This pit bull puppy’s story is a true "Miracle." Get the tissues ready.

By Hilary Braaksma
January 25, 2021
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Officer Jason O'Neal was called to a community dumpster in a Villa Rica, Ga., housing complex early Christmas morning. He had arrived after a resident heard what sounded like crying coming from inside the dumpster while throwing trash away and immediately called 911. O'Neal, a patrol officer with 13 years of experience in law enforcement, heard the same whimpering sound.

"It literally scared me," O'Neal tells Daily Paws. "It was that eerie of a sound."

He inspected the dumpster and found a trash bag with a pit bull puppy and a blanket inside. O'Neal said he feared the worst—the temperature that day was a low of 24 degrees, which made it the area's coldest Christmas Day on record in the past 30 years.

"When I got her out of the trash bag, she was literally frozen." he says. "I just immediately started rubbing her down to warm her up."

miracle pit bull puppy
Credit: Courtesy of Mirie O'Neal

O'Neal and a fellow officer on the scene, McKenzie O'Bannon, discussed what to do with the dying dog. While they waited for animal control services to arrive on the scene, O'Neal made the decision to drive the dog to Atlanta West Veterinary Hospital, where two employees were working Christmas Day, caring for boarded animals.

The employees called the clinic's veterinarian, Stuart Edwin Burnett Jr., DVM, who immediately headed in to treat the young dog. Upon inspection, Burnett estimated the dog was between 8–12 months old and had been severely malnourished before being left in the cold. O'Neal says when they checked the dog's temperature, she was too cold for it to register. They feared she wouldn't make it, even with immediate treatment. But after a series of life-saving efforts, including an emergency blood transfusion, it became clear the pup was going to pull through.

By this point, O'Neal knew he was going to take her home, and he knew what her name would be. He named her Miracle, "like a Christmas Miracle."

"My kids immediately fell in love," O'Neal says. "She's done something to this household. It's crazy."

Today Miracle is thriving at home with her new family, which includes O'Neal, his two children, and a 13-year-old German shepherd. O'Neal says Miracle loves playing with her toys and has quickly made herself at home, and she's been glued to his side since day one. The family maintains an active social media presence dedicated to Miracle with tons of adorable pictures and updates. They've received support and encouragement from people all over the world touched by Miracle's story.

Local law enforcement is looking for anyone who knows information about Miracle's abandonment. O'Neal says the case is being investigated, but there haven't been any public updates so far. We're so inspired by O'Neal's efforts to save Miracle and the decision to give her a loving home. We can't wait to see what this fur-family does next!