“Her spirit is almost angelic,” says Mary Chirnside, owner of a white German Shepherd Dog named Marnina from Nebraska. Marnina’s personality is all the more amazing when you hear about her past.
Heather Unruh, assistant general manager at Hearts United for Animals, an animal rescue and welfare group, received a phone call from a woman who reported that there were eight puppies on her property and that the pups’ mother had disappeared.
Unruh knew she needed to help “when the woman said the dog had been on her property for three years, but that it wasn’t her dog.” She found the three-legged Marnina emaciated and covered in blood. But she came right up to Unruh, who loaded the dog and her puppies into her car and headed back to HUA.
The veterinarian treating Marnina guessed that she had probably lost her left hind paw and ankle when caught in a trap.
Despite all her hardship, it didn’t take long for Marnina to become HUA’s “office dog,” greeting everyone who came in the building. “She always had a smile on her face,” says Unruh. In July 2004, Marnina greeted her new owners: Chirnside and her 21-year-old son.
“She is pet therapy,” says Chirnside, a nurse in a nearby Nebraska hospital. “Nursing is emotionally draining. She seems to make it alright. I am thankful she’s part of my life.”
Jennifer Quasha is a DOG FANCY contributing editor and author of Don’t Pet a Pooch While He’s Pooping: Etiquette for Dogs and Their People (BowTie Press, 2004, $8.95). She lives in Connecticut.