Meet Miles. When Miles was about 2 months old he was brought into a local Veterinary office in Arizona by a couple of good samaritans. The doctors in the back of the office could hear his screams of pain and ran out and immediately administered pain relief and a sedative. They could see that his two front legs were broken and one was wrapped with a home-made coat hanger and gauze. After further examination, the doctors noticed that the breeder/owner attempted to repair the lacerations with a needle and thread and glue which created more pain and infection for his wounds that had been untreated for days. The Phoenix New Times later reported that the breeder/owner, Lyman Kenneth Morkunas, allegedly bragged to the good samaritan couple about beating Miles with a 16 pound sledge hammer to break a fight up between an adult dog and 2 month old Miles. As of this blog post, it is unknown what, if any charges are pending against him in Maricopa County.
Miles was in such terrible shape with multiple fractures, shattered bones, and infection that the doctors considered euthanasia. They contacted Panacea Animal Wellness Sanctuary (PAWS), a nonprofit organization founded by veteranarian Dr. Eva Decozio-Bush and Michele Elek to see if they could take him under their wings, which they did. They immediately started putting together a plan to help Miles. The specialized surgeries needed to save his legs were going to cost $5,000. PAWS was able to get him featured on local news stations and through the amazing support of the community, the money was raised. Following multiple surgeries, the surgeons were able to save one of his legs, but determined that it was in Miles’ best interest to amputate his left leg to minimize long term complications and improve his quality of life.
Hearing the news of Miles’ amputation, Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics, the company behind the prosthetic in the inspiring Dolphin Tale movie, reached out to PAWS and offered to create and donate a prosthetic for Miles. Thomas, a Certified Patient Advocate at Hanger, working closely with Miles and an amputee himself, asked PAWS if he could be involved in Miles’ adoption process. Since Miles was a puppy, he would be needing modifications to his prosthetic as he grew and Thomas wanted to make sure his new home was a good fit for his needs. Thomas had also grown quite close to Miles during their time together.
It was finally adoption day for Miles and he headed back to the local news stations. Most hadn’t seen him since his original visit to ask for help to pay for his surgeries and were excited to have him back to announce that he was ready for adoption. Dr. Eva and Michele from PAWS were ready and waiting for the phones to start ringing off the hook, yet they were silent. They called each other to see if their phones were working and they were. There were so many people interested in Miles when he was first on television and they couldn’t understand the silence. “Was it because the camera panned to him when he was licking himself?” they joked. That’s when the big light bulb went off and Michele called Thomas from Hanger to tell him. “We didn’t get one call Thomas. You know what that means, don’t you? He’s supposed to be with you, Thomas.” Thomas agreed that Miles belonged with him. Thomas had fallen quite in love with Miles over the course of his evaluations and fittings and knew was meant to be with him.
Miles adoption to Thomas is now official! To make this new beginning even better…….Miles is now being trained as a therapy dog so he can go to work every day with Thomas to help and inspire other amputees.
Disclosure: I recently joined Panacea Animal Wellness Sanctuary as a member of their Board.