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Kia, the ‘miracle puppy’ found in an impound lot, will appear Friday on Rachael Ray’s TV show

  • The Kansas City Star
  • Published Thursday, May 16, 2013, at 10:06 a.m.
  • Updated Thursday, June 27, 2013, at 9:57 p.m.

Kia, the puppy who apparently survived for weeks on trash in an impounded SUV, is getting a taste of national celebrity.

The terrier-schnauzer mix flew to New York this week to tape a segment that will air on the “Rachael Ray Show” on Friday.

“She does steal the show,” said Tori Fugate, manager of marketing and development for Kansas City Pet Project, who accompanied Kia on the show. “She is absolutely hilarious.”

Fugate declined to go into details of what happened during the taping, but she said Kia did great.

“She is so calm when being held,” she said. “She is so cute.”

The show airs locally at 9 a.m. on KMBC Channel 9.

Kia was found this month trapped inside a 1990 Chevrolet Suburban in a city tow lot. The Suburban was towed after it had been abandoned April 8 on a ramp from Interstate 70 and was blocking traffic.

Neither police nor the tow truck driver nor tow lot employees saw the dog. By the time she was found, she apparently had spent nearly one-third of her life trapped inside the vehicle.

No one knows how Kia survived. It is thought she ate leftover McDonald’s trash and old cigars. Tow lot employees didn’t see any sign of water.

A veterinarian who is not connected with Kia’s care said that it’s unlikely the dog could have survived in the Suburban without an appreciable amount of water. But officials don’t know of anyone opening the vehicle at the impound lot before May 6, when a tow company employee who was marking vehicles for auction saw Kia jump on the dashboard.

After being rescued, Kia was brought to the city’s animal shelter, which is operated by Kansas City Pet Project. She was emaciated and dehydrated, weighing 3 pounds. She has since gained 2 pounds.

The shelter got a call from the “Rachael Ray Show” a week ago saying it was interested in doing a segment on Kia. A crew arrived at the shelter Monday morning and filmed for about four hours.

Fugate then got Kia into a carrier and caught a flight out of Kansas City International Airport. The woman sitting next to Fugate started talking with her when she saw Kia.

“She asked me if I heard about the dog in the tow lot,” Fugate said. “I told her this was the dog. At that point, people on the flight didn’t mind her barking.”

She became an instant celebrity.

They arrived at their hotel in New York on Monday evening, and on Tuesday morning they were taken to the studio.

“Once people heard we were there, they came in to meet Kia,” Fugate said. “Everyone came in to meet her and take pictures with her.”

On the flight home, Kia threw a fit and barked, howled and whined. They arrived in Kansas City about 10 p.m. Tuesday.

Kia is recuperating at a foster home. She is working on potty training, sitting on command and taking treats out of a hand calmly.

“Right now she just grabs them and sometimes eats the hand at the same time,” Fugate said.

People across the United States and even from other countries have contacted the shelter to wish Kia well and ask about adopting her. Fugate said the shelter is trying to keep track of those people, but it has been overwhelming.

Kia’s caretakers want to give her time to gain more weight and improve her socialization skills.

“At this time we’re going to wait and see how she does in the foster home before we make her available for adoption.” Fugate said.

To reach Robert A. Cronkleton, call 816-234-4261 or send email to bcronkleton@kcstar.com.

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