5 min read

Couple Sees Sealed-Up Box On Curbside — And Find The Saddest Thing Inside

They saw the box moving, and realized someone was trapped in there.

On Halloween morning, a couple from El Monte, California, found something scary on the side of the road. There was a cardboard box with a plastic garbage bag tied tightly around it — and it was moving.

“They live across the street from a church, and the box was just sitting on the curb in front of the church,” Piper Wood, founder of Hand in Paw, a California rescue group, told The Dodo. “It was unusual for garbage to be out there. They had noticed it yesterday, but they hadn’t noticed any movement. And then, they saw that the bag part of it was moving.”

Cardboard box covered in black plastic bag
Hand in Paw

The couple, Gloria and Guillermo Reyes, went to have a closer look, and they saw a dog’s snout poking through a hole in the cardboard, and trying to chew through the plastic.

They immediately ripped open the box, and found a scared, weak golden retriever puppy inside.

Golden retriever puppy
Dexter shortly after being rescued from the box | Hand in Paw

“They were shocked,” Wood said. “It’s hard to comprehend how someone can consciously take a puppy and leave it to die intentionally like that.”

The Reyeses alerted their relative, Berni Gutierrez, and Gutierrez contacted Wood and asked for her help.

Golden retriever puppy at vet
Hand in Paw

“I said, ‘Get the dog to the vet right now, and I will meet them there,’” Wood said.

At first, Wood was primarily concerned that the puppy, who’s about 8 weeks old, would have suffered from oxygen deprivation inside the box, especially since he’d been in there for at least 24 hours. While the puppy did seem feeble and sluggish, which could be the result of oxygen deprivation, the vet also discovered something else — the puppy had parvovirus, a disease that attacks and breaks down a dog's intestinal linings. Left untreated, parvo can be deadly — but fortunately, the puppy was now getting the help he needed.

Puppy in cage at vet office
Hand in Paw Rescue

“He’s very lethargic right now … but he does wag his tail and gives kisses,” Wood said. “You can tell that he’s going to be a really great dog, but he’s just not feeling well right now.”

Wood suspects that the puppy, now named Dexter, belonged to a backyard breeder. But when Dexter got sick, the breeder probably abandoned him instead of taking him to the vet.

Puppy being held in towel
Hand in Paw

“We see it all the time,” Wood said. “As soon as those dogs show any sign of illness, they get immediately tossed out. This is just very disturbing.”

Dexter may have had a rough start to life, but Wood will make sure that his future is bright. Once he’s better, Wood is determined to find him the best forever home.

Golden retriever puppy in towel
Hand in Paw

“We already have hundreds of adoption offers for him,” Wood said. “He’s a golden retriever, so he’s adorable.”

Wood is offering a $2,000 reward for information about who dumped the puppy in El Monte. If you have any leads, or would like to donate to help other dogs, you can contact Hand in Paw.