TAMPA, Fla. — It was Aug. of 2017 when ABC Action News first reported on a Shih Tzu that fell from a third-floor balcony of a Tampa apartment complex after dangling through the railings for nearly an hour.
It was a heroic rescue of the pup that involved Good Samaritans and two Tampa police officers.
↓WATCH VIDEO HERE↓
Days after the rescue, we tried tracking down where the dog was. To find out if he was OK and who the owner was. No luck.
More than a year later, the mystery of the where the "dangling dog" ended up is solved.
"They had two dogs, and we immediately had an attraction to this cute little blonde dog that they had," Mark Bolton said.
Bolton and his wife Barbara went to a farmer's market in Carrollwood last October and immediately fell in love with "Phoenix."
"Phoenix came running up to me I was kneeling down, and he put his little paws right up on my knees, and it was it for me," Brenda Bolton said. "He looked a little scruffy. He wasn’t exactly an attractive dog at that point, but there was something about him."
The Bolton's didn't know Phoenix's backstory until the day they adopted him.
"They asked if we knew about the dangling dog and we hadn’t heard about it," Brenda Bolton said.
The family quickly jumped on the internet and found our report.
"When we saw the video it was really sad, heartbreaking, that a dog that is so affectionate, so playful so emotional so attached to humans would be left out and not cared for," Mark Bolton said.
Phoenix was so sick the Bolton's said veterinarians didn't think he would survive.
"He was severely malnourished, dehydrated, evacuated; he wasn’t eating, he wasn’t drinking, lethargic," Mark Bolton said. "When they first took him in they could only feed him through IV foods and fluids he couldn’t eat anything."
The Bolton family says Phoenix is the perfect fit for their family. They also have three adopted children.
"All three of our kids were born in Russia. We adopted all of them at a very young age," Mark Bolton said. "So, in a way they relate to Phoenix, who had a rough go at the beginning, then came into a loving family the same way they did."