Barbara Adam couldn't believe her eyes.
Poking out of the garbage bag her dog Samson had found while the two were on a run in the Wissahickon Valley Park was the head of an emaciated pit bull.
"I could tell it was so sad and at the same time so thankful to be found," Adams said. She tore open the black plastic bag and found a sheet tied around the dog's neck. She called her husband who said to call the Pennsylvania SPCA.
Not wanting to wait, Adams decided to carry to pup the mile back to her car.
With Samson, a 10-year-old springer spaniel, leading the way, they set off for help.
"She wasn't moving," said Adams, 43, an audio engineer. The dog rested her head on her arm as she walked. "There was so much sadness in her eyes."
When Adams stopped to rest and tried to put the dog down, the canine's legs collapsed from weakness.
When she reached Emlen Street, Adams flagged down a Good Samaritan who agreed to wait with the starving pup until Adams returned. She called the PSPCA who immediately dispatched two officers.
"This dog is a survivor," said Nicole Wilson, Director of PSPCA's Humane Law Enforcement. She thinks the dog may have been dumped Tuesday night. "It would not likely have survived for a very long period of time."
Once back at the shelter, the dog was christened Cranberry by the shelter staff because it is Thanksgiving. She is about 2 years old and about 20 to 25 pounds underweight.
Cranberry, who is on intravenous fluids to help stabilize her body, was in guarded condition when she arrived but has improved overnight, Wilson said. In addition to being very underweight, she had infected pressure sores, muscle wasting and an ear infection. Veterinarians hope to begin a re-feeding regiment - six small daily meals - on Wednesday.
"Her system isn't able to absorb large amounts of food, it needs to be retrained on how to absorb nutrients," Wilson said. "It took a significant period of time to get into this condition."
An indentifying chip was found on Cranberry and a search warrant executed Wednesday at the owner's address, said Wilson. The case is still under investigation. Charges have not yet been filed.
"She is a sweetheart," said Wilson. "As soon as anyone starts looking at her, she starts wagging her tail."
Adams gives full credit for the rescue to Samson.
"I really believe if I hadn't seen my own dog sniffing this, I would have walked back to the car without noticing," she said.