Workers surprised after discovering ‘puppy’ covered in mud

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It was just a normal day on the construction site for a team of workers in 2012. In the center of London, the team was working on building a new skyscraper to add to the picturesque city landscape in Canary Wharf. As the workers were digging and drilling away, one of the men heard a quiet cry over the loud noise of the machinery. The man yelled at everyone to stop working and he noticed that the sound was coming from a large dark hole nearby on the site. All work came to a halt as the men looked one by one down the deep and black construction hole.


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As they shined a light into the hole, they could barely make out what was inside deep below the ground. They saw a dark lump moving at the very bottom of the hole, and knew it was an animal in trouble. They quickly developed a rescue plan and began to carefully lift the creature out of the hole and brought it to the surface.

In front of their eyes was some sort of unknown animal. They tried to make out what it was but no one had any idea. They finally decided that the shape of the animal was like a puppy. The team assumed that the young dog had ran away from home and somehow into the hole. The creature was covered head to toe in a thick mud that had dried all over its fur and created some sort of shell. The group of construction workers knew they had no time to spare, and quickly drove the animal to the nearby South Essex Wildlife Hospital, a charity hospital that is dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating wildlife.

Once the puppy finally made it to the hospital, the staff informed the team of workers that what they had discovered and rescued was not a puppy after all.

Read on to find out what the “muddy puppy” really was!

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Unusual discovery

A group of construction workers found an animal, which they assumed was a puppy, all alone in the bottom of a ditch in London. Not sure what to do or if there was any hope, they did everything in their power to dig the poor animal out from the deep hole. Using tools from their work site, they were able to bring the animal to surface. They noticed that the creature’s fur was covered in mud and they realized they had to get further help.

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Brought to safety

As soon as they saw the horrible condition of the animal, the workers quickly drove what they thought was a young dog to the South Essex Wildlife Hospital. The hospital serves as a charity for animals in the county of Essex, not far from London. The organization was founded by Sue Schwar in 1995 and is a place where wild animals come after they are rescued and stay until they are fully recovered and ready to go back to their natural habitat.

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A place for rehabilitation

When the South Essex Wildlife Hospital first opened, it was the first and only wild animal rehabilitation center in the region. Today, it is still one of the largest of its kind, and has a mission to aid in the rescuing and rehabilitation of the large array of wildlife native to the region. The center accepts every kind of wildlife animal, from mammals, birds and even reptiles.

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Increase in demand

When Schwar first opened the center, she ran it entirely from her own house. She welcomed all sorts of different animals into her home until the demand began to increase. She was taking care of around 200 different animals at the same time and was struggling to find enough space. She knew that if she were to continue with her rescue center, she would have to find a more appropriate setting that could accommodate everyone.

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Not one animal left behind

The South Essex Wildlife Hospital now has its very own building, much larger than Schwar’s home. The spacious and well-equipped building has multiple veterinary staff members who are able to handle every single wild animal that enters the center’s doors. The rescue center prides itself in not denying treatment to a single animal. The volunteers and vets who work at the hospital work hard and long hours, making sure that every little critter gets the care he or she deserves.

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All over southern England

The organization receives animals from all over the southern England and some areas of London. People discover wild animals in urgent need of care and admit them to the hospital, who has made a very good reputation in the region. People tend to find the animals in the most incredible locations of southern England, one of the most peculiar destinations of wildlife discovery happened in 2012.

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Wildlife in the city

It was quite shocking where the construction workers found the young creature in 2012. They found him right in the middle of Canary Wharf, a part of London filled with businesses and tall skyscrapers. The area is known for its constant construction of new developments, and is no place for any kind of wildlife. So it was pretty surprising when the workers told the vets that their “puppy” came from the big city.

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Construction on halt

Given the lack of wildlife in the area, construction workers usually build without even thinking of harming or disturbing animals. As the group of construction workers were digging and drilling away at their site, they had no idea that they were only inches away from the trapped animal. They were just doing their jobs, as they usually do, until what they saw deep inside a hole made them stop everything.

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Crying noises

Right as the construction workers started digging at the site, one worker heard a strange noise coming from the hole. The worker told everyone to stop right away and listen, everyone heard the cries coming from the bottom of the dark hole. Not sure what they would find, they peered down into the hole and shined a light inside. They couldn’t quite make out what they saw, but spotted a small lump-like figure curled in a ball at the bottom of the hole.

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Shape of a puppy

The construction workers quickly realized that the lump they saw was slowly moving around. They took a closer look at the moving figure and realized that it was some kind of animal stuck at the bottom of the hole. Although they couldn’t really make sense of what they were looking at, they took a closer look and came to the conclusion that the animal they saw trapped inside was a small puppy dog.

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Rescue plan

The team of workers dropped all of their tools and quickly got together to plan the puppy’s rescue. The hole was covered in plastic and mud, and they had to be very careful of how they were going to get the puppy out without harming him even more. Furthermore, they had no clue how many hours or days the puppy had been stuck underground. They knew they had to get him out right away, and straight to medical help.

