Following a concerned phone call, rescuers from Animal Aid Unlimited made their way over to a very troubling scene. A nearby building had just crumbled to the ground, leaving a whimpering dog standing in the debris all by herself. Upon the workers’ arrival, though, she started to frantically dig through the wreckage.
Animal Aid Unlimited, or AAU, are no strangers to helping animals in need. The workers in India have been doing all they can for years now, building quite the reputation for themselves. But few cases during that time would’ve been more dramatic than this one. The desperation was clear for all to see.
Follow the cries
Thanks to the dog’s cries, the rescuers had no problem locating her among the building’s debris. She didn’t seem to be injured, which was good news. Yet her insistence in burrowing into the pile of dirt and bricks suggested that this rescue mission was far more serious than it first appeared.
If anyone could handle it, though, it was AAU. You couldn’t have asked for a better team! The organization’s rise in India has been quite the sight and as a result it has a significant presence today. It’s been a fascinating journey as well, which we’ll get into right now. Yes, the wheels were first set in motion nearly 30 years ago.
How it all started
Back in 1994 an American couple from Seattle, Washington, named Jim and Erika started to fly to India with their little girl Claire. It didn’t take long for them to develop a real affection for the South Asian nation, with one area in particular stealing their hearts. Yep, the family became smitten with Udaipur.
A big move
Such was their love for the place that Jim and Erika started to give serious consideration to staying in Udaipur for good. And in 1999 they finally made the jump with Claire by their side. The three of them quickly embraced their new surroundings but something rather troubling also caught their eye during that period.
Erika and Jim saw first-hand the sheer number of stray animals roaming the streets of Udaipur. Many of these creatures were clearly in rough shape, which led the couple to make a significant discovery. At that time, the Indian community didn’t have any shelters in place to aid the animals in question.
Opening the shelter
With that in mind, Jim and Erika decided to reach out to different animal agencies scattered across the globe. They wanted to know everything that went into running a shelter, ahead of a big moment during 2002. Yes, the pair opened up a place of their own. Its name? Animal Aid Unlimited.
As for what happened next, a post on AAU’s official website goes into more detail. It reads, “Within a few months, our 40 kennels and two small paddocks became filled with rescued dogs, donkeys, and cows. With no village phones, reports of animal problems reached us by word of mouth.”
“But with the arrival of cell phones and thanks to ads in the newspapers, leaflet drops in schools, and community groups, rescue requests multiplied,” the post continues. “More than ever before, the lives of animals in Udaipur were being saved.” That’s great to hear. How are things looking today, though?
Well, AAU boasts 100 workers now, with numerous overseas volunteers lending their help, too. Incredibly, up to 700 stray animals can be kept on the Udaipur site — and the eye-popping numbers don’t end there. Overall, it’s said that the organization saves over 15,000 wounded creatures annually. Wow!
Stray dog population
Mind you, while those figures are no doubt impressive, here’s something to remember. India’s street dog population is particularly massive. As per The Times of India, we’re talking in excess of 35 million here. Holy smokes. Life isn’t easy for a lot of those creatures — and AAU got a stark reminder of that when the rescuers arrived at the collapsed house.
At the same time, though, the AAU workers also caught sight of something pretty special that day. As we noted earlier, the panicked dog was clearly signaling for help — just not for herself. And while it doesn’t make this incident any less remarkable, situations like this have cropped up quite a bit down the years.
For instance, in the summer of 2021 a dog owner found herself in trouble in Bedfordshire, England. To shed a bit more light on the story, the county’s fire department took to Twitter. It stated, “This morning, Kempston and Bedford crews attended a call to Felmersham Bridge, to reports of a woman stuck in the river.”
“Ran back and forth”
“The lady’s dog, Rosie, had run into the river, so she went in to rescue her but got stuck in the river bank mud,” the department continued. “Her second dog, Twiggy, quickly ran off to get help. He ran back and forth from the river until people followed him to his owner to help.”
“Clever and amazing”
Incredible stuff, right? Talk about stepping up. The fire department then added, “We quickly mobilized to the location and the lady was soon rescued using water rescue equipment and water technicians. The lady was seen to by paramedics. What a clever and amazing dog!” We can’t argue with that assessment.
Say hello to Kelsey
And Twiggy isn’t alone on that front. You see, an even more stunning tale emerged out of Michigan at the start of 2017. Let’s set the scene. On New Year’s Eve a guy named Bob was relaxing in his house along with his beloved pooch Kelsey. To keep the place warm, he stepped out to grab some firewood. But then disaster struck.
A scary injury
As Bob jogged over to the wood pile, he took a horrible tumble to the ground that resulted in a broken neck. The Michigan resident couldn’t move, trying in vain to call for assistance. But his house wasn’t exactly close to the surrounding neighbors, so no one picked up on his cries. Kelsey did, though.
“Didn’t stop barking”
Looking back on that perilous period, Bob spoke to People magazine early in January 2017. “It was 10:30 p.m. but my Kelsey came,” he recalled. “By morning my voice was gone and I couldn’t yell for help, but Kelsey didn’t stop barking. She kept me warm and alert.”
“I knew I had to persevere through this and that it was my choice to stay alive,” Bob continued. “[Kelsey] was letting out this screeching howl that alerted my neighbor. He found me at 6:30 p.m. on New Year’s Day.” From there, he was quickly taken to a medical facility and regained the feeling in his limbs.
