Family Finds Box of Dead Puppies with One Survivor in California Desert, Survivor Up for Adoption

This family found a box of puppies tragically wilted in the hot desert sun, except for one plucky, resilient little guy.

A tiny black puppy found clinging to life in a cardboard box, abandoned in the middle of the desert and the lone survivor in a box full of his dead siblings, is now up for adoption. 

A Southern California family found the cardboard box as they were biking through the inland desert hills east of San Diego County last month, according to Helen Woodward Animal Center.

The family quickly rushed the puppy to their home for nourishment and shelter. They then called a local animal rescuer, who took the puppy to the Helen Woodward.

The Center says the box of puppies was abandoned near the bike track running through the desert, surrounded by dirt, dusty-green rocks and cacti blooms, about a month ago.

The puppies struggled to survive without food or water and most succumbed to the heat of the sun. The family named the box's sole survivor Rico. Rico weighed about 3.5 pounds at the time of his rescue, said the Center.

Rico, a tiny chihuahua terrier blend, now weighs just under five pounds. He’s a male, neutered puppy. Officials estimate he is about 3 months old; they describe him as very friendly and social.

Rico's health took a toll from being abandoned in the desert, vets said. Despite developing a respiratory infection, he is slowly gaining weight and recovering his strength.

More than a month after he was found abandoned in the wilderness, Rico is now up for adoption. 

If you would like to adopt Rico, you can learn about the process or make a donation to support him on Helen Woodward Animal Center's website.

Contact Us