By John Whitlock
The puppy with no name was crying and in a lot of pain when the staff of the Estill County Humane Society pulled her our of the metal drop-off box in early January.
The beagle pup, who doctors estimate was about six weeks old when someone anonymously put her in the after-hours drop-off box, was going to die without help.
Brighton Animal Clinic Practice Manager Jean Gibowski, the woman behind Camp Jean which helps injured animals get medical treatment and fosters dogs, said every rib in the puppy’s body was broken at least once.
“It looks like someone kicked her or maybe stomped down on her,” Gibowski said.
She was originally dropped off at night so there is no record of who may have left her in the box.
What exactly happened to the puppy prior to being dropped off is a mystery.
“She was originally dropped off, the transporter got there to pick up some other dogs, they could tell she was in a lot of pain, they contacted me,” Gibowski said.
The first thing the staff at Brighton did was try to control the puppy’s pain.
“We gave her some pain meds and immediately had her X-rayed,” Gibowski said. “That was when we discovered all the broken ribs.”
The staff at Brighten Animal Clinic moved quickly in hopes of saving the puppy’s life.
“They put intravenous fluids into her because of the shock and put her on oxygen because her lungs were compromised,” Gibowski said.
Although she was receiving top-notch care at the Brighton Animal Clinic, the puppy wasn’t out of the woods.
“She was really out of it that first day,” Gibowski said.”We were a little leery about if she would recover.”
The injuries to her ribs made it difficult for the puppy to get enough oxygen.
“We kept her on oxygen therapy for about 24 hours,” Gibowski said. “But after that, they kept her on just regular room air and she was barking at everyone who went by and wanted to get our and play.”
The staff of the clinic couldn’t believe how fast the puppy started to rebound.
“Even the specialists couldn’t believe how quickly she started to recover,” Gibowski said.
It was in that first few hours that this little, nameless beagle puppy would take on her new name via social media, “Miracle.”
After two weeks of treatment, it’s hard to tell to the untrained eye that Miracle was injured at all. Her ribs are still mending so anyone picking her up must be extremely cautious while handling her.
“You can’t tell she has broken ribs,” Gibowski said.
As she began to recover, Miracle’s personality began to shine through.
“She is such a happy puppy,” “You can’t tell she has broken ribs,” Gibowski said. “She loves everyone she meets.”
Despite the injuries, Gibowski said it’s unlikely Miracle will have any lasting effects and she is absolutely unafraid of people.
Gibowski said Miracle is young enough that the injury won’t make her skittish when interacting with people.
“She is young and apparently it was a short enough length of time that it shouldn’t affect her,” Gibowski said.
For her part, Miracle acts like a typical puppy.
“We have to keep reminding her that her ribs are broken and she shouldn’t be this active, Gibowski said.
But along with medical care, Miracle is receiving training on how to be a good pet.
“We are working on a lot of the early socialization skills,” Gibowski said. “She’s learned to sit. We are working on ‘down.’ We doing the leash training.”
Although her ribs will take time to heal, Gibowski said progress is being made.
“Since it’s not been that long since her injuries, her ribs are still broken but there are signs of healing, Gibowski said. “In two weeks, we will take more X-rays and then make a determination from there.”
With the extensive treatment she needed to survive, Miracle’s medical bills quickly piled up.
Gibowski turned to the followers on her Camp Jean Facebook page for help to defer some of the costs.
With Miracle’s devastating injuries and her moving story, donations poured into a “Go Fund Me” account set up on Miracle’s behalf.
“So many people were moved by her story, it was amazing,” Gibowski said. “Usually when we ask for donations, it’s maybe $500, maybe $2,000 for an animal. For her, it’s been incredible. So many people have given. It’s been probably five times what is normally raised.”
The public has been kind to Miracle and it’s had an effect on other animals in need.
“Because of the support she has received from people, we have been able to help other dogs,” Gibowski said. “We just rescued an English sheepdog and because of the extra money Miracle has generated, we were able to help other animals.”
As Miracle’s story spread through social media with visits to other doctors and invitations to visit being documented on Facebook, offers to adopt the young beagle came pouring in.
Gibowski said she knew finding the perfect home for Miracle would be difficult and with dozens upon dozens of offers to adopt her, it would hard to pick one without alienating some of the puppy’s friends and followers.
“I had no idea when I posted her photo the first time what would happen,” Gibowski said. “Having a rather famous puppy has been a blessing, but it has also been very difficult to keep up with her and her fans and accomplish anything else.”
But as she began to sift through the requests, Gibowski said she realized that Miracle was a special animal and could have a greater destiny than a simple house pet or hunting dog.
“She has opened the eyes of so many to rescue and she has been a huge blessing for our small rescue,” Gibowski wrote on Miracle’s Facebook page. “I started to read applications and I was touched by the comments that people left. And I really hope that everyone who applied for her opens their hearts and homes to another rescue dog. There were some fabulous applications. But as I read through them one stood out.”
A man, whose wife is deaf, asked to adopt Miracle and train her as a service dog. The couple has owned and trained beagles to help the hearing impaired and had recently had to put down their elderly beagle. The unique bark of the beagle triggers vibrations the deaf woman can feel throughout her home.
It was this couple’s story and experience with training beagles that ultimately swayed Gibowski.
“… Finding Miracle was an answer to their prayers,” Gibowski said. “Miracle will go on to become a hearing ear dog for a woman who cannot hear. She will continue to live up to her name.”
Find this story on pages 6 and 7 of the February 2017 edition of the Hamburg Journal.