Amazing Animal Rescues: Starving Dogs Given New Lease on Life
Two abandoned canines beat incredible odds to survive.
Miracle, the pit bull mix, went out to play ball last weekend, navigating on her surgical leg, as if she were as good as new, according to Erin Pacheco, Forever Paws shelter manager.
No one seeing her play would have imagined two months earlier this dog had survived for weeks in a vacant apartment where her owners abandoned her.
On Sept. 30, the starving dog made a desperate and heroic leap from a third floor window to find food.
An eyewitness, who saw Miracle jump out the window, notified the New Bedford Police, according to Jennifer Wooliscroft, communications director for Boston Animal Rescue League. The on duty animal control officer responded, spotted the dog in an alley, and deposited her with Forever Paws, the shelter in nearby Fall River, Mass., Wooliscroft said. Authorities are hunting for the people responsible for the dogs’ plight, but so far have not made an arrest, she said, and anyone with information about the case should call New Bedford Animal Control Officer Emmanuel Maciel at 508-991-6366.
“It was a chaotic situation,” she said. The tenants were transients who did not leave forwarding addresses. The apartment was full of fleas and was so filthy the animal control officer had to fumigate his uniform after he left the building. She speculated Miracle managed to escape because the window screens were not secure and the dog was able to push herself through.
“She’s pretty brave to have made that decision and she has smarts enough to know she had to make that decision,” Pacheco said.
And although Miracle’s story ranks among the worst animal cruelty cases in Pacheco’s experience, incredibly, the one-year-old dog was not the only pet left starving in that same New Bedford, Mass. apartment building. Miracle’s heroic jump also saved a four-month-old puppy, Pacheco said,
Animal Control Officer Emmanuel Maciel rescued Gracie, a pit bull mix, the next day.
Maciel had returned to the scene to investigate the possible animal cruelty case, when he decided to search the whole building.
“That’s when he found Gracie,” Pacheco said.
Both dogs were in “pretty poor” physical condition, according to Jennifer Wooliscroft, spokeswoman for Boston Animal Rescue League, but are recovering after care at Cape Cod Veterinary Specialists in Buzzards Bay, Mass.
She does not yet have the final tabulation on their medical expenses but estimated that number has topped $10,000.
“The puppy was treated for malnutrition,” she said. Gracie was lethargic, and Miracle was starving and emaciated. Veterinarians administered fluids and electrolytes while they weaned them back on food.
Miracle also needed surgery for a broken hip and a broken leg suffered after she jumped, Pacheco said. When she arrived at the shelter, the animal control officer mentioned Miracle’s leap from the third floor window.
“We had noticed something up with her leg,” Pacheco said. Initially, shelter workers gave Miracle some pain medicines, but Pacheco, who works at Cape Cod Veterinary Specialists in Buzzards Bay, Mass., later took the dog to the hospital where doctors diagnosed a broken hip and hind leg.
“I was originally just going to pay for the surgery myself,” Pacheco said but then Boston Animal Rescue League offered to help raise money.
Pacheco said she cried when she took Miracle to the hospital for tests prior to her surgery.
“I’d had to fast a starving dog,” she said. ”She was so hungry.” Miracle was shaking, Pacheco said, on that ride to Barnstable, and they were both on their courage.
“She just held herself,” Pacheco said. “She’s a very strong spirit.”
Now, Miracle is well enough to be adopted, she said. The shelter is looking for prospective new owners and hope Miracle’s forever family will also adopt her new friend, Fawn, a Portuguese hunting dog.
“They bonded,” Pacheco said. “We put them in attached crates,” she said; and every time shelter workers check on them, the two dogs are side-by-side in the same pen.
Meanwhile, Gracie is still in foster care with a Forever Paws nurse, who plans to adopt her permanently, Pacheco said. “She just fell in love with Gracie,” Pacheco said.
How to Help: To adopt Miracle and her new pal, Fawn, a Portuguese hunting dog, contact Forever Paws, 300 Lynwood St., Fall River, Mass. 02721 (Tel. 508-677-9154). Or to contribute to the Boston Animal Rescue League for medical costs for Gracie and Miracle, call 617-426-9170 or go to their website.
Pictured: Miracle, a 1-year-old pit bull mix, was one of two dogs abandoned in a New Bedford, Mass. apartment building. Her heroic leap to find food also saved a four-month-old puppy. (Photo Courtesy of Boston Animal Rescue League)
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