A litter of five puppies are safe and sound after Canadian police officers spent more than two hours freeing them from an underground tunnel dug by the pups' mother.
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The news comes to us from Rivers, Manitoba, a rural community of about 1,200 people located 150 miles west of Winnipeg, Canada.
According to the CBC, the officers were responding to an unrelated call on a citizen's property, when one of the dogs, a female later dubbed "Pickles," emerged from the fox-like burrow and appeared to be both hungry and dehydrated.
The dog's mother, media reports added, had instinctively stashed them there to keep them safe from would-be predators.
Once alerted to their presence, the officers on site reached for shovels and started digging.
Thirteen feet of dirt later, the puppies — who appeared to be golden retrievers or labradors — were successfully unearthed from their hiding place and transported to the local humane society, where they were deemed healthy after routine checkups revealed no issues.
In an interview, the department's chief, Bob Futrell, had this to say about his officers' selfless, if unusual, act.
"It's just one of those scenarios where police officers get to do something out of the ordinary and something very positive, and make a difference in the life of a family and animals."
The puppies have since been relocated to foster homes (including that of one of the officers who participated in the dig), but they will be made available for adoption — along with mom — when they get a little older.
On social media, where the feel-good story quickly spread, commenters were quick to thank the cops who contributed to the rescue effort.
"Way to go rivers police...another great job done by a great group of ppl!," wrote one woman.
"Congrats to our police serving all of our residents, even the furry ones!," shared a second.
"Look at its face. LOOK," squeed another.
For its part, the shelter showered the officers with praise.
"The Brandon Humane Society would like to extend our deepest gratitude to Constable Britt Roque, Constable Brett Seib, and Auxiliary Cadet Jerra Green for rescuing the 5 three week old puppies from what would almost certainly have been a tragic end to their wee lives. Due to the care and compassion of these three officers, their lives will now have a very different outcome. We commend the Rivers Police Service for retaining the services of such caring and compassionate officers who go far beyond the call of duty."
As always, keep it locked to Cuteness.com for the latest and greatest in animal rescues. We'll be keeping tabs on this story and will update it if/when more information becomes available.