‘Miracle Dog’ Marshall teaches kindness


Marshall visits Green Ridge students Monday

By Hope Lecchi - [email protected]



Marshall the Miracle Dog rests in the office at Green Ridge Schools after his arrival Monday afternoon. Marshall was rescued from an abandoned property near Marshall, Missouri, with 59 other dogs, from the 82 who were living on the property. Badly malnourished and beaten, Marshall, a 7-year-old Labrador retriever, was discovered in September 2010 by a crew filming for Animal Planet’s “Confessions: Animal Hoard.” Marshall was adopted by Cyndi Willenbrock. The two travel the United States to teach children about anti-bullying and anti-animal cruelty. Hope Lecchi | Democrat


Cyndi Willenbrock reads to the elementary students in grades kindergarten through second grade during the first of two assemblies Monday afternoon at Green Ridge Elementary. Willenbrock wrote a book, “Marshall the Miracle Dog,” telling of his recuse and her adoption of Marshall five years ago. Marshall’s life has also been made into a movie and a second film is being made describing his life’s work. Hope Lecchi | Democrat


Dustin Wilson, a second grade student at Green Ridge Elementary, hugs Marshall the Miracle Dog after an assembly at the school Monday afternoon. After being rescued from the Missouri Humane Society, Marshall’s life was saved after his right front leg was amputated and he was treated for dehydration and malnourishment. He also received treatment for a serious infection throughout his body. Hope Lecchi | Democrat


Marshall the Miracle Dog receives gentle touches from Green Ridge Elementary students Monday afternoon. His owner, Cyndi Willenbrock, told the the students the story of his rescue and adoption while Marshall sat with the students. Hope Lecchi | Democrat


Boone, an Australian Shepherd, owned by Peggy Switzner, meets Marshall Monday afternoon shortly before an assembly for the elementary students at Green Ridge. Boone, a registered therapy dog, is the son of Max, a registered therapy dog who spends three days a week at the school with his owner, Amy Gibbs. Hope Lecchi | Democrat


Marshall the Miracle Dog lays on a new dog bed Monday afternoon. The bed was a gift from the students in Cheryl Harding’s second grade class. Harding said the students wanted to give Marshall a gift after hearing the story of his rescue from an abandoned property near Marshall, Missouri. Several of the elementary students wrote thank you cards to Marshall and Cyndi Willenbrock for coming to the school Monday and speaking to the students about treating others with kindness and respect. Hope Lecchi | Democrat


Marshall visits Green Ridge students Monday

By Hope Lecchi

[email protected]

Marshall the Miracle Dog rests in the office at Green Ridge Schools after his arrival Monday afternoon. Marshall was rescued from an abandoned property near Marshall, Missouri, with 59 other dogs, from the 82 who were living on the property. Badly malnourished and beaten, Marshall, a 7-year-old Labrador retriever, was discovered in September 2010 by a crew filming for Animal Planet’s “Confessions: Animal Hoard.” Marshall was adopted by Cyndi Willenbrock. The two travel the United States to teach children about anti-bullying and anti-animal cruelty. Hope Lecchi | Democrat
http://sedaliademocrat.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/web1_tsd041216dog1.jpgMarshall the Miracle Dog rests in the office at Green Ridge Schools after his arrival Monday afternoon. Marshall was rescued from an abandoned property near Marshall, Missouri, with 59 other dogs, from the 82 who were living on the property. Badly malnourished and beaten, Marshall, a 7-year-old Labrador retriever, was discovered in September 2010 by a crew filming for Animal Planet’s “Confessions: Animal Hoard.” Marshall was adopted by Cyndi Willenbrock. The two travel the United States to teach children about anti-bullying and anti-animal cruelty. Hope Lecchi | Democrat

Cyndi Willenbrock reads to the elementary students in grades kindergarten through second grade during the first of two assemblies Monday afternoon at Green Ridge Elementary. Willenbrock wrote a book, “Marshall the Miracle Dog,” telling of his recuse and her adoption of Marshall five years ago. Marshall’s life has also been made into a movie and a second film is being made describing his life’s work. Hope Lecchi | Democrat
http://sedaliademocrat.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/web1_tsd041216dog2.jpgCyndi Willenbrock reads to the elementary students in grades kindergarten through second grade during the first of two assemblies Monday afternoon at Green Ridge Elementary. Willenbrock wrote a book, “Marshall the Miracle Dog,” telling of his recuse and her adoption of Marshall five years ago. Marshall’s life has also been made into a movie and a second film is being made describing his life’s work. Hope Lecchi | Democrat

Dustin Wilson, a second grade student at Green Ridge Elementary, hugs Marshall the Miracle Dog after an assembly at the school Monday afternoon. After being rescued from the Missouri Humane Society, Marshall’s life was saved after his right front leg was amputated and he was treated for dehydration and malnourishment. He also received treatment for a serious infection throughout his body. Hope Lecchi | Democrat
http://sedaliademocrat.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/web1_tsd041216dog3.jpgDustin Wilson, a second grade student at Green Ridge Elementary, hugs Marshall the Miracle Dog after an assembly at the school Monday afternoon. After being rescued from the Missouri Humane Society, Marshall’s life was saved after his right front leg was amputated and he was treated for dehydration and malnourishment. He also received treatment for a serious infection throughout his body. Hope Lecchi | Democrat

Marshall the Miracle Dog receives gentle touches from Green Ridge Elementary students Monday afternoon. His owner, Cyndi Willenbrock, told the the students the story of his rescue and adoption while Marshall sat with the students. Hope Lecchi | Democrat
http://sedaliademocrat.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/web1_tsd041216dog4.jpgMarshall the Miracle Dog receives gentle touches from Green Ridge Elementary students Monday afternoon. His owner, Cyndi Willenbrock, told the the students the story of his rescue and adoption while Marshall sat with the students. Hope Lecchi | Democrat

