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Archive for September 28th, 2011

Baby Harper Beats The Odds

We’ve all heard the phrase, “It takes a village…” well it has taken a tight-knit animal community to see to it Baby Harper had a chance to beat every odd. When this now famous pup was brought into Seminole County Animal Services a mere 4 weeks ago, no one thought hers would be a happy ending. Shelter Supervisor, Mary Beth Lake, had seen pups like her before. They call them swimmer puppies for the fact they look as if they’re swimming. Pectus Excavatum causes some newborns to become stuck, legs splayed and unable to get up off their chests. Most develop pneumonia and die within a few weeks or the mother, sensing the defect, kills them herself. But here was Harper, 2 months old.

photo courtesy Dolly's Foundation

When Mary Beth looked into Harper’s eyes she saw an incredible will and determination. She made a phone call to Erica Daniel of Dolly’s Foundation. She was afraid of setting Erica up for heartbreak but felt the pup deserved a chance, especially after being discarded like yesterday’s trash. The woman who brought Harper into the shelter claimed a man was selling pups on the side of the road and that he had Harper in a trash bag. No one has come forward with his identity.

Mary Beth snuggles Harper

Erica did what any fellow dog rescuer would do. She took the deformed pup home to show her at least one night of love and affection, while knowing she was probably going to have to euthanize her the next day. According to Erica, Harper’s stiff limbs felt as if they were in rigor mortis so she off-handedly began massaging them. It wasn’t too long after Harper began to lift her head and trying to move her legs! Erica was floored and knew the next day’s appointment was going to be canceled. Instead she made arrangements to have her seen by the specialists at the University of Florida.

Erica & Harper. photo courtesy Pit Stop Bully's Rescue

In the meantime, our animal community began gathering troops to help in Harper’s fight. Patti Dillingham and Stephanie Moore, owners of Louise’s Pet Connection put together the necessary supplements and food from their market. A call was made to Bev McCartt, hydrotherapist at Hip Dog Hydrotherapy to have her teach us how to properly massage and do range of motion exercises. Swim sessions were arranged once the doctors gave the ok. Amy the electro-stimulation therapist happened into the store as we were all discussing Harper’s game plan and she began treatment on her immediately. A baby’s pack & play was purchased to be her safe haven. Several harness type contraptions were tried to get her off her chest. Erica’s husband, Grant, began building a sling walker. Lots of research was done on the Internet where we saw dogs that had successfully learned to walk despite their condition. We became inspired and hopeful.

Amy doing electro-stim therapy, me holding Harper! photo courtesy Dolly's Foundation

Bev & Harper in the pool. photo courtesy Flyin Fur Pet Photography

Thanks to social media, Harper has become an inspiration to the world. Her story has spread like wildfire reaching from our little Florida town to the U.K., New Zealand and Russia. Articles are running on too many websites to count, and her story that was shot by our local WESH-2 News has been picked up by all the media outlets. Her foster mom, Erica, is getting hundreds of emails daily and just that many Facebook postings asking about Harper. Ellen has called. People magazine has called. Erica & Harper are heading to New York City for the TODAY SHOW this coming Monday!

While everyone has been moved to tears, Twittering and Facebooking, amongst all the hoopla, Harper has been working hard. She has become a master of all she tries. She mastered carpet. She mastered grass. She mastered concrete. She has even been caught running (yes, running!) across the tile floor. She has been able to play with a puppy twice her size. She has proven the experts wrong. Harper is no longer defective or homeless. She will stay with Dolly’s Foundation and help them in their mission. That mission being to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome homeless, neglected, and abused American Pit Bull Terriers and other bully breed dogs. They strive to preserve, promote and bring positive awareness to the breed and the negative stereotype bestowed upon them. Did I fail to mention Harper is a Pit Bull? Breed shouldn’t matter. She is a sweet miracle who has given us all some much needed inspiration and possibly even motivation.

Mastering the tile floor while stealing eyeglasses!

Dolly & Harper are going to change the world! photo courtesy Dolly's Foundation

What is my part in all this? I’m proud to say I’m an honorary Auntie! Erica is a friend of mine from our work together at the shelter. And yes, I’ve smooched that adorable Harper face 🙂

If you’d like to participate in Harper’s Fundraiser and get the coolest photos of our little superstar, please check out Flyin Fur Pet Photography! 

photo courtesy Flyin Fur Pet Photography

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