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The University of Florida in Gainesville

  1. Deformed, Abandoned Puppy Learns to Walk

    This is Harper, a happy and mostly healthy pit bull puppy. However, it was only a few weeks ago that Harper was all but given up for dead. Her story began when Erica Daniel saw a man selling puppies outside a Save-A-Lot. When she approached him, she noticed strange noises coming from a garbage bag the man was holding. After forcing the issue, he opened the bag to reveal a small, deformed dog. This was Harper. Harper has pectus excavatum, or "swimmer puppy syndrome." Dogs with this disorder have a deformed chest cavity, causing them to lie flat on their stomachs and are often unable to even move their heads. Generally, afflicted canines don't live more than three weeks, which was the grim prognosis that Daniel was given when she brought the dog into a Florida animal shelter. With that in mind, Daniel took Harper home for one day of love and care before following the vet's advice and having her euthanized. After that single day, however, Harper had improved dramatically.

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