Boone, an Australian Shepherd, owned by Peggy Switzner, meets Marshall Monday afternoon shortly before an assembly for the elementary students at Green Ridge. Boone, a registered therapy dog, is the son of Max, a registered therapy dog who spends three days a week at the school with his owner, Amy Gibbs. Hope Lecchi | Democrat
http://sedaliademocrat.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/web1_tsd041216dog5.jpgBoone, an Australian Shepherd, owned by Peggy Switzner, meets Marshall Monday afternoon shortly before an assembly for the elementary students at Green Ridge. Boone, a registered therapy dog, is the son of Max, a registered therapy dog who spends three days a week at the school with his owner, Amy Gibbs. Hope Lecchi | Democrat

Marshall the Miracle Dog lays on a new dog bed Monday afternoon. The bed was a gift from the students in Cheryl Harding’s second grade class. Harding said the students wanted to give Marshall a gift after hearing the story of his rescue from an abandoned property near Marshall, Missouri. Several of the elementary students wrote thank you cards to Marshall and Cyndi Willenbrock for coming to the school Monday and speaking to the students about treating others with kindness and respect. Hope Lecchi | Democrat
http://sedaliademocrat.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/web1_tsd041216dog6.jpgMarshall the Miracle Dog lays on a new dog bed Monday afternoon. The bed was a gift from the students in Cheryl Harding’s second grade class. Harding said the students wanted to give Marshall a gift after hearing the story of his rescue from an abandoned property near Marshall, Missouri. Several of the elementary students wrote thank you cards to Marshall and Cyndi Willenbrock for coming to the school Monday and speaking to the students about treating others with kindness and respect. Hope Lecchi | Democrat

GREEN RIDGE — Students at Green Ridge Schools began to take their state MAP Assessment tests Monday morning.

Monday afternoon they learned a lesson that is not tested on any state exam: the lessons of unconditional love and acceptance from Marshall the Miracle dog and his owner Cynthia Willenbrock.

Marshall and Willenbrock paid a visit to the students in kindergarten through sixth grade at the invitation of Green Ridge counselor Erica Goans.

“We talk pretty heavily about bullying and we want to educate our students on what it is and why it is wrong and hurtful,” Goans said. “We promote to the students the need to do the right thing and Marshall connects that to a real life situation that hopefully will bring them more awareness about the subject of bullying.”

One of Goans’s colleauges at Green Ridge, Amy Gibbs, brought the story of Marshall to Goans’s attention.

“Amy works in our special services department and three days a week she brings a therapy dog, Max, to school,” Goans said. “We started talking one day and she told me the story of Marshall and we thought his story would be something that the students could take with them and learn from.”

Marshall has a remarkable story to tell.

A 7-year-old Labrador retriever, Marshall was discovered in September 2010 by a crew filming for Animal Planet’s “Confessions: Animal Hoard.”

“Marshall was living on some abandoned property near Marshall, Missouri, along with 81 other dogs,” Willenbrock said. “He was living in dire conditions suffering from bite marks; he had a hole in his face the size of a tennis ball and he was dehydrated, malnourished and had infections throughout his body.”

A team of doctors led by Dr. Steven Schwartz, director of veterinary services at the Humane Society of Missouri, operated on Marshall in an effort to save his life.

Marshall’s heart stopped beating on the operating table multiple times and eventually his right front leg was amputated.

He was nursed back to health by the staff at the Humane Society before he was adopted and taken to his “forever home” by Willenbrock five years ago.

“I was bullied growing up,” Willenbrock told the Democrat before speaking to the students. “I related to him and those big eyes he has from the moment I saw him.

“I think he knew he had a purpose to serve and that’s why he fought so hard to survive,” Willenbrock added. “He is such a perfect example of how to celebrate others and diversity.”

Willenbrock founded the Marshall Movement, which is dedicated to teaching children and others about anti-bullying and anti-animal cruelty.

Marshall has had a movie filmed about his life, and a second is in production.

Since writing a book about Marshall, “Marshall the Miracle Dog,” Willenbrock and Marshall have traveled to 25 states and have spoken to more than 200,000 students sharing their story.

“I hope people will realize that those who are bullied are innocent victims of the cruelty and brutality of others,” Willenbrock wrote.

“I started blaming myself, I wondered if the last attack is my fault, but I didn’t do anything bad,” Willenbrock read as the voice of Marshall.

The story, told through Marshall’s eyes is a lesson that “tugs at hearts,” according to Goans.

“It’s hard not to tear up after reading the book,” Goans said. “I hope the assembly and the book touches the students in some way so that they can take something away from it to help others.

“(Marshall’s story) is such a sad situation,” Goans added. “But you realize that Marshall and Cindi were brought together for a reason.”

Willenbrock told the students something one of Marshall’s nurses told her.

“We all learned a lot about how to hold on and how to get back on your feet even when you’ve seen your darkest days,” Willenbrock read.

She continued by reading to them that, “I (Marshall) have unconditional love and acceptance exactly the way I am.”

That was one of the primary lessons Goans was hoping the students would take away from the assembly.

“We have such a great community and wonderful students at Green Ridge,” Goans said “They can’t be perfect every day and we know that, but we encourage them to do their best and make the right choices.”

Individuals wishing to contact Willenbrock about The Marshall Movement may do so at www.marshallthemiracledog.com.

Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 1484

Sedalia Democrat

Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 1484

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