Harper: Where There’s Life, There’s Hope
September 24, 2011
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.
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.
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.
The irresponsible public strikes again.