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Dog That Defied Odds Teaches About Pet Ownership


FRANKLIN, Ind. — A four-legged ambassador walks the halls of Johnson County classrooms. She has a lesson to teach with each wag of her tail — one that Humane Society officials hope breeds a new generation of responsible pet owners.

Mira, a three-year-old mastiff-German shepherd mix, shouldn’t even be here. Born to an ill mother dog that died shortly after giving birth, she and her litter mates were taken to an animal shelter and euthanized, their bodies put in barrels in a freezer so they could be disposed of later.

But Mira — whose name is derived from the word miracle — survived. She was found alive in the Rush County shelter’s freezer four days after receiving what turned out to be too small a dose of the barbiturate that was intended to kill her. A shelter worker who was ordered to take the puppy to a veterinarian to be euthanized instead gave her a warm bath, had her examined and then sent the dog to a new home.

Three years later, Mira tours classrooms in Johnson County to teach children about taking care of their pets, Johnson County Humane Society board president Vicki Palmore told the Daily Journal. The dog accompanies volunteer educators who talk to children and adults about the bond between people and their pets, about why they should adopt if they want a pet and how they should spay or neuter their pets to reduce the number of unwanted animals facing a fate like Mira did.

After Mira’s case, an investigation found that euthanasia procedures weren’t followed properly at the Rush County shelter. Rushville reassigned its shelter warden to the town street department as a result.

That’s all behind Mira, who weaves through rows of children who want to pet her or slides between a volunteer’s legs when she’s being talked about.

“Above all, we try to stress that pet ownership is a commitment that comes with responsibility and lasts for the life of the animal,” Palmore said. “It’s not something that should be taken lightly, since there are far more animals than there are homes that will accept and love them.”

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Michael Haslam
12 years ago

A miracle that keeps on giving.


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