Miami-Dade County

Disabled dog and owner reunited in Miami-Dade thanks to a tip from Cuba

A diaper-wearing disabled dog and its Miami-Dade owner were reunited Wednesday — thanks to a tip from Cuba.

It all began Tuesday when the partially paralyzed, 7-year-old male Schnauzer was found wandering the streets in Northwest Miami-Dade, using its custom-made hind legs wheelchair.

Concerned, a Good Samaritan reported the lost dog to Miami-Dade Animal Services, which issued a public plea for the owner.

“We knew this was a special dog with an owner who loved it,” said Luis Salgado, chief of shelter services.

Several media outlets featured the lost dog story Tuesday, but dog owner, Mireya Fernandez, was on vacation and unaware of the fate of her pup – who, despite its condition, had escaped the night before through a backyard back fence of its caretaker’s home.

Shelter workers briefly dubbed him “Huggies” because, well, he wears diapers.

In a strange stroke of luck, Fernandez granddaughter in Havana was watching a feed from Univision23 and saw the puppy featured on the television news.

“She called her grandmother and told her the lost dog had been on TV and she contacted us right away,’’ Salgado said.

On Wednesday, the Schnauzer, whose real name is Puppy, and its owner were joyfully reunited for Thanksgiving.

“When he saw her, he went crazy. He couldn’t wait to get out of his cage to kiss her,” Salgado said.

And workers learned how Puppy ended up in the wheelchair contraption and the special bond between him and his owner.

Puppy, who Fernandez has had since he was very young, ended up in a doggy wheelchair three years ago after a hernia operation left his two hind legs paralyzed.

“‘The vet told her she would have to put Puppy down, but she wouldn’t do it. She said she wanted to keep him even if he was disabled. That’s when they came up the special wheelchair,’’ Salgado said.

Puppy, Fernandez said, spends his days his wheelchair. At night, she takes it off. Like a baby, Puppy wears Pampers.

After the reunion, Salgado fitted Puppy with a microchip.

“Next time he runs away, his owner can find him right away,” he said.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misspelled the name Luis Salgado, Miami-Dade Aninal Services chief of shelter services.