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Family on road trip rescues dog abandoned in Arizona desert

On their first day of a week-long trip, Kristina Munford and her family rescued a little puppy they found in the middle of nowhere in Arizona.

ARIZONA, USA — A quick stop to take a picture in the middle of Arizona’s desert turned into a life-saving journey for a family on a cross-country road trip.

Kristina Munford, her two siblings and her father had randomly decided to take a ride west, but on their first day of a week-long trip, they saved Canyon, a malnourished puppy they found hiding in bushes.

“We could hear skewering and skimping,” said Munford as the family had stopped on the side of the road for an impromptu photoshoot. “We were in the middle of nowhere, there was nothing for ever, but we kept seeing these beautiful formations and we were like ‘we will stop on the next one.’”

The family stopped near Elephant Feet Rocks, and as they took a group picture, they made the discovery.

“His face had a gash… kind of in the middle, he wasn’t really moving his back legs, we thought he was injured, but it turns out he was just exhausted,” Munford said. “I look at my dad and I go, ‘we can’t leave him out here, we [have to] take him with us.’”

The family welcomed the new passenger onboard and took him with them to their next stop—the Grand Canyon. Because of that, Munford named him Canyon.

The pup quickly bonded with the family, sleeping on their lap and gave them kisses as he rode in a car for the first time.

Credit: Kristina Munford

Canyon went with them to La Jolla, California and Munford’s family there took him in.

“I wanted to keep him, but we had just started our trip and hotels wouldn’t allows us to have him there, so he’s going to stay with our family,” Munford said. “They are going to foster him until they either fall in love with him and keep him themselves or find him a good home.”

Desert dogs

It was destiny they found Canyon, Munford believes.

They had pulled over in the middle of nowhere and luck would have it, they crossed paths with the puppy.

“Canyon is lucky, he was very lucky he was found,” said Katrina Karr, founder and president of Yavapai Humane Trappers, a volunteer local group that has been rescuing pets abandoned in the desert since 2016.

But since the start of the pandemic, Karr said the number of animals they are encountering or getting calls for has increased drastically.

“2021 has been the worst year that we have seen in decades,” Karr said. “It’s bad, sometimes we can’t keep up.”

A combination of issues, like packed shelters, spay and neutered clinics closing, and landlords not allowing pets has led to animals being dumped in the desert, Karr said.

“It’s been a rough year and 2022 isn’t any better,” she added. “Please volunteer, we need you, there is a lot of good you can do and so many little lives you can save.”

AZ had a long, fun, tiring day. He was to exhausted to wake up!

Posted by AZ Canyon on Wednesday, February 9, 2022

As for Canyon, he’s on to a better life. His new foster—or maybe permanent home— has a big back yard for him to play in, two fur-cousins to bond with and unlimited amounts of love to live a happy life.

“He’s safe! That’s the best part,” said Munford. “We love animals in our family, they’re innocent, and us humans should be appreciative of the loyalty these animals give us.”

If you’d like to follow Canyon’s journey, you can follow this page for daily updates.

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