Back to the fallen house...
Unsurprisingly, Bob credited the dog for playing a huge role in saving his life. You certainly couldn’t question Kelsey’s love and devotion for her owner! So, that brings us back to the collapsed house in India. Was that female pooch also looking to get help for a stricken human? Well, let’s jump into it.
Filming the rescue
After receiving the phone call that alerted it to the situation, AAU decided to document what came next on camera. Yes, every moment was filmed. And we have to warn you — things get pretty intense and emotional here. You might need a box of tissues on standby! Ready? Okay then, folks.
On the move
The footage begins with the AAU rescue team walking along a busy street before taking a turn down a side alley. Eventually, they reach an old stone wall with an opening at the end. By this point, the dog’s desperate yelps and cries can be clearly heard in the distance.
Spotting the dog
The rescuers then step through the wall and enter a new space, approaching a large mound of rubble. This is definitely the spot. They carefully climb the debris, which leads them straight to the dog. She’s standing in a sunken area just below the group and immediately responds to their presence.
Yep, the beautiful creature’s tail starts to wag furiously when she spots the team, while also letting out a heartbreaking cry. One of the workers goes on to comfort her a little bit, ahead of moving down into the sunken area. The situation becomes a lot clearer then — the dog’s eager to get under the debris in the far corner.
Getting to work
So, the AAU worker immediately gets on it. He begins to lift some of the broken stones out of the corner, with the dog sitting by his feet. Her eyes are firmly locked on that area, before she sticks her snout into the guy’s hands. It almost looks like she’s trying to hurry him along!
The rescuer continues to move the rubble as the dog watches on intently, letting out a few more yelps. But no one could’ve predicted what would happen next. With less debris in the corner, she dives into the digging as well. Suddenly, it becomes a team effort between human and canine.
Doing everything she can
As the dog gets stuck in to the job, the AAU worker assists her, clearing out the bigger pieces of rubble. It’s a truly stunning sight. Yet the desperation on the animal’s part is made even clearer here. In addition to the digging, she’s biting into the ground, too. She’s doing everything in her power to shift the debris.
Leading the charge
At this stage, the focused pooch has well and truly taken the lead on the job. The rescuer’s standing back, noting the specific area she’s attacking. Whatever the dog’s looking for, it’s right there. But after a while, the worker pulls her away from the corner in an attempt to get stuck in himself.
Clearing the way
The dog shows a lot of reluctance at first but the worker’s actions make sense — more bricks and concrete are blocking the path. Once he clears them, though, she jumps back into the corner. Absolutely nothing’s stopping her at this point. Yet there are still no signs of what’s under the house.
A turning point?
Before long, the physical toll starts to show. Now, the guy and the dog appear to be taking turns shifting the debris, going deeper with every exertion. Surely they’re close? Eventually, he grabs the camera from his colleague and brings it down into a tight opening in the corner. He’s heard something!
The darkness makes it hard to see anything clearly down there but the camera picks up on the noise, too. It isn’t human — the sounds are actually coming from puppies! Yep, the dog’s desperation makes all the sense in the world now. She frantically wants to get her babies out of the wreckage.
On that note, the rescuer gets back to the task at hand with a renewed vigor and drive. He knows what he’s working towards. So, after moving even more debris out of the way, we finally get a clear glimpse of a puppy. The poor thing’s buried in dirt, with their concerned mom looking down into the hole.
Thankfully, the AAU rescuer manages to free the white puppy from the wreck, as he carefully brings it up to the dog’s snout. She showers her little baby with love and affection, before it gets handed over to another member of the team. They know the job isn’t finished yet.
A short while later, the guy pulls a second puppy out of the debris, which immediately starts to cry. Our hearts! The rescuer continues to search the space but can’t see any more down there. With that, their rescue mission comes to a close. The dog has her babies back — and she couldn’t look happier.
What comes next?
So, what’s next for this canine family? Well, after the dog feeds her babies, the rescuer carefully lifts the tiny pair up and moves away from the collapsed house. Their mom’s glued to his side, staring at the young ones in his hands. You don’t need to be Dr. Dolittle to tell how she’s feeling!
A new home
The AAU worker takes the three animals to a different property, which is just a short walk from their old place. The team plans to neuter the adult dog once her puppies move on to solid foods. Anyway, he gives the pooch a bit of fuss when they’ve settled in, as well as some snacks and water.
At that stage, the video comes to an end. Quite the ride, wouldn’t you agree? AAU went on to post the clip on its YouTube channel in August 2019. And the response was huge. At the time of writing, it’s earned more than 41 million views and close to 990,000 likes. Plus, it’s also generated nearly 50,000 comments.
The raw nature of the footage appeared to strike a chord with online users. Lots of comments praised the work of the AAU team, too, with a viewer writing, “I love that this rescuer was so patient with mom, even though she was in the way at times. His kind, gentle demeanor is a blessing. Thank you for him.”
Of all the other messages, though, one really stood out from the crowd. It summed everything up quite beautifully. The user wrote, “A mother’s love knows no boundaries whether it be human or not. God bless you for saving these precious babies.” After everything that happened, the online appreciation was very well-deserved.