For a State Patrol trooper in Trinidad, protecting the Colorado community means more than safeguarding its people.
The unidentified trooper heard an unusual sound from outside the Trinidad office three weeks ago, reported Noah's Ark Animal Welfare Association.
It was a crying puppy alone - eyes still closed and umbilical cord still attached. The whelp was only hours old.
The trooper took him to Fisher's Peak Veterinary Clinic and, after care and cleaning, the pup was given to Noah's Ark shelter volunteer Teresa Clark.
Clark named him "Trooper."
"The State Patrol trooper who found him is an unsung hero," said Laurel Young, Noah's Ark executive director. "He or she rescued this puppy in a remarkable way.
"Our local patrol office is actually located right next to busy I-25 at exit 11, so it's a bit of a miracle the pup's cries could be heard among the traffic noise."
Young said Noah's Ark hopes the trooper will step forward to be properly thanked.
Clark weighed the pup at a whopping 1 pound, 3 ounces. A week later, his weight had doubled. By the third week, he was 3 pounds, 12½ ounces.
He's starting to learn to walk but is "still wobbly," Clark said. "I'm certain he will figure it out soon. He is doing just fine and likely will be running around soon enough and playing with the 6-month-old kitten I have."
Trooper might be a Mastiff, Anatolian Shepherd or Great Pyrenees mix, shelter staff said.
He'll remain in foster care with Clark until he is of proper age and size for adoption.
Anyone interested in becoming a foster parent or ASPCA adoption ambassador for Noah's Ark can call 719-680-2385. Both programs provide training, veterinary care, supplies and a lot of support from the foster-parent network.