New Leash on Life: Local Woman Saves Sick Puppy

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AKRON, Ohio—When Janice Mayfield got an e-mail a few weeks ago, and saw a picture of a puppy, she knew she had to do something.

"There was a photo of her on the dog pound floor, with her legs just limp, and she was just looking up at the camera," Mayfield said.

Mayfield, founder of Paws with Pride in Green, saw a picture of four-month-old beagle Sydney, who needed help.

"I thought, 'She's going to die today if I don't take her,' " Mayfield said. "They would have euthanized the dog that day."

Sydney was born without hip sockets, and a prior owner had kept the dog and several other puppies in cages for months.

"She didn't have any use of her back legs at all," Mayfield said. "She actually took her front legs and drug her back end."

This week, a group of other animal enthusiasts helped bring Sydney from Kentucky to Ohio, even flying the pup on a private plane to the area.

Veterinarian William Sigler says the dog's condition is rare.

"I've never seen of this one being so serious in a dog over my career, and I've been practicing since 1978," said Sigler, who owns Sigler Animal Hospital in Akron. "This could be a hereditary defect, or this could be related to the breeder who had it originally, feeding it an all-meat diet."

Sydney has come a long way on her journey. Mayfield said the dog has started to walk for the first time.

Mayfield plans to take Sydney to a medical team at Ohio State University to be further examined.

Hip surgery may help the beagle, but Sigler said she might be too young to treat.

"If you try to start restructuring this pelvis, you might end up with more problems than what you have right now," he said.

Mayfield said if they do pursue surgery, it could cost thousands of dollars and months of rehabilitation.

Eventually, she hopes to nurse Sydney back to health and find her a forever home.

"She's sweet. She doesn't bark. She's starting to play now," Mayfield said. "We'll put her up for adoption, and she'll get a good home, hopefully."