Dog who survived waterfall finds a home

PHILADELPHIA - September 14, 2009 Derek Abrams, her new owner, is also a bartender at the nearby Waterworks Restaurant. He was among the first to see what Action News viewers saw exclusively on 6abc: A dog struggling to stay afloat the bottom of a waterfall on the Schuylkill River.

RELATED VIDEO: Watch the dog's rescue from the river

Abrams said he had never seen the dog before, but felt an instant connection with her as he watched her extraordinary struggle to survive.

"When she went down, when she went over the falls, my general manager and myself, we walked away because of the water rushing down, hitting on top of her, I just thought there was no way she could survive," Abrams said.

Despite spending all that time in the river, and badly injuring her paws, she did survive.

Now, more than two and a half weeks later, the dog now named "River" is all but fully recovered.

"She responded to all of our treatments really well, she was on a lot of IV medication," said Dr. Kim Russell of the Pennsylvania SPCA. "She doesn't seem to have any residual damage, which is amazing."

Action News has now learned that Derek and his girlfriend Megan Kearney have officially adopted "River."

Animal welfare officials say River was likely part of a dog-fighting ring, and was probably tossed away when she was deemed no longer useful.

Derek's boss says, despite what happened, this is not a sad story.

"Something special happened that day, and in the world that we live I don't think there are many good stories like this one," said Michael Karloustos.

Abrams said River will have a good home.

"When we get her home we'll work with her. It'll take time, but she's going to pull through."

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