Miracle dog survives after being 'eaten alive' by maggots

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"Miracle"- Before and after (Source: Maricopa County Animal Care and Control) "Miracle"- Before and after (Source: Maricopa County Animal Care and Control)
Miracle when she was first brought in, covered in maggots (Source: Maricopa County Animal Care and Control) Miracle when she was first brought in, covered in maggots (Source: Maricopa County Animal Care and Control)
"Miracle" getting some TLC at MCACC (Source: Maricopa County Animal Care and Control) "Miracle" getting some TLC at MCACC (Source: Maricopa County Animal Care and Control)
"Miracle" (Source: Maricopa County Animal Care and Control) "Miracle" (Source: Maricopa County Animal Care and Control)
"Miracle" getting some snuggles from her foster mom(Source: Maricopa County Animal Care and Control) "Miracle" getting some snuggles from her foster mom(Source: Maricopa County Animal Care and Control)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

It's a miracle that a little stray dog is alive after what officials call one of the worst cases of animal injury they've seen in a long time.

On Thursday, someone discovered the tiny Shi Tzu huddled underneath a warm car in south Phoenix and called Maricopa County Animal Care and Control.

The dog was literally being eaten alive by maggots. 

"What we found was something out of a horror movie," said Jose Santiago with MCACC. "Our team has NEVER seen an animal as infested with maggots as this little girl was. She was truly being eaten alive."

The maggots were mainly on the dog's face.

When the vet started to shave her, one of her eyes ruptured.

The dog was extremely malnourished, and she was near death. "She was as close to death as you can imagine," said Santiago.

But the folks at MCACC pulled off a holiday miracle.

"Our medical team was determined. If this little girl had survived this long in this condition we were going to do EVERYTHING we could to save her," said Santiago. 

"My impression of her was she still had a little fight left in her," said Dr. Leo Egar, MCACC vet. 

The 7-year-old dog, who has now actually been named "Miracle," is responding, eating, and acting very sweet and loving, despite what she's been through.

Although she will be completely blind, she is not timid.

"To see this animal now, you would not believe she was as close to death as possible," Santiago told us.

Little Miracle was doing so well by Saturday, she was able to go into foster care. Her foster mom (one of the MCACC techs) says the dog is housebroken, gets along with both her child and her other pets. She  also loves to be held

"She's up; she's eating. She's running around. She's playing with my dog," said Rachel Dixon, Miracle's foster mom. "She's an awesome dog. She's really good."

Miracle still has some recovery ahead, but staffers are confident she will survive and be a wonderful dog for a special family

"Our team debated if euthanizing was the best solution for a dog in this shape but she was a fighter, and we fought for her," said Santiago. "Although she doesn’t look “perfect” she looks a million times better than when she was brought in."

It's not clear whether she was abused, neglected, or simply a stray.

"We have no idea what this little girl's story is. She could have been on the run," said Dr. Egar. "She could have been looking for her family for months and months."

Everyone agrees that it's simply amazing how well Miracle is doing.

"We are absolutely thrilled and heart-warmed that she pulled through," said Dr. Egar.

"A lot of times, people feel like if an animal comes to the County shelter, it's like a death sentence for them. And that's not the case," said Santiago. "Our folks here really do care about the animals that come to us. They do everything we can to save them. This is a situation where most vets would have given up and our vet didn't."

If you'd like to help animals in need, contact :
Maricopa County Animal Care and Control
(West Valley)
2500 South 27th Avenue
Phoenix AZ 85009
Phone: 602-506-7387

(East Valley)
2630 W Rio Salado Parkway
Loop 101 / Rio Salado Parkway
Mesa, AZ 85201?
Phone: 602-506-7387??

Visit: www.maricopa.gov/3560/Animal-Care-and-Control

Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

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