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Puppies stuck in cactus rescued outside Arizona home, ready for adoption

The dogs were found in the front-yard cactus garden of a Mesa woman's home. (KTVK)

MESA, Ariz. (KTVK) — One of the two puppies who were off to a “ruff” start this week after taking a tumble into some cactus in front of a Mesa home is now ready for adoption. Homeowner Thea Abel said her neighbor saw the pups in their prickly predicament and woke her up.

“I came running out with pliers, everything I could find to start pulling out [stickers],” Abel said. “But, they were covered.” Able said she stayed with the little dogs, who appear to be Chihuahua mixes, to try and help keep them calm while her neighbor rallied the troops in the form of Rural Metro Fire and Maricopa County Animal Care and Control.

Together, they were able to wrangle the puppies so they could be taken to get the medical care they needed. Rural Metro Fire Captain Shane Vargas shared his photos of the dogs exclusively with Arizona’s Family. “When we got there, they were just laying on their sides covered head to toe,” said firefighter, Daniel Shearer. “They literally could not even move. They were just sitting there shaking.”

By the time an Arizona’s Family photographer arrived on the scene, both pups were already in the back of a county truck. The puppies were wrapped in a red towel and had some of the cactus needles removed, but they still have a long way to go. “We ended up getting most of it out of their feet and legs, so they were comfortable enough to walk,” said Shearer. “We got the really big chunks that were pretty stuck. We got the worst of it out.”

The chollas the dogs were tangled with are native to the Southwest and have “wicked spines with a nasty habit of getting stuck in the skin,” according to Removing cholla spines is more complicated than removing one that is straighter and thicker. Cholla spines tend to be barbed and tenacious — and there are many of them, which means the dogs are going to require medical assistance.

Abel said she has no idea to whom the dogs belong, explaining that she had not seen any “lost dog” notifications recently. Maricopa County Animal Care and Control has the dogs at its East Valley shelter and says they are recovering. The two dogs were not microchipped.

One of the puppies is now ready for adoption and the other is still being monitored. MCACC would like to keep the puppies together if possible as they are bonded buds.

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