Harper: Where There’s Life, There’s Hope

A man at a chain store parking lot was selling eight-week-old Pitbull puppies for $50 each.  A woman approached him and asked about the moving garbage bag he was holding.  He tried to blow her off but she pressed the issue and he eventually gave her the swimmer puppy that was in the bag.  The Good Samaritan took the puppy to the local shelter where staff determined the puppy should be killed.  Erica Daniel, a foster home provider who was at the shelter at the time the puppy arrived, asked if she could take her home and give her just 24 more hours of life.  Ms. Daniel named the puppy Harper.

Harper at the time of her rescue.

Ms. Daniel made an appointment for euthanasia at a veterinary office for the next day. She decided to do everything she could think of to help Harper, who was stuck in the splayed position seen in the above photo, up until that time:

“The longer she was like that, the more she stayed in that position,” Daniel said. “It felt like rigor mortis — like her legs might break.”
Despite that, Daniel kept massaging Harper’s tight muscles, hoping to alleviate at least some of her stiffness and pain. Within just a few hours, Harper started lifting her head and looking around. Her front legs became more limber as well, so much so that she tried using them to walk and pull herself around.

Daniel’s reaction: “WHOA.”

Ms. Daniel cancelled the euthanasia appointment and took Harper to a vet for second opinion.  Although that vet was not initially hopeful, they decided to conduct the appropriate tests in order to make an informed decision:

And, as it turned out, the rumors of Harper’s demise were greatly exaggerated. Her organs were functioning just fine, and she had no heart murmur or serious brain abnormalities. The medical conditions she did have required treatment — but nothing that warranted putting her to sleep.

Whoa again.  A canine hydrotherapy clinic heard about Harper and offered free swimming and massage therapy.  The pup responded very well and soon developed the ability to walk.  Harper is now 11 weeks old and enjoying being alive.

Harper's face says it all.

Thank you to the kind-hearted woman who cared enough to rescue Harper from the trash bag in the store parking lot.

Thank you to Ms. Daniel who didn’t give up hope, even when the shelter staff wanted to kill Harper.

Thank you to the veterinarian who, despite misgivings about a positive prognosis, conducted the necessary tests to determine if those fears were founded in factual evidence in Harper’s case.

Thank you to the canine hydrotherapy business for donating services to help Harper thrive.

Thank you to everyone who has donated money for Harper’s medical bills and to Ms. Daniel’s organization, Dolly’s Foundation, which rescues bully breeds in need.

The irresponsible public strikes again.

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15 Comments

  1. Ann Mitchell

     /  September 24, 2011

    What do you say to such a wonderful story such as this…..Hooray for Harper and the truly loving and caring people that helped her! I live for the day that more and more dogs have such a happy “beginning.” The question is HOW DO WE GET THE MESSAGE OUT TO ALL THE PEOPLE THAT WOULD LIKE TO HELP AND DON’T EVEN KNOW THAT THERE IS A NEED? A lot of people live there lives and don’t even know such neglect & don’t give a damn goes on! They don’t know that their kind hearts and willingness to help is desperately needed! IGNORANCE IS BLISS, you don’t get your heart broken over and over. Then there is a story such as this. THANKYOU!

    Reply
  2. Mary Ann Curtis

     /  September 24, 2011

    I second all your ‘thank yous’. Blessed, happy life, Harper.

    Reply
  3. God’s hand was in this…to put all the right people at the right place at the right time…this is about much more than Harper…tho that is enough in itself…it is about humans caring, stopping to investigate, trying to help, donating money and services…it is very discouraging when we think of all the animals that are abandoned, abused, neglected, and euthanized. It makes us tend to give up…

    The jerk, etc who was selling the dog reaks of the lowest form of existence making a buck off poor helpless defenseless dogs and throwing away in a garbage bags those he considered not profitable.

    We all can learn so much from these examples, both positives and negatives. Here’s to Harper leading a wonderful and healthy life…kudos to all who helped her….

    Reply
  4. What a wonderful confluence of the right people at the right time to save Harper. Many “at risk” dogs could live if given just a smidgen of a chance. I don’t euth easily but almost 3 weeks ago, I thought one of my rescue dogs, Allie Mae, was at death’s door. My vets wanted to give her more time and tx; I knew in my heart it was NOT “her time.” She is now up and around, demanding to eat. Allie Mae is an old dog who deserves to live till she dies. Three cheers for Harper and her angels. The photo of Harper smiling should be a poster for dedication, love and therapy. Thank you ALL. Go, public!

    Reply
  5. That face – she has stolen my heart! Bless all those who didn’t give up on this precious girl. I wish her a long happy life. She surely deserves it!
    A pox on the idiot who was selling the puppies in the parking lot and decided to just put her in the trash bag.
    You made my day!

    Reply
  6. alice in LALA land

     /  September 24, 2011

    How great that this dog was saved and. it only takes one minute to look up “swimmer puppies’ on the internet to see how to remedy the situation. using tape and some care almost all “swimmers” can be cured.. It is a shame that the shleter condemned this sweet dog to die.. when this is so easily fixed and that the fix was so easy to find.. Good for the persons who worked with Harper.. she is adorable..my she live a life full of love

    Reply
  7. Yea Irresponsible Public! I am proud to be one of you…
    Saw this story going viral on Facebook…but Shirley, you tell it best.
    Could we have more funds to save more of the hapless souls sucked into the morass that is MAS or any of these other hell holes? Don’t they ALL deserve a chance to live?
    Or must we kill them because the *marginal* homes aren’t good enough?

    Reply
  8. Lou Ann

     /  September 24, 2011

    Saw this on the internet and just fell in love with Harper. Ms. Daniel shows what true compassion is all about plus treating animals with hope beyond an initial observation. Love, love, love this story. Wish there were more people like Ms. Daniel.

    Reply
  9. Shawn

     /  September 24, 2011

    He’s as cute as they get!

    Reply
  10. Paul

     /  September 26, 2011

    I love dogs, they ARE NICER THAN MOST PEOPLE. Paul

    Reply
  11. There ARE Angels among us, some with two legs, some with four…

    Reply
  12. Such a sweet, beautiful story – thanks for sharing. So that you can credit correctly: the pet photographer who volunteered her time to work with Harper for that adorable portrait of him walking is Flyin Fur Pet Photography – http://www.flyinfurpetphotography.com

    Reply
  13. Sid Muss

     /  September 27, 2011

    thank you for sharing this wonderful story. i wish harper and his new family the best :)

    Reply
  14. Thank you for saving the little doggie’s life. She is precious!

    Reply
  15. The face on the angel says it all. :-) <3

    Reply

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