Just over a year ago, we got a call from Bertie County shelter – which had a euthanasia rate of ZERO for 2022 – for two very feral and very pregnant dogs. These two sister pups were so terrified that the staff were not able to interact with them, only giving them as much care in their outdoor shelter as was possible.
Jane-Howard, our Director of Dog Rescue, received the call, and although she was taking a much-needed break from fostering at the time, knew she had to step in. As the shelter said, “You’re the only person who can handle these dogs, they’re too feral for anyone else.” And so, of course, she did.
Though they had been in separate pens at the shelter, we made the call to keep these two pregnant sisters together, to see if that would ease their anxiety. They snuggled up together immediately. They were still terrified, but they were together and safe.
Jane took time every day to sit with them, tossing cheese in their direction to hopefully entice them. Finally, after a couple of weeks, they acknowledged her. Though they seemed ready to give birth at any moment in the shelter, it wasn’t until several weeks after their freedom ride that they did so.
One night, Hallie looked like she was beginning to go into labor, so Jane sat with her all night. Mere minutes after Hallie’s first puppy emerged, Annie gave birth, too! After a long night, Annie gave birth to two large puppies, and Hallie gave birth to nine, although sadly some of them did not survive due to birth defects.
Then, something amazing happened. Annie, now recovered, began nursing all of the babies, even those who weren’t hers. Once Hallie got some rest, she did the same, and so the two sisters (named for their “Parent Trap” counterparts) co-nursed as the babies would go to either mother. After a few days, their mom instincts kicked in, and so we put them into separate kennels, dividing the puppies evenly between each mom to even their responsibilities.
Ready to move forward!
The puppies have since grown up and been adopted into loving families of their own, while Hallie and Annie have stayed on as fosters with Jane-Howard as they slowly become more social. While they may not be your typical household pets – some of their feral instincts have thus far remained – they will both make wonderful companions for people who understand fearful dogs.
A year after their precious journey together into motherhood, we are finally ready to start looking for homes for them. Annie moved into a new foster home last week, and as you can see in her photo below, she is really starting to relax, enjoying time hanging out with her foster in the office. She will remain there for a while longer to provide her stability and additional time to open up.
Hallie is also ready for a new foster or adopter, and will need someone very patient to help her navigate the scary world. If you think your home might be the right place for her, or know someone whose would, please contact us!
We are ever grateful for our community’s support. If you would like to contribute to our efforts in saving at-risk animals like this sweet dogs, please consider donating at the link below. If you are not in a position to donate, fostering, assisting at events, becoming a transport volunteer, and resharing our posts are all valuable and needed ways to get involved!