Mary Near Her Expiration Date in The Shelter
Proud Mary was a guest at one of the many high kill shelters in Los Angeles and she was quickly wearing out her welcome, even if she was carrying a load of puppies onboard. However, thanks to the heroic effort of local rescuers and the donation of over $1000, they were able to pay the fees to see Mary sprung from the joint. However, a heavily pregnant dog needed a good foster home to have her pups, but animal advocate Aaron Colby was up to the job. Thanks Aaron!
Putting Off Labor in the Shelter
Mary was more than ready to give birth while in the shelter, but put it off as much as she could. It's written plainly on her face how scared and stressed she is there, which is a bad mix for a dog pregnancy.
Skin, Bones, and Puppies
Her fosters weren't sure where Mary came to that shelter from, but wherever it was, she was badly starved. Her puppies made her look a bit fat, but the rest was skin and bones.
Fattening Her Up
Mary's food dish was kept full around the clock at her new foster home to help her put on some weight for herself and the pups. Unfortunately, the fosters found out that if a dog eats five times a day, she will also poop five times a day.
Creature of Comfort
Mary took well to the simple comforts in life at her foster home: an always full bowl of food, a warm bed and some loving owners.
And It Started
Mary whined and grumbled around her foster home for a full two days with that heavy load in her belly before it was finally time. Aaron Colby was out walking his other foster dog while his wife Laura kept a close eye on Mary, ready to spring into action if labor started like a veterinary super hero. Although labor had started, there were still no puppies around eleven at night when Aaron came home, but without even realizing it since Laura was so busy telling people and looking up what to do, Mary had popped out her first pup without any muss or fuss.
One Pup, Two Pup
One of Mary's freshly newborn pups. As gross as it kind of is, it's amazing how mother dogs are perfectly ingrained with the knowledge of what to do. The mom will pull her freshly whelped pup to her, tear open the placenta sack, lick the pup until it starts breathing and dries it. She may also eat the placenta (Mary did, in this case) and will bite off the umbilical cord herself. Dog mothers really know how to show up new human mothers, that's for sure.
Three Pup, NINE Pup!
Mary ended up being in labor for 16 hours and delivered 12 puppies in all. Unfortunately, the last three took so long to be delivered they were born stillborn. One other pup seemed unresponsive, but mother Mary and helper Laura were able to revive it. In all, she popped out 9 squirmy little newborns.
Nursing the Pups
The Colby's weren't sure Mary would be able to nurse her pack of pups as when they inspected her nipples, they were horribly deformed. It was thought that Mary may have been used in a puppy mill where they let the pups nurse too long and those sharp puppy teeth caused them to become twisted and callused. As it turned out, they worked just fine. She even had exactly nine nipples to nurse her nine pups. It's kismet.
These puppies, like all puppies, were born with their eyes and ears closed and they would remain so for the next two weeks. They would use their scent and heat sniffing nose to find their mother and always sleep nearby. Apparently, one always found their way right on top of Mary when it was time for a nap.
The Simple Needs of Puppies
For the first two weeks, Mary's pups had exactly two modes. When they weren't sleeping, they were eating. The third week when their eyes and ears started opening, they would walk around and play, while on the fourth week they learned to run.
Pack o' Pups
Out of the nine of Mary's pups, three were female, while the other six were fussy little boys.
Proud Mary and Her Pups
Whenever the Colby's had someone over to view this very cute pile of puppies, their mother always looked so proud. It was like she was saying, "Hey, I made these, come look!"
Eyes Wide Open
After two weeks, their eyes are finally open and the puppies are learning more about the world than ever.
Four Weeks in!
No one can be sure if Mary is still happy to take a nap with her four week old pups, or if she wants to escape without waking them. Now Mary is only let in a few times a day to nurse while the rest of the time the puppies are fed a mixture of goat's milk and puppy food mushed in.
Setting Up The Pups With New Homes
Instead of asking his friends and neighbors if they wanted a puppy, Aaron Colby used Reddit to tell the story of Mary and her nine puppies. Since then offers for adoption have been pouring in for Mary and all her pups from the Los Angeles community, although Aaron has since decided that Mary is a keeper and adopted her himself.