It was December 20, 2013 when a Recology staffer rescued a wounded, two-month-old puppy just moments before she was dumped off a conveyor belt from a truckload of recyclables. At first, officials weren't even sure if she'd recover from her injuries: bite marks around her neck, head and ears, lameness in her hind legs and discharge in her eyes and ears. But here we are, a year later, and Gem's all better, and has been giving back as a “spokesdog” for pet adoption.
It was a story that haunted many of us. Gem, an apricot-colored poodle, was discovered by a Recology staffer who saw something moving in a bag in a truckload of bottles, cans and other recyclables, San Francisco Animal Care and Control said at the time.
After more than a month of recovery (and an insanely adorable photo shoot), Gem had bounced back and was ready to head home. The only problem? Over 200 people wanted to adopt the pup.
To choose her forever home, ACC held a lottery and, amazingly, Recology staffer Patricia Aleman was the lucky winner. She told Bay City News last January that "her supervisors at Recology have granted her permission to bring Gem to work with her and that the whole staff is looking forward to getting to know Gem...it will be meaningful to all Recology employees to spend time with the dog that they helped rescue from their very own facility."
A year later, KTVU caught up with Aleman and Gem, and the news is great! "There are no signs of the physical injuries or psychological trauma Gem endured as a two-month-old puppy before she was rescued," they report.
In fact, Gem's doing so well that she's been spending time "taking part in parades, fundraisers, galas and benefits," all as the poster dog for pet adoption, as well as to raise dough for the organization that cared for her. So far, she's scared up $3,500 for SF's ACC.
“I love the fact that Gem and I can do something good and give back,” Aleman told KTVU. “It's meaningful for me because I know it's meaningful for the dogs that are still at the shelter.”
Previously: Trashpuppies and Catnappers: Your Animal News Roundup
Photos: 'Trash Puppy' Gem Fully Recovered, Awaiting Adoption