Ashley Blake and her training partner, Joshua Scott, were out on their usual run in the woods in Tennessee, USA.
Little did they know that on this particular day, things would be far different from the norm.
By the end of their run, Ashley and Josh would have saved no less than five little lives abandoned in the woods.
It was only last week that Ashley and Josh were out running in Frozen Head State Park, Tennessee.
But halfway through their run, and well into the middle of the forest, they were distracted by a faint noise. The sound seemed to come from somewhere fairly close to the track; a rustling of sorts.
Obviously, both Ashley and Josh stopped to investigate.
“It was just a little rustling that caught us,” Blake told The Dodo. “It’s usual to hear forest critters, and that’s what we expected. We turned and saw this black pile.”
When Ashley and Josh cautiously approached, they spotted what looked like a black pile. Then they realised what it was.
“It was five puppies huddled together,” Blake said. “It was close to freezing temperatures and they were trying to stay warm. As trail runners, you see a lot of wildlife, but never puppies.”
The pair immediately called for help. While they waited for aid, they comforted the puppies and tried to do their best to protect them from the cold.
“They were terrified and crying,” Blake said. “They settled down once they realized we weren’t going to harm them and we were warm.”
Fortunately, the puppies had found the heroes needed to save their lives.
Eventually, a ranger arrived to help. It soon became apparent that the puppies weren’t lost to the woods by mistake.
A track passes through the forest, not far from where the dogs were found. Sadly, it’s often used as a place for people to abandon unwanted pets.
“They were dumped without food, water, blanket or mother,” Blake said. “The park ranger said this isn’t the first time pups have been dumped at this spot.”
The ranger took the puppies to his car. They were now in safe hands, all because Ashley and Joshua had decided to check out the strange noise in the woods.
Without them doing so, the dogs would have most likely starved or frozen to death alone.
After the rescue, Ashley and Josh continued on their run, with the puppies being taken care of.
The dogs stayed at the ranger’s house overnight – the next day they were taken to an animal welfare organisation.
The two runners decided to visit the dogs, with Joshua opting to adopt one of them himself.
Barkley, as the dog has since been named, has found his home of love and care.
… but his siblings are also looking for their forever homes.
The four remaining pups will soon be available for adoption at the Oak Ridge Shelter in Tennessee.
Here’s to hoping Barkley and his brothers and sisters can live the long and happy lives they deserve – lives almost taken from them for good.
Thanks to Ashley, Joshua and the ranger, they’ve got the best possible chance.
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