It was one year ago that Riverside resident David Loop noticed what he thought was a dead dog in the middle of the street as he drove through Riverside. As Loop gently moved the small, dirty white dog to the sidewalk, it blinked. The dog was barely alive and badly injured with a broken pelvis, broken femur and head trauma.
“July 31, a Friday, that’s the day I saw her laying in the road. That’s the day my life changed,” said Loop, who rushed the injured Maltese he named Miracle to a vet for emergency treatment. Miracle eventually recovered and is now Loop’s cherished pet as well as a symbol of hope and compassion to animal lovers.
On Saturday, Loop hosted a catered birthday party for Miracle at Rancho Jurupa Park in Riverside to thank supporters who have followed Miracle’s journey on social media. About 75 guests from throughout Southern California attended the party and a handful came from out of state. They enjoyed sandwiches, salads, cupcakes and other goodies. Canine guests had special cakes baked just for them.
“I never in my life thought I’d have a birthday party for my dog,” Loop said, adding that he hopes the party raises awareness of animal rescue. Loop is the president of Sierra Pacific Fur Babies, a nonprofit animal rescue organization he founded in late 2012.
Kim Waybourn, of La Mirada, and Alice Lohrum, of Whittier, were among the guests who first heard about Miracle’s survival story on Facebook. Both women are animal lovers and said they have followed Miracle’s story — and Loop’s latest animal-rescue efforts — ever since. Both women said they couldn’t wait to meet Miracle in person.
“I’d come see her before I’d come see Brad Pitt,” Lohrum said.
She praised Loop for his compassion and caring.
“For someone to take the time to do what he has done is a miracle,” she said.
Waybourn said about Loop, “We think of him as a celebrity. He’s a hero.”
Jan Christensen, who also learned about Miracle on Facebook, attended from Minnesota. When asked what makes Miracle a special dog, Christensen said, “Just the miracle of her survival.”
Loop estimates that over the years, he has saved 200 to 300 animals, mostly cats. A full-time electrical contractor and electrician, Loop maintains a facility for rescued cats on the property of his business in Riverside, Sierra Pacific Electrical. At home, he and wife Donna have three dogs (one is Miracle) and three cats as pets.
Loop and his daughter Ashley have become well known in the local animal-rescue community for their work, especially Loop’s rescues of kittens stuck in sticky places like drainage pipes and car engines. He often takes videos of his rescues and posts them on social media, where thousands of people follow the action.
Loop, who has followers all over the world, is talented at leveraging social media and the Internet to gain followers, donors and supporters. His rescue videos have been featured on several animal-welfare websites and social media pages, including The Dodo.
Miracle’s story has garnered the most attention. Many have sent messages of encouragement, monetary donations and frilly dresses for Miracle.
When asked why Miracle’s story is so special, Loop said, “I think the dashcam video that I had sealed it. It’s one thing if someone wrote a story about the experience, but the fact that people actually saw the video that I posted that day. … I also gave daily updates. It was like a soap opera.”
Miracle’s vet bills reached about $18,000 and Loop raised $25,000. The leftover funds were used to help other rescue animals, a fact he let donors know up-front.
“I knew that this dog was going to be astronomically expensive,” he said about Miracle. “The GoFundMe campaign was a once-in-a-lifetime. I just happened to get lucky on this one.”
Many out-of-state supporters who could not attend Miracle’s birthday party Saturday sent Miracle and Loop their best wishes on Loop’s Facebook page. Pam Rollins from Colorado posted, “God Bless you David Loop for what you do and stand for. We love Miracle so much. Thank you for saving her precious life.”
/ CONTRIBUTING WRITER