Vacationing family find a puppy left in the desert, take him in and give him a foster home

Sometimes animals come into our lives in the most unexpected ways in the most unexpected places, but it’s just meant to be. When one family found a abandoned puppy on their family vacation, they knew they had to help — and are now on a mission to find him a forever home.

When Kristina Munford and her family took a week-long road trip from Oklahoma to California, it didn’t take long for them to pick up an unexpected passenger.

While driving through the Arizona desert en route to the Grand Canyon, the family stopped for a group photo op near Elephant Feet Rocks, according to KPNX.

But they soon discovered a puppy — alone, tired, and miles away from the nearest town.


The family knew they had to help the poor pup. The dog had apparently been abandoned in the desert.

“His face had a gash… kind of in the middle, he wasn’t really moving his back legs, we thought he was injured, but it turns out he was just exhausted,” Kristina Munford told KPNX.

“I look at my dad and I go, ‘we can’t leave him out here, we [have to] take him with us.’”

The family took the pup in and continued on to their destination, naming the dog “Canyon.”

On a driving vacation from Oklahoma to California this past Saturday, this little pup (now called Canyon) was found…

Posted by AZ Canyon on Wednesday, February 2, 2022

According to a Facebook post, the family drove with the dog for eight hours. When they arrived in California, they had him checked out by a vet, who confirmed that he did not have a microchip.

But now, Canyon was in good hands. While Kristina could not keep him because they were still on the road and the hotels wouldn’t allow dogs, they left the dog with family members in California, who are now fostering him.

A Facebook account has been set up to share updates about Canyon, and photos and videos show that he’s made himself at home.

“Much more comfortable than the hard desert ground,” reads one photo caption.

Much more comfortable than the hard desert ground…..

Posted by AZ Canyon on Wednesday, February 2, 2022

In his new foster home, Canyon has a big backyard and other dogs (his “foster cousins”) to play with. In just a short while in his new surroundings, Canyon is a whole new dog.

“It’s been a full week of fun, training, exploring, socializing and EATING!” the foster family wrote. “This little guy arrived hungry and still devours his food – but surprisingly has no resource guarding reaction. With all the good food and exercise, He seems to be growing everyday!”

“Day by day, AZ’s personality comes out a little more,” they wrote. “It’s fair to say he is feeling safe and comfortable.”

“Canyon loves, loves, loves car rides,” another post reads. “In our passenger car, he curls up on the blanket in the backseat.”

Canyon loves, loves, loves car rides. In our passenger car, he curls up on the blanket in the backseat. In our dog…

Posted by AZ Canyon on Saturday, February 5, 2022

They say in his short time in their care, Canyon’s social skills have greatly improved, an important step given everything the pup has been through.

“He’s great with adults and other dogs, now learning patience around little ones. He is a natural!” they wrote.

“We took him to an outdoor market event today. Literally everyone asked if they could pet him. He was so perfectly behaved, enjoying love from everyone without any nibbling or jumping. I estimate that easily over 50 people knelt down to love on him over the couple hours. Talk about socialization by immersion!”

Not an action shot or video today, but a pretty cool update in the life of AZ. We took him to an outdoor market event…

Posted by AZ Canyon on Sunday, February 20, 2022

It isn’t clear yet whether Canyon will be put up for adoption eventually or continue to stay with his foster family, but the important thing is he’s come such a long way since being left in the desert.

“When I think of what this pup went through during his time abandoned in the desert before my cousins found and saved him, I get sad,” the fosters wrote. “He must have had some cold, scary and lonely nights.”

When I think of what this pup went through during his time abandoned in the desert before my cousins found and saved…

Posted by AZ Canyon on Monday, February 21, 2022

Meanwhile, Kristina is happy she and her family could play such an important role in saving this dog. She told KPNX that it was “destiny” they happened to find the dog on their trip.

“He’s safe! That’s the best part,” Kristina said. “We love animals in our family, they’re innocent, and us humans should be appreciative of the loyalty these animals give us.”

It’s heartbreaking to think anyone would abandon such a sweet dog in the desert, but we’re so glad Canyon is safe now!

Thank you to this family for taking Canyon in on their road trip, and to their relatives for giving him a great foster home!

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