Who says mechanics don’t have a heart? Johnny Miceri displayed compassion like no other when an abandoned dog caught his eye.
About a month ago, a client of his shop, Johnny’s Auto & Truck Repair at 111 Reed St., noticed a pup lying near a Dumpster. Wrapped in a curtain, it was seemingly left to fend for itself.
"I didn’t hesitate to go over. I grabbed him instantly," Miceri said of the pooch.
The four-legged friend, unable to walk, readily lapped up bowl after bowl of water while Miceri called wife Margaret to come down and meet his new friend.
"You’ll be all right, boo," Marge, as she is known, said while cuddling the all-American mixed breed in a blanket in an attempt to warm him up.
The couple agreed Boo Boo would be a fitting name for this furry stranger. After nursing Boo Boo until 11 p.m. at the shop, the couple decided to take him home for the night.
Luckily, Dr. Stephen Meister of Society Hill Veterinary Hospital, 501 S. Second St., is a neighbor of the Pennsport couple and was able to give instructions on care. The canine was admitted to the hospital the next morning.
"Boo Boo is just looking for a second chance. He doesn’t have a mean streak in him," Johnny said.
A second chance is exactly what Boo Boo is getting through the hospital and other donors. Entering the hospital March 25, the year-old pup weighed just 22 pounds. According to Meister, a dog of his structure needs to be at least 50 pounds to maintain a healthy weight. Following an exam, it was determined Boo Boo’s inability to walk was the result of living in an area too small for his body.
"Since he was crated for so long he doesn’t understand the concept of sitting or walking," Margaret said.
Along with being underweight due to starvation, Boo Boo has very little muscle capacity. If the Miceris did not come to his rescue, he most likely would not have made it though that exceptionally cold night.
"Everyone has a piece of their heart invested in Boo Boo. Everyone is rooting for him," Margaret said.
The Miceris, who have been married for 10 years, are taking care of Boo Boo’s high medical bills connected with his month-long hospital stay in which he is being treated for severe starvation and lack of muscle. Additional assistance is being provided through donations.
"The community will come together, but you have to let them know what is going on," Margaret said.
Pet-friendly Web sites in Utah and Maryland have posted Boo Boo’s story. The couple are grateful for the national attention, but are not really surprised. Marge added they’re just happy there is awareness in the fight against animal cruelty.
Philadelphia is showing the most support for the pooch, including a CBS3 news feature. Michael Clouston, owner of Michael’s Café at 1623 E. Passyunk Ave., has set up a donation container at his eatery. The veterinary hospital and Johnny’s shop also are accepting donations.
One unique donation has come from Dr. Russell Howe-Smith at PetPT in Cherry Hill, N.J., who is giving Boo Boo free aquatic therapy to move him closer to walking. PetPT usually services dogs recovering from surgery or with other medical issues. Abuse cases, on the other hand, are not part of the normal workload.
"A lot of people cannot afford these services, but I am happy to donate my services in these special situations," Howe-Smith said. "Boo Boo cannot extend his elbows and knees well and we are working with him to build strength in his muscles. I’m dedicated to offering my services as long as it takes to get Boo Boo walking again."
The Miceris drop Boo Boo off three times a week for the hour-long sessions. Boo Boo uses the time to swim and stretch his legs. With the state-of-the-art treatment he is receiving, doctors anticipate he will be back on his paws in four to five weeks. When he fully recovers, he will be ready for adoption.
"I really wish we could keep him. He is a great dog, but with our dog and cats we unfortunately cannot keep Boo Boo," Johnny said, adding their dog doesn’t get along well with other canines.
Society Hill Veterinary Hospital and the Miceris have received many inquiries about Boo Boo. Meister, the hospital team and the Miceris will make a group decision about Boo Boo’s future home.
"We need to make sure Boo Boo is going into a household that understands the responsibilities of caring for a handicapped dog," Johnny said. "Also, Margaret and I want to keep in touch and be able to visit, so someone close to us would be ideal."
With the Miceris by his side, the pooch is getting better with each passing day. Soon enough, Boo Boo will not be able to live up to his name.
"Boo Boo has really brought out the best in everyone," Margaret said.
Donations for Boo Boo’s care may be mailed to or dropped off at Johnny’ Auto & Truck Repair, 111 Reed St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19147. Checks may be made payable to Johnny’s Auto & Truck Repair, C/O The Boo Boo Fund, which be written on the memo line.
For more information, contact Margaret Miceri at firstname.lastname@example.org.