Opinion Brief

The dog that rose from the dead

Mia, an 11-year-old Rottweiler, came back to life after being put to sleep by vets. How did this happen?

The video: Matt Olivarez's 11-year-old Rottweiler, Mia, was unable to walk properly due to spinal problems, and veterinarians told him it would be best to euthanize her. Olivarez, who lives in Michigan, made the difficult decision to have the ailing dog put to sleep, then put her body in his backyard, where he planned to bury her. But the next day he found Mia waiting for her water bowl to be refilled, after awakening from what was supposed to be her final rest. Officials at the Westcott Veterinary Care Center explained that the drug dosage likely had not been strong enough. Now, Olivarez, 27, says he is reluctant to try the lethal procedure again. "I don't know if I could do it a second time," said Olivarez.
The reaction: The prospect of failed or "partial" euthanasia is "nightmare worthy," says veterinarian Patty Khuly at her Fully Vetted blog. But pet lovers will be relieved to know it is extremely rare. Vets have a checklist of signs of life to check for, and are usually very strict about it. In fact, "I'm fresh out of ideas for how this might have happened." What seems likely is that "Mia was under-dosed, and her vitals were not adequately assessed post euthanasia." Despite the "many potentially troubling aspects of this story," says Chris Rovzar at New York, "it sounds like a happy miracle." Let's just "leave it at that." Watch an AP report about Mia's story:

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