Puppy rescued while fleeing Diamond Fire up for adoption in Payson

Aug 12, 2023, 8:00 PM

PHOENIX — A puppy who ran towards ADOT crews while the Diamond Fire raged near State Route 87 in late July is officially up for adoption.

Crews from Payson were setting up traffic control to help firefighters control the blaze when they found the puppy fleeing the fire.

They dubbed her “Sunflower” in honor of the nearby town where they found her on July 26, ADOT said in a Thursday announcement.

The town of Sunflower is far north of Phoenix, near the Mazatzal Wilderness and west of Tonto National Forest. Although the town was previously a mercury-mining district, it’s now used as a hiking and camping destination.

Brett Rupp, an ADOT maintenance supervisor in Payson, tried to find her a home.

Puppy fleeing Diamond Fire didn’t have a home

“I called one of the residents in Sunflower to see if she knew who the owner was,” Rupp said in a statement.

When no one had any leads, he took matters into his own hands.

“I gave her a little water, loaded her up in the truck, gave her some cool AC and brought her to the Humane Society of Central Arizona in Payson,” he said.

She was in relatively good condition, despite an ear infection, some ticks and a road rash on her front right leg, ADOT said.

Nicole LeBeau, the Payson shelter’s medical director, said the puppy is thriving in her new home.

“Sunflower is doing great, considering the circumstances she has endured,” LeBeau said in a statement.

“She can be a little nervous at first, but we believe it’s from the kennel setting. Once she has warmed up to you, she will be glued to your side and become your shadow,” she said.

“She has a very sweet demeanor and absolutely loves treats,” LeBeau said. “Any attention quickly turns into a cuddle session.”

Anyone who wants to adopt the puppy can fill out an adoption application online.

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Puppy rescued while fleeing Diamond Fire up for adoption in Payson