The stray 2-year-old Rottweiler mix named Bertha was paired with the Oklahoma puppies after a rescue group pulled her from South Bend Animal Care and Control on Eclipse Place where she was scheduled to die.
Bertha was already in labor when a volunteer picked her up, but she failed to give birth within 24 hours. An emergency surgery revealed that all eight puppies were dead.
The rescue group, Second Chance 4 Pets Network, then alerted other groups in the region that it had a lactating dog that could help if anyone had puppies that needed to nurse.
Lakeshore PAWS in Porter County brought Bertha six newborn puppies it had acquired from an Oklahoma City shelter through a volunteer helping the tornado-ravaged area. The puppies' mother had been euthanized because she was deemed aggressive.
Bertha "was unsure at first, but the foster got into the pool with her and she started cleaning them right away," said JoAnn Palko, president and founder of Second Chance.
The puppies are just over a week old and are thriving, Palko said.
"She's a fantastic mom," Palko said. "My foster says she doesn't even want to go outside to go to the bathroom and leave her puppies."
Second Chance is now considering training Bertha to be a therapy dog.
Lakeshore PAWS Director Jeanne Sommer provided the following information to WSBT:
Rosie Ahlberg who is from Wheaton, Illinois and a student at Indiana University drove to Oklahoma with friends to help victims of the tornado. While she was there, she picked up a stray dog and took it to the local shelter. That same day another stray dog that was already at the shelter had puppies. Since the shelter was full, the staff did not have the resources to take care of new born pups and unfortunately was going to have to euthanize them. So Rosie called us and asked if we could take care of them as long as she can get them to us. The shelter showed her how to bottle feed them and she and her friends bottle fed them every 2 hours. In the meantime, we put out a request on facebook and other web sites asking for people to help us bottle feed them. Sherry Christopher who started “Guardians of the Green Mile” saw the cry for help and put us in touch with “Second Chance For Pets” rescue who happened to have a mom that lost all of her babies but was still producing milk.
So we kept our fingers crossed and Rosie brought the babies to the foster that had the nursing mom and it worked!!! So far, so good but the babies are very young and have already been through a lot in a very short time. It is just heartwarming that one individual, Rosie Ahlberg would step up and offer to save these guys and that 3 rescues in Northwest Indiana can all join together as well to save their lives.Because Rosie had done so much for the pups, she asked that the original dog that she found be saved as well so another rescue out of Indianapolis made the trek to Oklahoma and brought Lakeshore PAWS 6 more dogs including the pit bull mix that she originally found who she named Emma. They are all doing well and looking for homes!