Tens of thousands of tons of trash is picked up from recycling trucks in Montgomery County each year. Those trucks are jammed with cardboard, pizza boxes, egg cartons and other debris headed to the recycling center in Derwood to be unloaded and sorted. But on Monday morning, workers there made an amazing discovery.
Among all of the paper products which had been smashed together, a tiny Chihuahua was found alive. For the most part, he was unharmed as he stared up at them.
It is not clear whether there was animal cruelty involved and someone threw him out like trash or if he wandered into a dumpster or recycling bin on his own. But it is a miracle he survived.
Mark Wheeler, an operations manager for the Montgomery County Recycling Center, said he heard the chatter about a dog on the floor over his radio. He went down to investigate and saw the pup appearing malnourished.
Wheeler brought him to the veterinarian himself and it turns out the dog weighed just over six pounds. He said he instantly became attached.
"He looked fine," said Wheeler. "He had a little cut on his nose and that was about it. When you hold him, he wasn't acting like he was hurt in any way. No broken bone."
Wheeler said they were unsure of what to do with the dog, but there was discussion of sending him to a rescue. But Wheeler decided to call his wife first.
"I told her the story and without hesitating, she said, 'Bring him home.'"
The dog did not have a microchip and was underweight. But it just happened that Wheeler's wife is a veterinary nutrition consultant.
They decided to name him Packer.
"Because his new life started when he came out of the packer truck," said Wheeler.
Packer is staying with them at their Frederick home along with their two daughters and two other rescue pups.
If you believe that Packer belongs to you, you can contact Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center.
But from what the veterinarian said, the Wheelers believe he was likely a breeding male being kept in puppy mill conditions.
But now, he has been recycled into a new family full of love.