A modest appeal to save an Iraq War veteran's severely injured dog has prompted an outpouring of support from animal lovers around the world, garnering enough donations to help other pets in need as well.
After being hit by a snow plow truck on Dec. 18, 3-year-old Australian Shepard Molly was brought to the vet in Manchester, N.H., with four broken legs.
"From a veterinary standpoint, I don't understand how this dog survived," Dr. Deborah Kelloway, owner of the Center for Advanced Veterinary Care, told ABC News today. "To have a force strong enough to break both front legs, it should have hit the heart. It's nothing short of a miracle before Christmas."
The syringe to euthanize Molly was right beside her, when Kelloway asked for an X-ray of Molly's back. Because Molly's back wasn't broken, there was still a chance for a full recovery, she said.
But Molly's owner, an Iraq war veteran, didn't have the money to properly care for Molly's surgery and recovery.
"We talked to Molly's owner and asked if he would surrender her to us," Kelloway said. When an owner surrenders their animal to the center, the owner must forfeit all rights and the animal is placed solely in the care of the center.
Though Molly's owner was visibly upset, he agreed to surrender Molly, not realizing how it would benefit not only Molly's care, but the care for many other animals that are struggling too.
Molly's owner declined to be identified, Kelloway said.
Kelloway sent an email to a small group of devoted donors who have come to her in the past offering help and aid. However, the message quickly spread and the generosity poured in.
An outside rescue group called Got Orphans Transport created a GoFundMe account to start raising awareness for Molly. Included in the fundraiser was a detailed post from Kelloway.
"This man came to us with no money, no plan and no expectation," the post reads. "I want to give a veteran something wonderful for Christmas … his dog. Will you help me get the word out?"
A post on All Better Pets Facebook page, a nonprofit organization created two years ago by the center for abandoned, injured and homeless pets, also helped to raise awareness. Employees from the center continue updating All Better Pets' social media sites with blog posts, including photos and videos, detailing Molly's recovery.
Donations began pouring in and the initial goal of $10,000 was met just one day later. Now, Molly's miracle is helping other animals too.
All donations that continue to come in will be used for future animals in need of care, Kelloway said. Over $42,000 has been raised so far. In addition, much needed medical equipment has also been donated.
"It was going to be my gift to [the veteran] and it turned out to be everyone's gift back to him," Kelloway said. Molly "will make it easier for us when the next pet comes through in a similar situation."
Molly underwent successful surgery on Saturday and is in recovery, said Kelloway, who expects Molly to go home in two weeks after undergoing physical therapy.
Molly's owner has been visiting every day and has been touched by the response, she said.
"Molly's accident turned out to be a blessing for the shelter and it changed this guy's life," Kelloway said. "People have shown compassion and mercy and I think nothing in his life has ever happened like this."