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May the miracle dog was discovered after being picked up and dropped by an eagle.
TODAY contributor
updated 5/27/2011 11:22:08 AM ET 2011-05-27T15:22:08

There were no cats, but it appeared to be raining dogs in British Columbia on May 2, when a 6-year-old poodle fell from the sky. The high-flying pup had been caught by a large bird of prey with an inflated sense of strength — the 18-pound dog was able to struggle free, landing on the grounds of Shorncliffe Nursing Home in Sechelt, B.C. reports the National Post.

The dog, named May for the month in which she was turned in to the British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BC SPCA), had suffered deep wounds from the bird’s talons and broken ribs from the fall. However, the canine’s capture and subsequent escape very well might be the best thing that could have happened to her.

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Veterinarians quickly discovered that May had likely been a stray — her nails were overgrown and cutting into her pads, and her teeth were badly decayed. She had been in desperate need of help prior to her terrifying trip, but BC SPCA official Lorie Chortyk told the National Post, “Ironically, if it hadn’t been for this, we might never have found her.”

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Eagle Ridge Veterinary Hospital swooped in to lend a paw, getting May’s broken ribs and torn pads fixed right away. However, the poor pup wasn’t out of the woods yet, still requiring dental surgery that was estimated at more than $3500. Animal lovers familiar with May’s story quickly donated enough money to cover both dental surgeries May required.

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May's first dental surgery — which removed 28 teeth and part of her jaw, due to damage caused by excessive dental decay, was successful, Chortyk told TODAY.com. Her next operation will remove mammary tumors, and then, she'll find her forever home.

The BC SPCA had so much interest in adopting May that they stopped accepting applications so they could focus on choosing the perfect home from the wait list.

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Still, the whole ordeal brings up an important question for owners of small pets — how often does this happen?

Experts agree that it’s not a common issue. “Raptor attacks on dogs are relatively uncommon but not completely unheard of,” said Randy Hampton, Statewide Public Information Officer for the Colorado Division of Wildlife said. “Raptors will defend nest sites from animals and raptors that are hunting might consider taking a small dog. Birds of prey found in Colorado are unlikely to be able to carry anything over about seven pounds, so it would need to be a fairly small dog for the bird to successfully carry it away.”

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“We get several of those instances each year. People call us with reports of small cats and small dogs being watched by a hawk or owl, or a bird of prey picking up, or attempting to pick up, the pet. It’s rare, but it’s not an unheard of situation,” added Susan Carol Douglas of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

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That doesn't mean things won't change in the future.“Historically, raptors haven’t looked at dogs and cats as prey, but as humans move into their land, that can change to a degree. They have to adapt in order to stay alive,”  pointed out Lynn Cuny, Founder/CEO of Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation, Inc. in Kendalia, Texas.

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Still, don't scour the skies for feathered foes. “Yes, small animals should be watched carefully, but for many reasons,” Cuny said. “If you have a very small dog or an elderly cat, it’s especially important to protect them when they’re outdoors by being vigilant and providing them shelter.”

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Photos: Are you my mommy?

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  1. Wrinkly meets stripey

    "Are you my mommy?" Meet furry, four-legged moms who adopted, nursed and nurtured animals of completely different species.

    The first mom up is Cleopatra, a shar-pei who "adopted" two baby tigers in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia, on June 4, 2012. The tigers, whose mother refused to feed them, found an unusual wet nurse in the wrinkly, sand-colored dog. The cubs were born in late May in a zoo at the October health resort in Sochi. (Igor Okunin / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Squirrel learned to purr

    Emmy, a sweet-natured tortoiseshell mother cat, readily adopted Rocky, a baby squirrel who fell out of his nest, in September 2010. Rocky landed in the yard of Jim and Karen Watkins of Carthage, Miss., and they brought him to Emmy to see whether she would nurse him along with her new litter of three kittens. She accepted the squirrel right away, and Rocky did some quick adapting of his own: He learned how to purr just like a cat. (Caters News / ZUMApress.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Grrrrrrrrr-ateful

    Isabella, a golden retriever in Kansas who adopted three white Bengal tiger cubs and nursed them as her own. The tiger cubs -- Nasira, Anjika and Sidani -- needed somewhere to turn because their mother stopped nursing them 15 hours after their birth. Zookeepers Tom and Allie Harvey brought the cubs home, and their dog Isabella stepped right up. (Tom Harvey and Keith Philpott) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. She saved baby pig's bacon

    Katjinga, a Rhodesian ridgeback dog who lives on a 20-acre farm in Germany, adopted an abandoned pot-bellied piglet in August 2009. The tiny black piglet, named Paulinchen, had been so small at birth that her mother likely overlooked it. Katjinga's owner, Roland Adam, found the piglet alone and cold and brought it to his 8-year-old dog. "She loved the piglet at first sight and cares about it in the way she did for her own puppies," Adam said. "Days later she started lactating again and giving milk for the piggy. She obviously regards it now as her own baby." (Fame Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Not as nutty as it looks

