Michael Upchurch used to not think too much about what was in the bags of trash he dumped everyday as a garbage man. Then last week he saw something moving in one of the bags. Upchurch stopped the truck from crushing the bag and saved a 6-week-old puppy.
Last Wednesday Upchurch was working collecting garbage in Muncie, Indiana when he and his coworker, who was also riding on the back of the truck, heard whimpering. They both thought the noise was coming from each other, and then Upchurch spotted something. “Out of the corner of my eye in the bag, it was a blue recycle bag by the way, I seen his head moving. I said ‘Stop the truck,’” Upchurch recalled. “It was a terrible sound. This ole’ doggy here hollering. ‘Save me.’ I guess in doggy talk.”
Upchurch pulled the puppy out. The puppy looked frozen so Upchurch did what he could to warm him up, taking him into the truck and blasting the heat. “I turned on the heat right here with the heat on full blast,” said Upchurch. The puppy was then rushed to the Westview Animal Clinic for emergency care. The puppy has made a speedy recovery and is now at home with his rescuer and new owner Upchurch.
Upchurch has given the puppy the name Garby. “I knew I had to adopt him,” said Upchurch. He and his wife had been discussing getting a new puppy for a while and are thrilled to have Garby safe at home with them. “It’s been great. I’m just happy that (Garby) is safe and alive and we’re going to treat him really well,” said Upchurch’s wife Shelley.
Upchurch’s sister is also happy for her brother and Garby. She is the director of Muncie’s Animal Rescue Fund and is not surprised at all by her brother’s actions. “I was not surprised because my brother, he’s a great guy, and that’s just the kind of guy that he is,” she said.
The woman responsible for throwing Garby away is being investigated by the city’s Criminal Investigations Division. She allegedly admitted to previously throwing away two or three other puppies. She told the director of the Muncie Animal Shelter, Phil Peckinpaugh, that she thought the puppy was suffering from PARVO and had died when she put it in the trash. Peckinpaugh says she has been cited with animal neglect and animal cruelty.
After this experience Upchurch is concerned about what might be in other trash bags. He hopes people learn from this, “I kinda hope this will make people think a second before they do this ’cause there’s so much help out there.”