A dog trembling on a pile of rubble is overjoyed that someone has seen her

Donna Lochmann couldn’t discover who she was seeking for the first time she explored a deteriorating, abandoned apartment complex in St. Louis, Missouri. A concerned citizen contacted Stray Rescue of St. Louis (SRSL) to report a dog sighting, but Lochmann, the shelter’s chief life saving officer, returned empty-handed.

“We examined every floor and found nothing,” Lochmann explained in an interview. “There was nothing, not even a dog.”


With the temperature decreasing and fresh reports of a dog howling from within the structure, Lochmann decided to return and continue his search. She found someone this time.

“I observed a dog laying on the grass as I went to the backside of the structure,” Lochmann explained. “I saw her rush to the rear of the building, and she walked inside, so I followed her.”


Unfortunately, by the time Lochmann arrived inside, the dog had already vanished into one of the numerous unoccupied flats. Lochmann returned to the shelter and enlisted the assistance of other staff members when she was unable to locate the puppy on her own.

The next day, Lochmann and her crew returned to the building, and as they walked from room to room looking for the fearful dog, they heard barking from within.

“When I arrived there, there was a miserable dog laying in the ruins of this structure,” Lochmann explained. “She was completely trembling, her legs were shaking so violently.”


The temperature was chilly that day, but Lochmann recognized the dog’s trembling was more due to anxiety than a lack of warmth.

“I felt terrible for her,” Lochmann admitted. “It’s been a long time since I’ve seen one shake so hard, and it’s just heartbreaking to watch them that afraid of you.”

Lochmann chose to utilize a plastic cage instead of attempting to walk the dog out of the building on a leash. Not only would leading the puppy out of the falling structure on a leash be physically impossible, but Lochmann thought it would stress her out even more.

So Lochmann guided the dog inside the plastic box with the leash she had, then hastily shut the door behind her.

“She was quiet once she was in the container,” Lochmann added.

The rescue may be seen on video here:

Lochmann and her colleagues carefully took the package out of the building and stowed it into her Jeep. They returned her to the shelter, where she was evaluated medically. Fortunately, the puppy passed with flying colors.

The dog, which Lochmann called Habenero, was physically well, but she was scared when she arrived at the shelter.

“She was still terrified at first,” Lochmann said. “However, she warmed up immediately. She stopped snarling after a few days, and she stopped shivering when we talked to her.”


Habanero has now spent time at the refuge with Lochmann and her team, gradually acclimating to her surroundings. They take walks around the areas surrounding the shelter and enjoy lots of snuggles throughout the day.

Lochmann feels Habanero is now ready to move into a foster family now that she is feeling more at ease. It will be another adjustment for the 7-year-old dog, but Lochmann is convinced she will flourish.


“She’s going to have to adjust a little bit once she comes into a house,” Lochmann added. “However, she’ll do fantastically well. “I’m simply relieved she’s no longer trembling.”