Garbage man rescues puppy from trash bag, adopts him

Nadine Kalinauskas
Good News

Last Wednesday, an Indiana sanitary worker rescued a freezing, starving 6-week-old puppy from a trash bag.

After warming the pup as best he could, Muncie Sanitary District employee Mike Upchurch took the canine for emergency care at the Westview Animal Clinic.

"I got him out of the bag, and I was kind of in shock," Upchurch told the Indy Star. "I couldn't believe it."

Thanks to a remarkably speedy recovery, the little dog now has a new home with Upchurch and his family. They named him Garby.

"[Mike] was telling me about it, and I could tell he was really excited," Shelley Upchurch told the Star Press. "It's been great. I'm just happy that [Garby] is safe and alive and we're going to treat him really well."

Upchurch's sister, Melissa Blair, is the director of Muncie's Animal Rescue Fund.

"I was not surprised because my brother, he's a great guy, and that's just the kind of guy that he is," Blair said. "The best part is I'll always be able to see him and keep tabs on him and know that he's doing great."

This Thursday, Upchurch found a note taped to a green trash bin:

"From fellow dog lovers.... Thank you Muncie Sanitation and Mike Upchurch! You are appreciated!!"

The woman allegedly responsible for tossing little Garby in the trash — she claims she thought the dog had parvo, a contagious and sometimes-deadly virus — has been cited. She faces the possibility of criminal charges.

"Its blood sugar was so low that it had caused it to maybe pass out. She had the idea that the dog passed away because it wasn’t moving," Phil Peckinpaugh, director of the Muncie Animal Shelter, said of the dog's previous owner's motives for tossing him in the trash.

"This is an extremely lucky puppy because it's just amazing that (Upchurch) actually heard that over the loud truck and all the other traffic," Peckinpaugh told the Indy Star. "It's extremely lucky that it wasn't put into the truck and put into the compactor."

Upchurch says Garby has quickly adapted to his new home:

"He's running around and checking everything out," Upchurch said. "He's already head of the household."