely stressful. Sometimes the animal in question is stuck in an awkward place. Often it could be a tree, sometimes a thorny bush. In the very worst cases, baby animals have somehow gotten away from their mothers and end up in extremely tight spaces. This story which occurred in 2018, is one of those – a scary discovery that ended in a heartwarming result.

In these awkward situations, persistent, precise, and careful people are needed

Perhaps that’s often why firefighters do so well when it comes to helping trapped animals. In 2018, fire captain Brian Vaughan received an alarm call and immediately understood the need for urgency. Eight tiny, black-colored dog pups had been found stuck in a drain well. Those who made the call believed that a litter of black Labrador pups had been abandoned in the pipe by their owners.

20 minutes after the fire brigade arrived, all of the animals had been successfully pulled from the drain. They appeared unharmed and were subsequently taken to the Humane Rescue Organization in the Pikes Peak Region.

The tiny 'puppies' that were pulled from a drain in Colorado Springs
Image Credit: Colorado Springs Fire Department

Read: Hero Dog Rushed Through a Burning House to Rescue His Tiny Kitten Friend

It was only then that people realized they hadn’t saved any dog puppies at all

The black pups had become a bundle of red. “One of the vets at the place said: ‘No, these are not Labradors. They’re foxes,’” Vaughan explained to CBS in Denver. Foxes were extremely common in the areas surrounding the Rocky Mountains, which is exactly where this litter was found.

Travis Sauder, Colorado Parks and Wildlife District Manager, told CBS4 that he was not surprised that the call was placed to the firemen. Nor that the foxes were found in the first place. “This time of year, there were a lot of animals that were starting to have their young, and they had them in small dens that were places that we could encounter when we were recreating in the outdoors like we liked to do,” Sauder said.

According to Sauder, the foxes were to be taken back to the pipe, in the hope that their mother would return to take care of them. “These animals were going to be put back where we found them hoping that the mother was still in the area and could pick up the normal duties like she would. If the mom’s not around anymore, we can take them to a licensed rehab,” Sauder said.

Comments poured in

Bring them up healthy and place them back in the wild. They have no less rights to live than dogs do” one commented. “Momma must be missing her babies.” Another said. “I had a similar experience in my home attic – found a couple of baby animals under a floor tile. I thought they were rats, but fed them milk anyway. A few days later, took them to a pet shop and left them there. They rang me back, maybe a week later, and told me they were baby squirrels.” A third commented.

Misunderstandings involving wildlife like this were not uncommon, so it was always better to call an expert to identify the animal in question before trying to act yourself. Sadly, good intentions could sometimes make things worse for wild animals in cases such as this one.


  1. Puppies ‘Rescued’ From Storm Drain Turn Out To Be Foxes.” CBS News. March 16, 2018
  2. Twitter. @CBSNewsColorado.