It's a really good thing Dave Carlson looked in the dumpster before emptying it into his truck.
dog laying in a garbage dumpster
Credit: Courtesy of Dave Carlson

Dave Carlson was emptying dumpsters into his truck on the east side of Columbus, Ohio, earlier this month when he looked into a bin outside an apartment complex and "saw a face looking at me." 

It was a puppy, likely a pit bull mix of some kind, with a brown-and-white face laying next to a discarded Chewy delivery box. He was scared. 

"He did not like the noise of the truck," Carlson, a refuse operator with the Columbus Department of Public Service, tells Daily Paws. 

He had a good reason. The loud front-loading truck would have lifted the dumpster off the ground and emptied it into the truck's bed. The puppy, sitting on top of the garbage, likely wouldn't have survived. 

Carlson called for help, and Logan Sieg, a refuse collection supervisor, arrived at the apartments. From the back of a pickup truck, he entered the trash-filled bin and deployed his secret weapon. 

"I lured him in with some crackers and eventually picked him up," Sieg says. 

They brought him back to a public works station, where they got the dehydrated-looking pup some water and he consumed a few more peanut butter crackers—the only thing they had for him to eat. He seemed to be feeling better in the 10 or so minutes he spent there.

"It was almost like he was happy to be out running around," Sieg says. 

He was able to sit when Sieg asked, so the puppy had likely belonged to someone. Unfortunately, his placement in the dumpster indicated he was left there by a human. He's too small and the walls of the dumpster were too high for him to get there by himself. 

"It's just cruel and inhumane," Sieg says.

"He was definitely put there," Carlson adds.

Thanks to his rescuers, he was not only plucked from the dumpster. He's now on his way to a much happier life after the Franklin County Department of Animal Care and Control picked the 6-month-old dog up from the public works station.

Last week, the puppy—named Riley—was on his way to his new family, where he's doing "great," the Franklin County Dog Shelter wrote on Facebook.

"Together, we can make a big difference in the lives of those who cannot speak for themselves," the shelter said.