A pet dog was hanging on to life Monday after he apparently ran up a tree in pursuit of a critter on Wadmalaw Island and was impaled by a branch.

The male Staffordshire terrier mix was left dangling about 15 feet above the ground for approximately 24 hours, Charleston Animal Society spokeswoman Kay Hyman said. Its incessant barking eventually alerted a concerned citizen to its plight Monday.

The society, which started caring for the dog around 1 p.m., said in a statement that the man walked through a marsh and came upon “a horrifying sight.”

“It’s miraculous that he’s alive,” Hyman said. “I’ve never seen anything like that.”

The pet’s wound was treated, and he was given fluids at the Animal Society, where he was in guarded condition.

No foul play is suspected.

“It is believed the dog ran up the tree after an animal and slipped,” the society’s statement said.

Animal control officers from the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office responded to the gruesome discovery.

A photograph showed the dog in silhouette, dangling head first with his hind quarters near a large, gnarly tree branch. He was impaled by a smaller branch attached to the larger one, Hyman said.

The dog, whose coat is mostly black with a little white, was rescued as a stray a year ago, injected with a microchip and later reclaimed by his owner, Hyman said.

The society was trying to contact the Maybank Highway resident, she said.

“This was a close call for this pet, and we are doing everything possible to save him,” Lucy Fuller, the society’s senior director of veterinary care, said in the statement. “If it weren’t for people’s generous donations to our medical fund, Toby’s Fund, we wouldn’t be able to save animals like this one.”

Anyone with information on the owner’s whereabouts is asked to call Pearl Sutton, the society’s senior director of animal services, at 329-1574.

Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.