BLIND, abandoned and down on his luck, Peppi had a close brush with a smelly fate but was miraculously rescued at the last moment by a guardian angel.
The 10-year-old poodle cross was pulled from the putrid waters of the South Lismore Sewage Treatment Plant by a volunteer from Animal Rights and Rescue last week, whose office is right next door to the plant.
Peppi had rolled down the hill surrounding the treatment ponds and wandered straight into the pooey pools.
Thankfully the brave volunteer, who wished to remain anonymous, happened to be walking past at the time.
Suzanne Lavis from the Animal Rights and Rescue Group witnessed the rescue and said it was indeed a gallant act.
"It (the dog) didn't have the strength to pull itself out of the pond," she said.
"We bolted; it was just throw everything up in the air and run.
"We actually had to break the tape on the gates of the sewage plant in order to get in. It was all in panic mode.
"We saw its head going under and so the volunteer jumped in.
"It's just that split second; you don't think twice, you just do it."
Concerned it had swallowed too much wastewater, the rescuers rushed the dog to the vet.
Fortunately the vet gave Peppi the all clear.
"He's one very lucky boy; someone was watching him that's for sure," Ms Lavis said.
"If the volunteer hadn't noticed, he would have drowned."
Surprisingly the abandoned Peppi appeared well cared for; he was recently clipped and in a healthy state.
"He doesn't look like he's been mistreated, just not wanted," Ms Lavis said.
The search is now on to find Peppi a special home.
"Because he's blind, at this stage he is very needy," she said.
Sasha needs saving too
ARRG volunteer Barbara Steffensen said a nine-week-old staffordshire-cross puppy was also dumped with Peppi, who they have named Sasha.
They're dubbed the "odd couple".
Mrs Steffensen said the Northern Rivers region was notorious for "neglect and bad treatment" of animals.
"This region has a high incidence of social dislocation, which leads to animal abuse or neglect," she said.
"If people are in crisis, it does make it hard for them to solve their pet problems. I guess they don't think properly."
The rescue group now puts a lot of effort into supporting people to keep their pets.
"Often we can help keep a pet in a home by giving people options," she said.
"Sometimes they only need someone to give them hope or a solution to help them through the crisis."
Mrs Steffensen urged people considering abandoning pets to "give us some time and then we can help".
"Otherwise it's just another animal in the pound on the kill list," she said.
"We're an animal welfare charity but every time we help a person, we're helping an animal."
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