Fact Check

Dog Saves Abandoned Newborn?

Yet another heartstring-tugging tale (with photos) of a dog's supposedly saving an abandoned newborn child is creating misty eyes among social media users.

Published Nov. 1, 2015

Photographs show a dog saving an abandoned newborn child.

In November 2015, social media around the globe were awash in photographs of a dog seemingly carrying a newborn child (with umbilical cord still attached) in its mouth, with accompanying text proclaiming that the canine had found the child abandoned on the street and had carried it to safety:

A dog found a newborn child that had been abandoned in the street by his mother. The dog took the baby in her mouth while avoiding hurting him and put him in front of a house. Thanks to this dog, this baby today is alive and in perfect health.

Verifying the veracity of these images has proved difficult, as the accompanying text typically makes no mention of details such as time and place. (Some iterations of the message do mention location but attribute the story to multiple, widely varying parts of the world.) Similar reports regarding dog rescues of abandoned children have certainly appeared in the news media over the years (sometimes in tandem by photographs that have no actual connection to the story being reported), but none of them appears related to this iteration.

The most common version of this item holds that it occurred somewhere in or around Saudi Arabia, as reported in the Saudi publication Sada:

A picture went viral in Saudi Arabia this week, showing a dog carrying a newborn baby in its mouth to take her to a nearby house, where she was rushed to hospital. The Saudi daily 'Sada' said it does not know whether the incident took place in the Gulf Kingdom or another country but it added that the dog saved the baby’s life. “Those who posted the pictures said the dog carried the baby to the nearest house, whose dwellers rushed her to the hospital…the baby’s life was saved by the dog,” the paper said, adding that the baby was apparently dumped by her mother near a waste bin.

At this point we don't yet know whether these photographs are authentic (rather than capturing something that was staged), whether the backstory attributed to them (about a dog's finding and rescuing an abandoned newborn) is accurate, or the time and place of their setting.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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