Graham Barrett was walking his dogs in late May in Richmond, British Columbia, when he came across a suitcase lying in a ravine. The suitcase was moving and he heard whining coming from inside.
Barrett tried to open the hard-shell case but couldn’t because it was double locked. He took the suitcase home and called the police to help him pry it apart. He thought there might be a wild animal like a raccoon trapped inside, but when the officers opened the case, they found a very adorable, and very scared, Poodle.
They immediately gave the dog food and water, then brought him to the Regional Animal Protection Society (RAPS). The rescued pup, who shelter employees named Donut because of his sweet personality, was traumatized, hungry and thirsty, but otherwise okay, says Eyal Lichtmann, CEO of RAPS.
The shelter’s in-house vets immediately tended to Donut, who they determined to be about 6 years old. Despite his ordeal, the pup had suffered no lasting physical harm, though he did display severe anxiety and a phobia of confined spaces like cages and cars.
The team estimated that Donut may have been trapped in the suitcase for up to six hours, which could have easily been fatal because he had been locked up on the hottest day of the year.
Donut’s Unknown Past
As soon as vets ensured Donut was okay, the shelter began an investigation into finding the person or people who abandoned him. The group launched a widespread social media campaign in the hopes that someone would reach out with more information and the British Columbia SPCA’s animal cruelty division also got involved, but no information has found to date and the motivation for Donut’s abandonment remains a mystery.
Donut’s case is especially odd because it seems like he came from a good home, Lichtmann says. Lichtmann fostered Donut while he was awaiting adoption, and the pup was friendly and got along well with his kids and other pets, suggesting that Donut had previously lived in a stable home environment.
Donut was also “very well groomed, which means someone spent money on him,” Lichtmann says. “It is surprising to me that someone has not come forward with any information,” he adds. “I still cannot speculate on how something like this could ever have happened.”
A Bright Future
Donut’s story very nearly ended in tragedy, but things turned around quickly for the sweet Poodle. Donut’s dramatic rescue made social media waves well beyond Canada, and RAPS, a no-kill shelter, was flooded with interest about the pup.
“There was a slew of applications,” Lichtmann says. “People were calling from all over the continent, from New York to San Francisco, wanting to adopt him.”
Happily, Donut recently found his forever home. At the request of his adopters, the shelter is keeping the identity of Donut’s new family confidential, but Lichtmann says Donut is headed to a “superb” family.
“He will live with a family where he will be accompanied at almost all times,” he says, “going to work with his new parents and being surrounded by love so that his separation anxieties are addressed.”
The shelter also honored Graham Barrett, the Good Samaritan who found Donut, with a special award and a $500 gift certificate for veterinary services at the organization’s new animal hospital, which will open in November.
Donut is now getting his final checkups and vaccinations as he prepares to travel to his forever home. And, in the meantime, he is still winning over hearts at the shelter and across the internet.
“You’ve got the friendliest dog in the world. He just loves cuddling, and he’s just sweet,” Lichtmann says. “[This is] a fantastic ending.”
Photos via: Regional Animal Protection Society
Lindsay Lowe is a freelance writer based in Boulder, Colorado. She also writes online for Parade magazine, TODAY.com, Men’s Health, and other publications.