By Leisa Zigman
St. Louis (KSDK) - It was a heartbreaking animal rescue involving 60 dogs. They were hoarded, abused, and neglected. In fact, one dog was in such bad shape, doctors at the Humane Society of Missouri called it the worst case of neglect they had ever seen.
Dr. Steven Schwartz is the Humane Society's Veterinary Director and treated the dogs when they arrived in October of 2010. The dog they named Marshall, was near death. Dr. Schwartz recalled, "Immediately when I saw him I was aghast."
Marshall had bite marks all over his body and a hole on the side of his face the size of a tennis ball.
"How could anyone in the world, have let a dog get to this point," said Dr. Schwartz.
Mass infection forced the medical team to amputate one of his legs. Shortly after, Marshall's heart stopped. In fact, doctors would need to revive him twice that night.
Dr. Schwartz said, "Marshall made up his mind that he was given a second chance and he was going to make the most of it."
That second chance came when Cynthia Willenbrock adopted him. She never cared for a special needs dog before but said she was afraid no one else would want him. She said Marshall changed her life. He would wake up in the middle of the night having nightmares. She said his stump and other leg would move as if he was running from something and he would whimper throughout the night.
She wondered, "What was your story?" She wasn't sure, but she knew he was neglected and possibly bullied by the other dogs at the hoarder's home. She started writing a book about Marshall.
Willenbrock explained, "He was afraid of my reaction when I first saw him (at the adoption). And then when I came up and kissed his nose he says in the book "Oh my gosh!" She loves me exactly as I am, and I love her exactly as she is."
The book is powerfully illustrated by Lauren Heimbaugh.
And, it is about to be published as children's book.
Marshall now works as a therapy dog and has helped hundreds of local children.
Willenbrock heads to L.A. next week. Producers will soon start casting for the movie about Marshall the Miracle Dog.
The book will be published in four days, but you can pre-order on Marshall's website which is all about anti-bullying.
If you want to meet Marshall, he'll be at the Humane Society of Missouri August 26th from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. at the main auditorium, 1201 Macklind Avenue in St. Louis.
Cyndi will be there too for a book signing.