Today’s post doesn’t have anything to do with the Winnie’s Wishers, my own animals, or even any foster cats or dogs of mine. But it’s such a great story that I just had to share it with you.
The day after Christmas a momma dog and her five puppies came into the shelter where my daughters work. The puppies were about seven weeks old at that time. The mom dog (Mary) was almost immediately noticed for being a really good momma. She was extremely patient with her babies, and she was VERY protective of them. The staff could go into her area with no problems. But Mary did NOT like it when other dogs walked by. She nursed her pups and fiercely protected them. It wasn’t long before applications were being accepted for the puppies. Three left last month. Of the two left, one of those was adopted only very recently. The little guy who is still at the shelter will be going to his forever home before this week is over.
Now I must interject some additional information. Even though the two remaining puppies were in the neighborhood of three months old, Mary was still nursing them. She loved her babies so much that the staff didn’t have the heart to separate them. A couple of weeks ago, my daughters were discussing that they really needed to get those last two puppies moved so Mary didn’t keep feeding them. They were easily eating puppy chow; still, mother Mary did not begin the process of weaning them. But with applications coming in for those last two pups, the girls decided the little family could just continue to live together until the puppies were gone. And of course, they hoped that mom might get adopted, too.
Well, it’s a good thing mom did NOT get adopted. And it’s a good thing those pups were never moved. And it’s a good thing Mary kept right on letting her babies nurse. Because mom dog Mary just saved the day!
On Monday, a man walked into the shelter. He said he’d brought some puppies. Older asked where was the mom, and here is what she was told:
On Saturday night, the man saw a dead dog in the road two houses down from his own. Then on Sunday he heard muffled screaming coming from underneath his shed. He pulled out six of the tiniest puppies he’d ever seen. Then he put it together. The dead dog he’d observed the night before must have been the mom to these pups. He’d not heard them before because the mom dog was keeping them fed and content. He tried to feed them some milk that day and keep them warm thinking that the shelter wouldn’t be open on a Sunday. Now it was Monday and he had arrived with the babies.
When he brought them into the building, Older was shocked to see that they were only about two or three weeks old. Oh, dear. They would have to be bottle-fed. And she knew she’d be the one taking them home to do it. Also – they had now been without their mom for nearly 48 hours. They’d received no proper nutrition. As she was scrambling around trying to get a spot set up for the group of tinies, she knew she’d have to get puppy formula ready right away. Then an idea slammed into her brain. Mother Mary. Did she still have milk? Was that last puppy still nursing, keeping the flow going? And even if Mary DID have milk, the chances were slim that she would accept, suddenly, a brand new litter of puppies - puppies that were NOT her own. But Mary had been SUCH a good momma. It was worth a try.
Older got a large cage and put the squirming, screaming puppies into a soft bed. Then she got Mary and gently nudged her into the cage. Mary went to the far corner and stared at the puppies. She would look up at Older Daughter and then back at the wiggly nest of babies. It was bothering her that the puppies were crying. Older kept telling Mary that everything was OK. She told her these were new babies that needed a momma. She sweet-talked and sweet-talked. She had to keep leaving the room, doing work that had to be done. But each time she walked back in, she told Mary what a good, good dog she was and that she could have some new babies if she wanted them.
Older said she thought she would soar to the ceiling when she came in on one of those trips and Mary was licking one of the puppies. She poured praise onto Mary, and Mary looked up and wagged her tail at Older. The next time Older raced through, a different puppy was getting a bath. And then, there it was. A moment Older says she will never forget. She looked in to see if yet a third puppy might be getting a bath. There was Mary - lying on her side and the puppies were nursing. Older stopped everything she was doing and just sat down on the floor in front of the cage. The puppies were making little contented grunting noises. And momma Mary looked like the proudest parent ever. She didn’t know where in the world this new little family had come from, but she’d decided they must be hers. She has been feeding them and cuddling with them ever since.
Sometimes things just work out.