‘Miracle Dog’ Survives Gas Chamber, Now Up for Adoption in NJ

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Daniel the beagle is getting a new “leash” on life.

The 5-year-old pup has gone from being a stray on the streets of Alabama to the most wanted dog on the Internet after he miraculously survived the gas chamber at an overcrowded shelter in Florence, Ala.

Daniel was set to be euthanized along with 18 other dogs on October 3. He entered the chamber with four other unlucky pups, but when an animal control officer returned after the standard 17 minute cycle to retrieve the bodies, there stood Daniel, alive and well, tail wagging.

Dubbed the “miracle dog” by the shelter staff, it was apparent that Daniel deserved a second chance at finding his “furever” home. He was checked out by a veterinarian and found to be in good health, so after a brief stay at a foster home in Tennessee, Daniel made the trip to Eleventh Hour Rescue in New Jersey, where he is now up for adoption.

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Rachel Schiller, president of Eleventh Hour, told ABC News that she isn’t worried about Daniel getting adopted. He is famous now, after all. As of Friday afternoon, she had received more than 200 emails from people who are interested in adopting him.

It’s certainly been a ruff road for Daniel, but in the end, he’s one of the lucky ones. According to the Humane Society, six to eight million animals are brought to shelters every year. Of them, more than four million end up being euthanized.

“We have dogs that are just as wonderful as [Daniel] that were on death row, but didn’t walk out of a gas chamber,” Schiller told ABC News. “They’re happy and they’re wagging their tales and ready to be adopted.”

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Schiller hopes that Daniel’s story will bring awareness to the practice of gassing unwanted animals — where carbon monoxide is pumped into a sealed space, eventually suffocating the animals. While the practice is currently approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association, 18 states have passed bans on gassing in some form, according to the Humane Society. In fact, Alabama recently passed legislation to ban gassing, as well, but the law is not yet in effect.

We hope that Daniel’s death-defying ability not only helps him find a happy home, but also convinces more people to adopt from local shelters. Your new best friend is waiting.

Erin Skarda is a reporter at TIME. Find her on Twitter at @ErinLeighSkarda. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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