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AMERICAN MORNING

Dog Rescue

Aired July 9, 2003 - 08:49   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Many say you could not tell by looking at her, but Phoenix, a 3-year-old hound dog, survived for almost three weeks without food and water, trapped under floorboards at an Oregon construction site. Phoenix was finally found last weekend, and one of her rescuers, Chris Nelson, is with us now from Grants Pass, Oregon, along with veterinarian Rebecca Hall, with the amazing story of Phoenix and that survival.
Great to have you here and good morning to all of you out there in the Pacific Northwest.

Chris, tell us so our viewers know right now, how did Phoenix get trapped anyway inside this building?

CHRIS NELSON: Well, what happened was she came in during the night, when our night security was there, she slipped in, and went through a partially floored building, and she must have fallen through the insulation. But she made no sounds whatsoever.

HEMMER: How do you think she went undetected for three weeks?

NELSON: Very, very, very quiet. I mean, the security guard who actually finally spotted her, heard what he called a pathetic little whimper. And when he went to check it out he saw her eyes through the vent into the floor.

HEMMER: Yes, Dr. Hall, what do you think of the treatment right now? How is Phoenix doing? What kind of condition?

DR. REBECCA HALL, VETERINARIAN: Phoenix is doing wonderfully well. When she came in on Saturday, she was very dehydrated. And she's obviously emaciated. But she's responding very well to the treatment that we're providing for her. And she's just got touch a tremendous strength and will to live. And I think that's what got her through.

HEMMER: What do you think about the fact, no food, no water, three weeks. What does that sound like to you?

HALL: I know. It's amazing that she made it through that. It really is.

HEMMER: Yes, how is she doing today in terms of eating, taking on water?

HALL: She's doing great. Her appetite's fabulous. She's drinking well. She's probably actually going to go home either this afternoon or tomorrow to her owners.

HEMMER: The owners have come forward, I understand. So that is a good sign.

HALL: Right.

HEMMER: Chris, I want to know about you and trying to coax Phoenix out of there. I understand it wasn't that easy. What happened?

NELSON: Well, when I dropped down through the hole that my stepfather had cut, I didn't really know what to expect. All I saw was what I thought was a greyhound in the corner. She was trying to run away. And so I tried food, throwing her some bits of food, she didn't want that. So when I was given a bowl of water and I started splashing it, it seemed to pique her attention. And so I just keep sliding it in front of me up to her. And she didn't seem to run after that. And then she started drinking, and that's when I put a sheet over her when she was done, and she just fell to her side. She knew she was getting out.

HEMMER: Well, job well done. She looks a little weak, doctor. Is she going to regain that strength?

HALL: She will. She will. She's getting stronger every day. And actually she was out playing this morning. We took her out to go to the bathroom. So she's doing much better.

HEMMER: Listen, thanks for sharing your story. Chris Nelson, great job with the rescue, and Dr. Rebecca Hall, the veterinarian out there in the state of Oregon. Thanks for sharing your story with us today. A good story there.

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