A man was selling pit bull puppies out on a street in Central Florida when a woman approached him and noticed a noise coming from a garbage bag he was holding. She pressed the man and he ended up giving her the bag, which had a puppy inside who was so deformed she could not hold up her head.
The woman took the puppy to Semionole County Animal Services where veterinarians concluded the puppy had swimmer puppy syndrome (pectus evactum) and should be humanely euthanized.
The condition is rare, and causes puppies to lie flat on their chests with their legs splayed out like a turtle. It's usually a symptom of serious neurological problems that most puppies cannot survive.
The shelter called Erica Daniel, who runs a pit bull rescue called Dolly's Foundation. She decided to take the puppy home for one full and final day of love and affection.
While at home, she gave the puppy massages and the little dog responded. Erica decided to get further tests done to be sure of the pup's condition. It turns out the pup did not have any of the more fatal symptoms of the disease such as brain abnormalities, serious heart murmur or degenerative bone disease. Erica was excited to learn that the puppy didn't have any condition serious enough to warrant euthanasia.
So Erica enlisted the support and help from a group that does hydrotherapy and massage therapy. After just several weeks of treatments, Harper, as the pup was then named, miraculously stood up.
Harper's rescue and rehabilitation began in August 2011, and Harper is now happy, healthy and a big part of Erica's family. In amazing contrast to her first diagnosis and recommendation for euthanasia from the first vets she saw, Harper now has a clear bill of health!
Erica blogged in December, "Holy cow. My little freak of nature is cured! That’s right folks, Harper is actually a normal dog now, inside and out. No pills, no drugs, no surgery. Just love, hard work, and a few women not willing to take no for an answer."
When Harper was first found, she could not stand or walk. Photo via Dolly's Foundation
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