Two Men Rescue Puppy Wrapped in Weighted Trash Bag in Frozen Creek

Combined Shape

One of the easiest ways to mindfully shop for gifts during the holidays is to get wish lists from the people you’re shopping for. If you don’t know the person well enough, you run the risk of getting presents that will awkwardly show up in White Elephant gift exchanges later on.

But when you get lists, there are often big-ticket items that either parents or significant others are expected to deliver on. And what is one of the most common items on some well-meaning people’s lists? A puppy.

If you’re in a gift-giving position, please take this story to heart. People who buy or receive puppies at Christmas are often (not always) unprepared for the work involved in finding a suitable pup and raising it properly.

Backyard breeders and puppy mills bet on this increased demand during the holidays, and up their “production” to meet that demand. The result is puppies who may have health issues or are carelessly bred and treated like merchandise.

While it’s not certain that that was this puppy’s story, the evidence lines up. The little dog appears to be a border collie or Australian shepherd, but she’s known as what’s called a “Double Merle.”

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You’ve probably seen dogs that have merle coat patterns: It’s when a dog has a mixture of colors swirled together. Great Danes have this coloring, as do collies and other breeds. It’s striking, but when two merle dogs are bred together, they can produce double merle pups. These puppies are usually born mostly white and are generally blind and/or deaf.

While they can pop up in breedings that are not merle x merle, the most common cause is that risky pairing. Though they can live full lives, they need a little extra understanding and care, and aren’t as marketable as healthy puppies.

Someone decided that this pup needed to be disposed of, and they chose one of the oldest methods in the book. Drowning.

On Dec. 11, Casey Hardin, Darren Jackson and Stanley Hisel were walking along when they saw something concerning in a frozen creek. A puppy — or rather, a puppy’s head sticking out of the water.

Surprisingly, the puppy was alive. According to the Scott County Animal Shelter she’d been placed in a trash bag, and that bag had been placed inside another bag with rocks in it. They’re guessing she was tossed into the water, as the bag was “wedged under some ice.”

Casey Hardin trudged through the cold water to reach the puppy, and took her to the shelter, where she was warmed up, fed and dubbed “Chapel” (perhaps because that was the name of one of the streets where she was found).

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“The puppy just got back to the shelter, and after getting her belly full, she’s taking a nap,” read an update on the shelter’s post. “We think she’s going to make a full recovery, her prognosis is good!?”

“She has a congenital defect of her eyes. We will keep her under watch for several days to be sure. Currently, we do not need a foster home, or a rescue and the puppy is not available for adoption. Watch for updates on our FB.”

“Sweet Chapel is doing great, today!” the shelter posted on Dec. 12. “She will be going to Speak for the Unspoken Rescue. A big thank you to them and to everyone for all your kind, positive comments! Hopefully, we will find the person who did this soon!”

Not all pups are as fortunate as Chapel, but you can help by not buying puppies during this time of year.

There are plenty of programs out there that will let you adopt or even foster needy dogs over the holidays — and what’s better than bringing some holiday cheer to a dog who could really use it?

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking