This time of year, delivery drivers are rushing around, darting in and out of their trucks as they race to drop off packages for the holidays. But one UPS driver picked up a very special package this week on his route in rural Missouri.
He was heading down the highway when he thought he saw something alongside the road. Not sure if he was right or not, he decided to stop, just in case. He found a tiny white puppy nearly hidden in the snow.
He warmed up the little dog in his truck and took it to the local shelter, where they soon discovered that the young Australian shepherd was hearing and vision impaired. She’s likely a double merle.
Merle is a beautiful swirled pattern in a dog's coat. Some disreputable breeders will breed two merles together in hopes of getting popular merle puppies. Those puppies have a 25% chance of being double merle — which results in a predominantly white coat and usually means they have hearing or vision loss or both.
When double merle puppies are born, they are often discarded.
'We see this all the time'
Fortunately, for this little one, a guardian angel in a delivery truck saved the day.
At the shelter, they knew the puppy would need special care. They reached out to Speak! St. Louis, a rescue that specializes in blind and/or deaf dogs. Volunteers at Speak quickly agreed to take in the miracle puppy; they named her Starla.
The shelter has to hold Starla for a few days just in case someone claims her, but no one really thinks that will happen.
In the meantime, she is being treated for all sorts of worms, which is typical for a puppy. Fortunately she has tested negative for parvo, an often-lethal disease found in young puppies.
"We see this all the time," Judy Duhr, director of Speak, tells MNN. "These puppies are cast aside because of their preventable disabilities. But they deserve to live a happy and healthy life just like any other dog. Society needs to see their worth."