Employees at the Port of Atlântico in Panama were in shock when they opened a shipping container that had arrived from Spain and was to be emptied.
Inside was a dog who, despite being stranded for 40 days, was alive while the container crossed the Atlantic from Andalusia.
The caramel colored dog, almost a year old, was thin, dehydrated and injured.
Now, after months of rehabilitation and training, Miley has found a job in the MIDA Ministry of Agriculture Development.
“We don’t know how she got in or how she was found,” said Cecilia de Escobar, the national director of animal health at the ministry.
“This is the story of a heroine as a small animal that is inside a container for 40 days, with no water, no food, how does it fight for its life?”
The December 2021 voyage lasted 20 days before the container scuttled at port in hot and humid Panama for another 20 days in January.
“A part of the container was damaged and there we found a small hole. We believe he dug the hole with his paw and drank rain water.”
Both during the trip and in Panama, it rained a lot.
After her discovery, Miley was taken to Panama City and treated by a veterinarian and quarantine specialists.
She weighed just nine pounds (4 kg) when she arrived, said Hugo Turillazzi, a veterinarian and administrator at the canine unit in Mida.
Turillazzi believes that Millie was in good physical condition when she entered the container and managed to shed her body fat.
In addition to rainwater, she could lick the condensate from the inner walls of the container or even drink her own urine.
“It’s a miracle that this little animal was able to survive for so long, so we named him Milagros (miracle) or Mili for short”, he said.
“And when she came from Spain we called her The Little Spaniard.”
Now fully recovered, Miley weighs 27 pounds and is in tip-top physical shape.
Inexpensive four-legged ‘scanner’
During the five months after her search, Millie spent time recovering and being trained in the ministry’s canine unit.
Having learned to detect the aroma of fruits and vegetables, Miley began working out “with great results” a week ago.
The dogs in his unit work at the capital’s international airport, detecting fresh food in passengers’ luggage to prevent foreign diseases in the country.
Whenever she finds any suspicious item, she scratches it and then sits beside it and waits for her reward.
Dog trainer Edgardo Aguirre said, “The Millie has four basic characteristics that a dog needs to be in a unit: friendly, gentle with people, good appetite and playful.”
“We told ourselves: This little dog has potential, she’ll be able to have seizures.”
Millie has already managed to locate cereals, fruits and charcuterie.
She is now training to spot the giant African snail, a species that could devastate local agriculture.
“He’s a scanner that doesn’t cost a lot, just the food and affection we give him, and he’s very trustworthy,” Turillazzi said.
Now Mili is helping those who saved her.
“They say that everyone has a purpose in life, and I think that Millie had to be adopted by Panama and provide a great service to our country,” said de Escobar.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)