When Lisa Chiarelli’s phone lit up with a picture of a puppy and an impassioned plea for help, her heart instantly dropped. As the founder of Frankie Lola and Friends dog rescue, Chiarelli’s used to getting messages about dogs in all kinds of situations, but this case was different — the puppy was found alone in Tijuana, Mexico, and living in a cardboard box.
Without hesitation, Chiarelli agreed to rescue the puppy. She spent the rest of the night planning his freedom ride but woke up the next morning to a shocking update.
“The next day, she said there were more,” Chiarelli told The Dodo. “All of a sudden, instead of one puppy, it was a box of puppies.”
To Chiarelli’s surprise, the singleton puppy wasn’t alone after all. He was accompanied by four littermates, and they all clearly needed help. Chiarelli was determined to save the entire little family.
A volunteer transported the box of puppies from Mexico to Chiarell’s rescue in Southern California and, once they got there, Chiarelli was happy to finally have the puppies safe in her arms. But she could tell right away that they had a long road to recovery ahead of them.
“The puppies were so tiny and so malnourished,” Chiarelli said. “They were only 7 to 8 weeks old.”
Chiarelli’s vet team jumped immediately into action to help the puppies recuperate. On top of round-the-clock medicine, the puppies were given consistent cuddles by everyone at the clinic, and, before long, they started to thrive.
“With love, medicine and trust, they improved so much,” Chiarelli said. “They started eating like crazy, gaining weight and playing a lot.”
In just three weeks’ time, the puppies all doubled in size. Soon, they were all healthy, and finally ready to live the carefree puppy life.
As soon as they were given a clean bill of health, the puppies were placed into foster homes. So far, only one puppy has been adopted by a forever family, but Chiarelli’s hopeful that the other four will get their happily-ever-afters, too.
For now, the remaining puppies will continue to learn and grow with the help of their loving foster families. They might be tiny survivors, but they’re not thinking about their past anymore — they’re focusing on making new, amazing memories instead.
And, as Chiarelli sees it, the best is yet to come.