Recently, a house in Southern California caught fire. The homeowners fled immediately, leaving a mama dog named Bailey, her new litter of puppies and a male dog behind.
Neighbors rushed in as the house filled with smoke to rescue the tiny family, but Bailey’s nerves and survival instincts caused her to bolt. The scared pup ran as quickly and as far away as she could from everyone she loved.
The neighbors then split their efforts between finding Bailey and rescuing her babies. Luckily, they were able to remove the puppies and their dad safely from the house, but Bailey was nowhere to be found.
A few days later, a woman from a nearby town visited an equestrian center not far from Bailey’s house. As she saddled up her horse, the woman noticed someone shivering in the corner of a stable. She went to investigate and found Bailey cowering in fear.
Before Bailey could run, the Good Samaritan snapped a picture of her and posted it online. That’s when she learned about the house fire.
“The people got out, but they didn’t try to save their dogs,” Suzette Hall, founder of Logan’s Legacy dog rescue, told The Dodo. “They didn’t even want them after the fire.”
Heartbroken, the woman wanted to scoop Bailey up and give her the love she so deserved, but Bailey was too fearful to let anyone get close. She’d run away at every attempt, so the woman called Hall for help.
Hall reached out to the neighbors who claimed to have Bailey’s puppies on her way to the stables. The experienced rescuer hoped that the sound of Bailey’s puppies would lure her into a trap, but, unfortunately, no one answered.
When she got there, Hall set up multiple humane traps around the equestrian center, but Bailey avoided all of them.
“We’re trying everything, but she won’t go into the trap. She would just go up to the trap and sit right by it,” Hall said. “As soon as she saw someone, she would run to another trap.”
Hours later, the neighbors who rescued Bailey’s babies showed up with the puppies and were eager to help.
“So I put the puppies inside a little crate and sat it behind the trap, and then I walked away,” Hall said. “The puppies started squealing, and she stopped. She stared and stared, then all of a sudden, she started running.”
Hall was used to seeing Bailey run — she’d been sprinting from trap to trap for hours already. But this time it was different.
“Never in my life have I seen a dog run so fast. It was like 0 to 60 in less than 10 seconds,” Hall said. “She was jumping up and down, but she wouldn’t go in the trap — she just wanted her puppies.”
As much as she wanted to be with her babies, Bailey was still too scared to let anyone get close. To help her feel more comfortable around people, Hall picked up one of the puppies and started cuddling him.
“I was holding him and kissing him, and he started making all of this noise,” Hall said. “So she started to come up to me and she realized, “OK, she’s holding my puppy … she’s safe.”
With Bailey finally close enough, Hall placed a slip lead over the dog’s neck and successfully trapped her once and for all. Hall had only ever seen Bailey act terrified, so the pup’s reaction to being saved surprised her.
“She jumped in my lap and started kissing me like she was thanking me,” Hall said. “We showed her all of her puppies, and she was so happy.”
Hall then took Bailey to her foster home on her own, where she was later reunited with her puppies and their dad. The mama dog’s reaction to being with her little family again was priceless.
“She was just smiling from ear to ear,” Hall said. “It was as if she was saying, ‘Thank you! Thank you!’”
Not long after their reunion, Bailey and her puppies were cleared for adoption. Three of her puppies were adopted first, then Bailey met her forever family.
“She had a meet and greet with this gentleman, and it was like he was already her dad … like he reminded her of someone,” Hall said. “She was instantly in love. And he loves her. They’re both so happy.”