Dog thrown from motel balcony gets new lease of life as veteran’s service dog

Miracle the german shepherd with a big smile
(Image credit: Volusia Sheriffs Office)

A young German Shepherd made headlines last December when a video of the pup being thrown off a balcony in Daytona Beach went viral, and now she’s back with happier news – she’s been adopted and will soon start her new life as a service dog for a military veteran. Following the incident, a judge has ruled that previous owner Allison Murphy is unable to look after her and has granted a petition for the dog to be rehomed. Murphy now faces criminal charges and has been banned from owning animals for five years.

Volusia County law enforcement was called to a motel in Daytona Beach in December 2020 after reports of a woman standing on a second-floor balcony and threatening to jump. When sheriffs arrived at the scene, Murphy picked up the dog and threw her over the railing instead. Amazingly, the pup landed on her feet and ran off. Onlookers caught her, and she was taken to a local animal hospital for treatment. She escaped with no serious injuries, a feat that earned her the nickname ‘Miracle’. 

Miracle has been living in the care of a foster family since December. As a young registered service dog she still has a lot of love and support to give, and Animal Services has now found her a new home with a military veteran in need of an assistance animal. Service dogs can be invaluable to veterans, helping those with injuries and physical disabilities with tasks like opening doors, operating switches, retrieving items and barking for help. They also provide comfort and emotional support for veterans living with service-related PTSD and other mental health issues. 

In a statement released by Volusia County, Animal Services Director Adam Leath thanked those who helped give Miracle’s story a happy ending: “We’re gratified that working with our law enforcement partners, we were able to intervene and protect Miracle from any further harm. The teamwork between Animal Services and law enforcement around the county continues to be a true community partnership that’s providing help and resources for our four-legged and two-legged companions alike.”

Vicky Williams

Victoria is a writer, author and communicator with a background in science and has recently completed an MSc in Science Communication. She also has a degree in Evolutionary Biology and has written for magazines including World of Animals, How It Works and Science+Nature. She grew up with rabbits and a spaniel, and has had her horse, Bernie, for 11 years.