    When the tree these baby squirrels called home was felled by a chain saw, Pixie the poodle was there to help. Pixie still had milk after giving birth to her first litter of puppies a few months earlier, and she accepted the three squirrels with no qualms in March 2010. She nursed the homeless squirrels for five weeks at her North Carolina home, and then an animal rehabilitation specialist continued raising them until they were ready to be released. (Ashley Steven Ayscue / The Daily Dispatch via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. A cat with no dog issues

    A Siamese cat named Amanda, owned by Debbie Girting of Beaver, Pa., is shown here nursing her two newborn kittens along with an orphaned litter of puppies in March 2010. Lucy, Girting's Maltese Pomeranian dog, gave birth to seven pups on March 7, and Amanda's kittens were born on the exact same day. Sadly, four days later, Lucy had a seizure and died. Amanda stepped right up and adopted the puppies as her own. (Lucy Schaly / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Instant love

    Laska the Alsatian immediately viewed it as her mission to nurture two tiny, abandoned wild boars who were close to death when they were found in Hamburg, Germany in March 2010. The baby boars -- dubbed Alice and Emma -- were brought to the home of the Heckers, Laska's owners. Because of their small size, baby boars can't stay warm enough alone at night to keep alive. Laska focused on snuggling up against them to keep them warm, cleaning them with her tongue and picking them up whenever they toppled over. To read more about Laska and the baby boars, visit PeoplePets.com. (Barcroft / Fame Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. I'm there for you

    Smaigel the cat nurses her kittens and four puppies at her owner Mohammad Al-Hamoury's house in Amman, Jordan in February 2009. Smaigel took it upon herself to care for the puppies after their mother died in a car accident. (Muhammad Hamed / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Got elk?

    The young elk pictured here was rescued from a flooding river by a farmer in South Korea in July 2009. This female dog eagerly adopted the elk and began breastfeeding and guarding him. (Inje Municipal Government / Hand / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. 'Mother instincts took over'

    Chia, a Pomeranian in Emporia, Kan., let four abandoned kittens nurse from her in August 2000. Chia, who had a 2-week-old puppy of her own at the time, adopted the motherless kittens after they were found by her owner's boyfriend. "Her mother instincts took over," owner Kelsey Wilson said. "She herded them and got them to nurse." (David Doemland / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. A gorilla's 'motherly instinct'

    Koko the gorilla has loved cuddling and nurturing kittens since 1984. Gorilla Foundation volunteer Janis Turner arranged to have a litter of orphaned kittens visit Koko in September 2009, and Koko became especially enamored with a tiny orange kitten named Tigger, pictured here. "Something fascinated her about Tigger," Turner told PeoplePets.com. "Koko purrs. I get chills just thinking about it. She does this deep purr and she's so gentle and has this loving looking in her eye. ... Kittens are so calm around Koko because she has that motherly instinct." Read more about Koko at PeoplePets.com. (Ron Cohn / The Gorilla Foundation / koko.org) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. That'll do, pig

    The "Happy Families" exhibits at the Sriracha Tiger Zoo in Thailand certainly aren't run-of-the-mill. They feature animal families of mixed species, including families of baby pigs adopted by tiger mothers and families of tiger cubs adopted by mother pigs. One such surrogate sow is pictured here in this April 2009 photo with her baby tiger cubs. (Barbara Walton / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Playful 'siblings'

    Tita, a cat who belongs to Ruben Gaviria, breastfeeds a squirrel as her kitten plays with it at Gaviria's house near Medellin, Colombia. Gaviria rescued the squirrel after it was found injured in a park in February 2010. (ALBEIRO LOPERA / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. She wanted to be a mom

    A lion tamarin monkey at the London Zoo is so known for her strong motherly instincts that zookeepers dubbed her "Maternal Juanita." And in the summer of 2010, Juanita found a way to make her dreams come true: She adopted a monkey of another species – a baby emperor tamarin. The surrogate mom began carrying her adopted baby around on her back. The publication LiveScience noted how "the emperor tamarin's grey body and white moustache stand out against its 'mother's' fiery orange mane." (The Zoological Society of London) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Another 'Happy Family'

    Three baby pigs rest next to their adoptive mother, Sai Mai, an 8-year-old tiger, at the Sriracha Tiger Zoo in Thailand in January 2010. Sai Mai nurses and cares for the piglets as if they were her own. (Sukree Sukplang / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Dads, this one's for you

    Many male animals have strong parental impulses, too. Take, for instance, this wild long-tailed macaque monkey in Bali, Indonesia. He stunned animal lovers around the world when he adopted an abandoned kitten and cared for it as his own. The monkey was spotted in a forest protectively nuzzling and grooming the ginger kitten, making sure no harm came to it. The extraordinary sight was captured by amateur photographer Anne Young while on a holiday to the Monkey Forest Park in Bali's Ubud region. (Anne Young / solentnews.co.uk) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. Image:
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    Above: Slideshow (16) Are you my mommy?
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  3. awkwardfamilypetphotos.com
    Slideshow (17) Awkward Family Pet Photos

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