Dave Stancliff Harper’s Story: She was in a trash bag but got a new lease on life blogarama.com

Friday, September 23, 2011

Harper’s Story: She was in a trash bag but got a new lease on life

Image: Harper the puppy displaying "swimmer puppy syndrome" I might as well admit that I’m a sucker for animal stories that end well. I’ve always loved animals, and as the years go by I’m constantly amazed at what they’re capable of.

Sometimes the only humane thing to do is to put a dog to sleep. Just three weeks ago, Erica Daniel steeled herself to take that difficult step with Harper, a small puppy in her care.

Daniel, 26, fosters dogs that need serious help, and Harper had come to her in the most desperate of circumstances. On Aug. 31, a woman in Sanford, Fla., first encountered the little dog when she spotted a squirming garbage bag.

Top Photo - This is how Harper looked when she was rescued. Born with a condition commonly called "swimmer puppy syndrome," Harper had a flattened chest wall and could not walk or hold her head up. Dolly's Foundation

There was a man outside the Save-A-Lot selling pit-bull puppies for $50 a pop,” Daniel explained. “This woman approached him and noticed a noise coming from a garbage bag he was holding. She asked him, ‘What’s in the bag?’ and he said, ‘Don’t worry about it.’ ”

Image: Harper the puppy walking in grass

The woman pressed the issue and the man opened — and gave her — the contents of the bag. Inside was a puppy so deformed that it couldn’t walk or hold up its head. Shelter workers and veterinarians grimaced when they saw the dog and came to the same conclusion: It really should be euthanized.

That’s when Daniel, a regular at the local animal shelter, stepped in. She decided to take the puppy home for one full and final day of unabashed affection. “I had to show her what it was like to be loved,” Daniel said. “I’d planned on taking her home that night, letting her sleep in bed with us, and having her humanely euthanized in the morning.”

Photo - Three weeks ago, Harper was so afflicted by a rigor-mortis-like condition that she could barely move. Today, she's walking almost like a normal dog. www.FlyinFurPetPhotography.com

What a difference a day can make. Today, Harper is not only alive — she’s thriving. The frisky gray puppy is gaining more and more mobility each day, to the astonishment of onlookers and medical professionals.

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