Dennis Preslan's gut told him something wasn't right when he saw an older-style suitcase sitting atop garbage in a trash bin.
He tugged at the case, fearing what might be inside.
"My curiosity got the best of me," he said. "I unzipped the bag just a little bit."
His heart pounded and he jumped back when he saw an eye looking back at him and a small black nose.
"It scared the heck out of me," Preslan said.
Preslan scooted back into his truck and told his wife, Abbie, that something was inside the bag and it was alive. When she told him she wasn't going to get out of the truck to find out what it was, he knew it was up to him. He lowered the suitcase to the ground and unzipped it all the way.
"Out jumps this little black puppy. He was scared too. He just took off running," Preslan said.
It was about 12:30 a.m. Sunday and it was dark. Preslan and his wife tried to find the pup but he was gone.
They returned home and both woke up several times in the night and just looked at each other. Early the next morning, they were back at the trash bin with a bowl and water.
"The little puppy came walking right up to the truck and sat there," he said. "We started petting him."
The pup tried to drink some water but couldn't. Preslan noticed something strange about his mouth and blood on the back of his neck. He pulled back the side of the dog's mouth and saw that he'd been gagged with a dark blue cloth so he couldn't drink, eat or make noise.
Preslan took out his pocket knife and cut the gag.
"He immediately went to the water and drank some," Preslan said.
The couple wrapped the pup in a towel and took him to a veterinarian.
Preslan, who uses the private trash bin in his cleaning business, said the suitcase was probably left on Saturday.
The pup was taken to an animal shelter while an investigation is conducted. He won't be adoptable until his case has been investigated.
Shelter operations supervisor Sandy Klimaschesky said the 39-pound pup, which appears to be a Great Dane mix and between 3 and 4 months old, had no identification. He appeared to have been well cared for and is friendly and outgoing, she said.
The shelter was not releasing photos of the pup, citing the investigation.
"It is so bizarre," Klimaschesky said. "He is just a wonderful little dog."
Preslan and his wife planned to visit the pup on Thursday and bring him a toy. They were talking about adopting him.
"I would like to," Preslan said. "He might find me again."
By MARY PEMBERTON