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Near-death drop winds up saving dog's life

Weeks after Miracle May was discovered having been dropped by an eagle on a nursing home lawn, she's received life-saving surgeries and is on her way to her forever home.
/ Source: TODAY contributor

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.

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.”

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.

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 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.

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.

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.”