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German shepherd freed after head stuck in 18-inch-thick wall

Riverside County Animal Services

A German shepherd's head is stuck in an 18-inch-thick wall in Desert Hot Springs, Calif.

In what might be the most pathetic photo on the Internet today, an 8-month-old German shepherd named Rebel somehow got his head stuck in a hole in an 18-inch-thick wall on Monday afternoon in Desert Hot Springs, Calif. Rebel's owner wasn't home, but a friend called Riverside County Animal Services after hearing the pup's whimpers and whines. 

Riverside County Animal Services

Rebel sits with Officer James Huffman of Riverside County Animal Services after being freed from the wall.

Luckily, the pooch wasn't in any serious danger and could breathe OK, officers determined when they arrived at 12:30 p.m. (But we're sad to say that, yes, that red stuff in the photo above is blood; Rebel injured his "eyebrows" a bit while thrashing around as he tried to free himself.) 

It would be too risky to break down the wall, so the two officers helped Rebel wiggle his way out. “Somehow he got in through there, so we knew we could get him out,” said Sgt. James Huffman. One officer gently pushed the dog's head back through the hole (after Huffman protected the animal's ears by tucking them back), while the other cautiously pulled and nudged his body. 

“He let us know if we were pushing too hard – but he kept working right along with us,” Huffman said in a statement. “He helped a lot. You could see his hind legs stiffen to assist in the direction we were going. He knew we were there to save him.”

Thirty minutes later, Rebel was free, and was released to his owner's friend who'd called for help. Huffman suggested that the dog should be kept away from the wall, lest Rebel was tempted to stick his head in there again -- the officer thinks a squirrel chase or sheer curiosity might have lured him in there -- and said he would talk to the property owner about covering the hole with chicken wire.

"We'll be telling them to 'Close it up,'" said RCAS spokesman John Welsh, or face a $119 fine for an unleashed pet.