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Unable to identify

The workers carefully and gently lifted the creature from the hole. Once they saw the animal up close in broad daylight, they had no idea what the animal even was. Was it a puppy? Perhaps it was a bunny? The animal was so covered in the thick mud that it was impossible to recognize its features at all. They decided to call it a puppy only because they couldn’t think of any other alternative.

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No time to waste

The mud that covered the animal had nearly dried solid, creating a heavy and hard coat on the poor creature’s fur. The workers could see that the animal was in severe pain, and needed care of a medical specialist. They had a feeling that if they didn’t rush this animal to a nearby hospital as soon as possible, there was a big chance that it would not survive. As quickly as they could, they put the animal in their car and drove to the South Essex Wildlife Hospital.

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Baby fox from London

As soon as the workers entered the doors of the wildlife hospital, the animal was rushed to emergency care. The men were later notified that the helpless animal they discovered on their site wasn’t a lost puppy dog at all. In fact, they had saved a four-month-old baby red fox. The veterinary staff thanked the kind workers for rescuing the animal, and they got right to work on cleaning the little fox.

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In good hands

According to The Guardian, there are currently around 150,000 foxes roaming the city streets of the U.K. Wildlife hospitals and rescue centers in the region are very used to dealing with foxes as a result to their growing population in urban areas. The baby fox the team of construction workers saved was in the best hands possible. They were confident the little guy would be back to good health in no time.

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Urban foxes

The population of urban foxes in London is growing more and more by the year. They find their homes in gardens and the underground. They are now a quite common sight for the people of London and the residents have mixed feelings about it. While some people love spotting the cute creature, others are frightened and intimidated by them and think of them as no different than a city rat.

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Tough life in the city

Despite the large population of foxes throughout urban areas in the U.K., foxes who live in the city have a very short and difficult life. According to an article in LA Times, their average life span is only 18 months. Although foxes have the ability to live up to 10 years, urban foxes are often killed by dogs or hit by cars.

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Finally all clean

The vets at the hospital made cleaning the thick gunk of mud off the fox’s fur top priority. They scrubbed the fox for hours in a warm bath until pieces of the mud finally began to slip off. After the mud was gone entirely, the fox’s red fur was left spotless, soft and shiny. An adorable fluffy fox was finally revealed. The staff at the hospital named him appropriately, “Muddsey.”

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Muddsey’s saviors

Founder of the South Essex Wildlife Hospital, Sue Schwar, was grateful that the tiny fox came to their center when he did. According the the construction workers who saved him, the young animal was trapped without any way of escaping. If it weren’t for the brave kind workers, Muddsey probably wouldn’t have survived. Schwar thanked the men and gave them all of the credit for saving the baby fox’s life.

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Cold and in shock

Schwar told Daily Mail in 2012, “It would certainly have had a pretty awful death if it hadn’t been found.” She also spoke of the fox’s condition, “It was very cold and in shock, but is fine now. We felt very sorry for him because he was completely caked and was absolutely petrified.” Saving the young helpless fox reminded Schwar and her staff why they continue to do what they do.

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Trapped for days

Schwar went on to tell the newspaper that the length of time the fox was trapped underground is still unknown. “The builders were doing some ground work on the site and there were a couple of holes left open. None of us knew how long he had been down that hole. It could have been all weekend.” As a result, the fox was dehydrated, weak and hungry when he arrived to the hospital.

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Muddsey’s future

After Muddsey completed his rehabilitation, he was eventually brought back to his natural home in the forest. Do not worry, the young adorable fox will not be alone. He was released with his new friends, young foxes that were also recently rescued. This little fox will have a bright future ahead of him after all! Let’s hope he stays safe out there in the wild.

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Making a difference

According to the South Essex Wildlife Hospital, they continue to help thousands of birds and animals like Muddsey every year. The center promises that “no injured or sick animal is turned away.” The charity hospital relies entirely on donations, asking visitor’s on their website to donate whatever they can. “They wouldn’t be alive today without your help.” It says on their website, “Even a small sum will make a big difference.”

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Wildlife first aid training

The hospital does not only offer assistance to animals, but to people as well! The center holds weekly meeting and educational events in their own classroom. They also provide courses for those who want to be trained in wildlife rehabilitation and first aid. The course is taught by the founder of the center, Sue Schwar, who shares her many stories and real-life examples with her students. The course even includes practical hands-on experience.

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Saving wild animals

Unfortunately, not every animal is as lucky as Muddsey was. He most likely would have died if it wasn’t for the construction workers who came to his rescue. According to the RSPCA, 3 million wild mammals are shot or trapped each year in Britain and 15 million wild birds are shot. Also, a total of 1 million mammals are killed or wounded by cars. For those facts alone it is necessary that wildlife rescue centers such as the South Essex Wildlife Hospital exist and continue to exist, to keep wildlife alive.

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