Whether you've experienced it yourself or not, everyone knows that pregnancy is one of the most difficult things your body can go through. Your hormones are all out of whack, parts of you that you didn't even know you had are getting sore, and you try not to think about the logistics of how a baby is going to leave your body. It's tough enough when you have the love and support of friends and family to help get you through, so can you imagine navigating pregnancy alone?
This was the case for Missy, a stray dog who was found wandering around Levy County, Florida a few months ago. In addition to being malnourished and overheated, Missy was about to give birth to a litter of puppies. Animal Services was quick to rescue this poor mother, eventually handing her off to Paws Rescue Group, which would help her find a suitable foster home.
It didn't take long for her to be adopted by Karen Altieri, a highly qualified foster mom who has a soft spot for strays like Missy. Altieri realized that Missy would require a great deal care to make it through the pregnancy. Luckily, the two of them bonded almost immediately, because three weeks later, Missy looked like she was ready to give birth. For hours, she writhed and panted in pain, but to no avail. Karen decided to hop on Facebook and ask for prayers that everything would "turn out well for her and the puppies ... however many ..." What followed is a dog lover's dream. Scroll down to see how one simple adoption turned into a huge event that took the entire Altieri family by surprise!
"Day one … pregnant mom arrives from pick up at north Florida shelter. She is calm, sweet, and just wants to be loved. We will do everything to make her feel comfortable and loved and safe. Vet appointment tomorrow to see how many puppies she is carrying."
"Day three … vet appointment. ‘Missy’ weighs in at almost 60 pounds and it appears the pups may be delivered in the next three to seven days — if not before then! Gathering all supplies to make whelping bed and 'maternity ward' for this princess ... cannot imagine her giving birth outside in the cold and rain in a lonely field in northern Florida if she had not been rescued."
"Missy is beginning to get quite comfortable in her whelping box. It could be any day and we are ready!"
"Just when we thought we had the final number, we report that Missy gave birth to three more babies since midnight. God took another baby to heaven, but two more are healthy. There are 10 puppies now."
"Missy feeding the pups out of the box. My how they have grown! 17 days old; eyes are almost all open; they are becoming more social and aware of their environment."
"A mother’s love …"
"Each pup gets one ounce of a special milk replacer twice a day. Missy is happy for the help!"
"Seems like yesterday and not 10 weeks ago that these awesome pups were born!"
“I wish I could save every last homeless pup in need of care and love … thank God there are more animal sanctuaries now. And, of course, I feel the same way about children in need."
"A pinwheel of pups eating their dinner."
"My colleague, Barbara Hastings, who Founded Paws Rescue Group, and I pose with the 10 pups. We are two wild and crazy dog ladies!"
"Be still my heart. After four months of fostering this incredible dog, I’m thrilled to announce that we have found a permanent home for Missy! A wonderful lady who has been a friend and supporter of Paws Rescue will adopt her on Sunday and promises to love and care for Missy forever!!!"
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