Puppies saved in daring rescue steal hearts on webcam

The Xavier puppies were rescued from a homeless man by Annie Hart and are recovering at Hart's Bill Foundation Dog Rescue. (Source: Annie Hart/The Bill Foundation)
The Xavier puppies were rescued from a homeless man by Annie Hart and are recovering at Hart's Bill Foundation Dog Rescue. (Source: Annie Hart/The Bill Foundation)

LOS ANGELES (RNN) – Members of a California animal rescue went the extra mile in rescuing puppies caught in a desperate situation last month.

Annie Hart, the executive director of the Bill Foundation Dog Rescue, a nonprofit animal rescue group, told the story of the night she and her cohorts chased a city bus to rescue four puppies from a homeless man on Dogster.com.

"This was our action movie rescue," Hart said.

Hart detailed the call she received from fellow animal advocate Samantha Haas - a homeless man getting on bus carrying four small animals in a Tupperware container. Hart said she, her husband and their dog followed the bus until she came in contact with the man.

Hart told the Huffington Post that Haas had seen the man close the lid on the puppies – their survival depended on an immediate rescue.

"I don't know who I am looking for, I just know what Sam told me. There was a homeless man, with a cart of sorts, and in the cart was a large plastic Tupperware tub with a lid. Inside it were four puppies," Hart wrote July 18 on Dogster.com.

After eventually using money to coax the homeless man to give up the dogs, Hart and her companions saved the small, malnourished puppies from harm.

"It is sort of ridiculous that it worked out. The young man could have said no; we could have given up; the bus driver could not have stopped - and this list goes on. These are all the 'what ifs' that haunt our lives," said Hart.

The puppies have been named the "Xavier family" – Luke, Logan, Raven and Elliot – after the heroes from the popular X-Men franchise.

"These cuties had a superhero rescue that felt so much like a Hollywood script, I felt they deserved to be named after some iconic superheroes," Hart said.

The runt of the litter, Luke, is in poor shape. Hart said veterinarians determined Thursday he has a liver shunt - a life threatening illness that hinders his body from filtering out toxins. He will be given the proper medicines to kickstart his health, and surgery will wait until he is a healthy size.

"The others are doing great and couldn't be healthier," Hart said.

Any procedures Luke will need will also be expensive, and donations would need to come from those who want to see he and his siblings have a chance at long and healthy lives.

The puppies have been featured on their own live stream webcam, available on UStream. The Bill Foundation also has been giving updates on rescues through its Facebook page and keeps fans, or villagers as Hart calls them, updated on the dogs on its YouTube page.

She said the webcam has been used to showcase many puppies that have come into the rescue and created a great awareness for rescued dogs.

"Our greatest goal is that more rescues will follow by running puppy cams, and ultimately even more awareness is raised to help the rescue community fight pet over-population," Hart said.

The puppies will be cared for by a foster parent and remain at the Bill Foundation until they are available for adoption at 12 weeks old. Hart said they have received a handful of adoption requests and hope to have many more in the next few weeks.

Hart has been with the Bill Foundation since 2012. She told the Huffington Post that rescuing animals saved her life.

"I still have fibromyalgia and a severe sleep disorder and must be careful how much I work," she told HuffPo. "I have some bad days when getting out of bed is not an option, but I also have really good days. Knowing that I have countless dogs depending on me means I need to take care of myself - if not for my own sake, for theirs."

The Bill Foundation Dog Rescue was founded 13 years ago by Jo and Peter Forman and has rescued more than 2,200 dogs. The dog rescue works with many others in Southern California, including the Los Angeles City shelter system.

"There is a lot of incredible advocacy happening out there and often they just need someone to take notice of it." Hart said. "There is no greater joy for me than assisting the community as whole to rise up and effect change everywhere."

Just a few weeks after the wild rescue, Hart said this is the craziest she's ever been a part of.

"This was certainly the most adrenaline-filled rescue to date," Hart said. "I had no idea I was capable of this kind of quick thinking and insane tactics, but apparently all the action movies my husband has made me watch over the years have taught me a thing or two."

For more information on how donations can be made to rescue dogs like the Xavier family, go to the Bill Foundation Dog Rescue website.

Follow me on Twitter @TanitaG_RNN.

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