Marshall the miracle dog visits local schools

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- An abused and neglected Missouri dog is the star of a children's book -- and now he's getting his time to shine in an upcoming movie.

Marshall went from near death to traveling around the country sharing his message.

Plaza Middle School welcomed a special guest today -- Marshall the miracle dog -- a three-legged dog with an important message for kids back in school.

"I just feel like god blessed that dog to be alive," says ZaMarion Coffie, a student.

"It's a great story of how to love everyone," says another student, Tori Kaspar.

Students at Plaza Middle School attended an assembly today where Marshall had center stage.

"We wanted to start our year with his message, we felt like that would really meet the needs of our bully prevention kick-off for the start of the school year," says Dr. Lezlee Ivy, the school principal.

She says Marshall`s story helps students understand important life lessons.

"Compassion, celebrating our differences, being kind to one another," Ivy adds.

Back in 2010, Marshall was one of 60 abused and neglected dogs rescued by the Humane Society of Missouri.

"Marshall actually was found not too far away from here in Marshall, Missouri," says Cynthia Willenbrock, Marshall's owner.

Willenbrock told students today how Marshall was near death -- he had bite marks, a hole on the side of his face the size of a tennis ball, and an infection that forced his doctors to amputate one of his legs.

"They cannot hear these messages enough, and to have a real life inspiration like Marshall, who was bullied, they can really connect to him on so many levels," Willenbrock says.

Despite his horrible past -- Willenbrock says her dog made up his mind that he was given a second chance.

"He had the opportunity to be in a better home, have a better life," says Coffie.

Willenbrock adopted Marshall, and wrote a children's book. The story has now been made into a movie --Marhsall's Miracle.

"There`s a lot of bully prevention messages to the movie," adds Willenbrock.

This is Marshall's 400th school visit, and his owner says she knows his message is getting across.

"We visited over 135,000 kids - and I see light bulbs go on, I see hearts open," Willenbrock says.

The movie based on Marshall hits select theaters on August 28th.

Film trailer: