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Little pup Miracle hangs on, with help

People are rallying to the badly abused puppy found Monday, sending money for care and good wishes for her recovery.

By JAMAL THALJI, Times Staff Writer
Published December 8, 2005

CRYSTAL SPRINGS - The more Gary Franckewich learns about the tortured puppy he named Miracle, the harder the words come out.

He knew the 14-pound puppy he found Monday afternoon was in bad shape: a rubber band wrapped tightly around the dog's jaws, her tongue left sticking out, deprived of food and water for perhaps days.

But Wednesday, he found out just how much Miracle has suffered.

"She had a broken back leg and one broken front leg and her hip was broken, too," said a teary-eyed Franckewich. "How could this little dog even walk to where I was?"

Emotions still ran high Wednesday for those who have come to learn Miracle's story, along with an outpouring of money for veterinarian bills and outrage that anyone could intentionally inflict such pain.

"I can't believe the amount of people that have stepped up and want to help," said Pam Edris, office manage at the Crystal Springs Veterinary Clinic, which is treating Miracle. "It's been astronomical, but it's been wonderful."

Edris said her office has been inundated with calls about Miracle, offering financial support and even a home when the puppy regains her health.

But Miracle isn't out of the woods yet.

More than half of the pit bullterrier's tongue has been amputated. She is being fed through an IV. But her mouth also rotted, and now she is losing some of her lips. Her immune system is low, which is why Miracle can't risk receiving visitors.

Dr. Gail Mendenhall won't be able to perform surgery until Miracle has been fully diagnosed. Her bills could exceed $1,500, and if she survives, Miracle will need rehabilitation and constant care.

Among the donations pledged this week, west Pasco businessmen Tommy McCormick, Danny Timmer and Angel Villamil are offering a $700 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

Not that Miracle is holding a grudge.

"As amazing as it is, she still loves humans," Edris said. "When we go back there . . . her little tail goes thump, thump, thump."

What would be even more amazing, Franckewich said, is if he can take Miracle to his home one day. Despite the expense and time required, the carpenter said he can't give her up.

"I work. . . . I work a lot . . . but I do, I want to have her. . . . ," he said. "I would love to be able to have the chance to have her and take care of her. . . .

"How can I not? Basically, she found me."

HOW TO HELP

The Crystal Springs Veterinary Clinic can be reached at (813) 788-4511. The clinic is asking donors to send checks in care of the clinic to P.O. Box 818, Crystal Springs, FL, 33524. The Pasco County Sheriff's Office asks anybody with information about the puppy to call toll-free 1-800-706-2488. For information about the reward, contact Jo-Dan Auto Sales at (727) 846-0446 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
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