Heroic Dog Wags his Way into Hearts of Children

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COLUMBIA - A dog dubbed "Marshall the Miracle Dog" and his owner met with children in Columbia Saturday to share his story of survival.

When rescue workers from the Missouri Humane Society first found Marshall in an abandoned property with more than 60 other dogs, he had bite marks all over his body, a broken front leg, and a hole on the side of his face the size of a tennis ball.

The Humane Society's Veterinary Director said Marshall's condition was the worst the organization had ever seen. Marshall died three times on the operating table, and doctors had to amputate his front leg.

St. Louis resident Cyndi Willenbrock learned about Marshall from the Humane Society's website.

"I just knew I had to have him. Who's going to want a dog that has a huge scar on his face?"

Willenbrock wrote a children's picture book told from Marshall's point of view. She says people are drawn to Marshall's story because of its universal themes of tolerance and acceptance.

"I think that there's a place in all of us... a place of inadequacy, of feeling different, of maybe looking different, and that awkwardness of growing up, that [children] feel a natural connection to Marshall.

Willenbrock says Marshall's will soon hit the silver screen, as movie plans are in the works. He also works as a therapy dog helping special needs children.