Beyonce, a Dachshund puppy vying for the title of World's Smallest Dog, is fed in a coffee cup. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
NEW YORK (AP) -- A very tiny puppy is sitting inside a coffee mug, trying without success to escape by scratching its little paws against the slippery surface. In recent days, this famous dog has been placed alongside a variety of small objects - an iPhone, a business card and a tape measure, among other things - to demonstrate just how tiny she really is.
This is Beyonce, a female dachshund mix who was born March 8 to a rescue dog that was found abandoned, wandering the streets of San Bernardino, Calif. At birth, she weighed just 1 ounce and could fit into a teaspoon. Her caretakers say she's one of the smallest puppies ever born full-term - and her story of unlikely survival has captured the attention of people all over the world.
"We had an ultrasound done, and they actually saw that there were five puppies, but one was probably going to be stillborn," says Beth Decaprio, executive director of the Grace Foundation of Northern California, which rehabilitates abused and neglected animals. "It didn't look like a viable baby."
Beyonce wasn't breathing when she was born at the foundation's farm in El Dorado Hills, Calif. A veterinarian tried to revive her by performing chest compressions. Then he passed her over to Decaprio.
"I blew a couple little breaths in her mouth," Decaprio says. "And she started to breathe on her own."
At 3 weeks old, Beyonce is now about the size of an iPhone, but she isn't cowed by her much bigger brothers and sisters. She crawled on top of the wriggling puppies as they nursed, trying to push them out of the way.
"They just consider her another sibling," Decaprio says. "But she is a survivor, and she's a tough little one."
Beyonce, whose caretakers wanted to give her a "big" name, is not yet up for adoption, though the foundation has received hundreds of requests from people who want to take her home. When she's stronger - and a bit bigger - the foundation will decide whether to give her away.
The shelter has taken the puppy on a media tour, including big media stages in New York.
Decaprio hopes the little puppy will inspire people to adopt shelter dogs and save them from being destroyed. Many shelters keep rescue dogs for only 12 hours before they must be put down, she says.
"What's most important about the story is that people are aware of the tiny, little, wonderful miracles that come out of the shelter that sadly are euthanized each and every day," she says. "Beyonce and her family are lucky, but we know that most of these don't get that kind of chance."