Two police officers are the toast of the internet for coming to the rescue of a frightened fox cub that got stuck inside a storm drain in Kearney, Missouri.
Sgt. Joe Kantola and officer Jeffrey Garton, of Kearney Police Department, navigated a 150-foot stretch of the city's drainage system to save the animal on Wednesday night.
Video posted online shows them each descending through separate manhole covers on opposite ends of a street and crawling through narrow pipes towards each other to trap the terrified creature in the middle.
They captured the fox inside a box and lifted him safely back out to the street level.
Kantola said the animal -- which he initially thought was a puppy after responding to residents' reports of a strange noise coming from the drain -- was "very tired" following its ordeal.
The officers doubt the fox would have survived for much longer had they not plucked him from the 15-foot drain.
"He had maybe a day left," Garton told KMBC 9. "He seemed pretty weak, scared and wet."
The officers posted this image of themselves, alongside their new furry friend, to Facebook following the dramatic rescue:
After establishing that the fox's mother was not in the area, they took the fox back to the police station, where he warmed up enough to start making some adorable noises.
The fox was later taken to a local wildlife animal rehabilitation center. It's hoped he'll make a full recovery and eventually be released back into the wild.
The footage is going viral, but Kantola said it was only by chance that the rescue was caught on camera. "Officer Garton forgot that he had his (body camera) on and he was lucky to capture it."