While not entirely a "feel good story," there is definitely something heartwarming, and awe-inspiring, about a 5-year-old miracle pooch named Daniel who waltzed right out of an Alabama gas chamber, tail wagging, after a failed euthanasia attempt.
The dog, described as a Beagle but more closely resembling a hound-mix, was sent to the chamber with 18 other dogs at an animal shelter on October 3. When the animal control officer returned to the locked chamber and opened it, he found Daniel happily wagging his tail while the other dogs lay dead.
The control officer said he didn't have the heart to put the pup back into the chamber, mainly because he believed Daniel survived for a reason, proving his life must have a bigger purpose.
Now, hundreds of people touched by the story are vying to adopt Daniel and make sure he is never sent back to the kill-shelter.
He found a temporary home in Tennessee with Karen Rudolph, who runs Schnauzer Savers Rescue of West Tennessee with her husband Michael.
Rudolph dubbed him Daniel, inspired by the biblical story of Daniel, who walked out of a lion's den unscathed. Eleventh Hour Rescue, which brought Daniel to New Jersey with the help of Pilots and Paws, gave the dog the last name "Milagro," meaning miracle in Spanish.
What is perhaps most incredible, is that Daniel received a clean bill of health from the veterinarian.
"Amazingly, not only did he survive the gas chamber which is very rare … he was not sick," Rudolph said. "It was almost as though angels pulled him out of there and he didn't even breathe the gas."
At 20 pounds, Daniel is underweight and his immune system is slightly compromised, but otherwise he is in good health, Eleventh Hour Rescue president Linda Schiller said. Schiller's group is trying to find a home for Daniel.
The beagle is now staying with Eleventh Hour volunteer Jill Pavlik until the organization finds an appropriate home for him.
Schiller isn't worried about finding a new home for Daniel, who is highly adoptable due to his celebrity status. In fact, just an hour after the Star Ledger newspaper first covered the story, Schiller had received over 200 emails from readers interested in Daniel, and the attention hasn't slowed down since.
But she hopes at least some of the applicants will be interested in adopting other dogs.
"We have dogs that are just as wonderful as him that were on death row, but didn't walk out of a gas chamber," Schiller said. "They're happy and they're wagging their tails and ready to be adopted."
Would you like to adopt Daniel?