Rescuers pluck puppy from underground drain pipe

CLARKSDALE, Miss. — A puppy who got in over her head in a drainpipe was lucky to have some animal lovers nearby who moved earth — literally — to rescue her this weekend.

Workers at Coahoma Tires near Highway 61 in Clarksdale had been feeding a stray dog and her two puppies for a few months. But Friday, they noticed one puppy missing — and heard crying coming from under the sidewalk.

One of the puppies had somehow crawled into a drainpipe that ran under the street and couldn't get out. It was Friday evening and the pup could've been stuck there over the weekend if they didn't get her out fast.

That's when Clarksdale Animal Rescue Effort and Shelter, a nonprofit that runs the city's no-kill animal shelter, took action.

A board member got a backhoe to lift up a section of sidewalk, exposing the narrow pipe opening. But the puppy was still too far inside to reach and too scared to come out on her own.

Behind her, there was a 10-foot dropoff that led to a maze of other pipes, CARES staffer Mary Brock said.

Brock squirmed into the darkness and finally managed to grab hold of the 4-month-old brindle mix and bring her to the surface. She estimated the puppy had been stuck underground for about a day and a half.

The puppy, which has been named Piper, and her sibling Penny, are "snuggled up" at the CARES shelter in Clarksdale and available for adoption, Brock said. They took in Penny after she and her mama were found staring down into the pipe where they'd last seen Piper.

Brock said CARES is just one week away from moving from its old location, a former pool hall where most animals are kept outdoors, into a new space that is 15 times larger.