A "little miracle" occurred at a Minnesota animal rescue earlier this week when a dog who had lost all of her puppies adopted a litter who had lost their mother.
Secondhand Hounds' founder and executive director Rachel Mairose explained, "We knew we were getting a bunch of commercial breeder dogs on Wednesday.
"One of them was this little Chihuahua who had given birth six days prior and unfortunately all of her puppies had passed away."
When Wednesday morning rolled around, the rescue received another call, informing staff that a litter of 2-week-old puppies would also be delivered.
"They said that they had a mama dog with puppies, and the mom had died of a seizure that morning and left her five 2-week-old puppies 'orphaned,'" Mairose told TODAY.
Secondhand Hounds received the call about the orphaned puppies because it has a neonatal program and is known as "the rescue that takes the little tiny puppies," according to Mairose.
Typically, the best practice is to keep puppies in a family unit so Mairose realized that they might be able to solve both problems at once.
"We kind of all did that gasp moment of, like, could this work?" Mairose said. "We coordinated to have them come to the office that night. It was, like, a last-minute whirlwind, all hands on deck, to see if we could get these guys together as a family."
Mairose said while the mother dog, whose name is Rosa, was initially nervous about her new surroundings, she quickly bonded with the puppies.
"She heard the puppies whimpering, and her tail started wagging, and we were all like, 'Oh, my gosh. This could happen,'" Mairose explained.
Rosa was introduced to the puppies one by one and she immediately started nursing and cleaning them, "acting like they were her puppies all along."
"We see a lot in rescue, but it was so touching and it felt so serendipitous, like it was fate, kind of a little miracle," Mairose explained. "It felt like it was meant to be. We don't get phone calls about neonatal puppies on a daily basis, and we certainly don't get phone calls about mommies who have lost their entire litter on a regular basis. The fact that they happened on the same day was incredible."
Mairose says Rosa acts protective of her new puppies and "never leaves their side."
"She has been just an amazing mom the whole time," Mairose explained. "She absolutely adopted them ... It couldn't be more perfect. She now has her little family, and I think they needed each other equally."
For now, the litter is currently being homed with an experienced whelper who will monitor their growth, making sure that they are progressing and meeting normal milestones. In about a month or two, the puppies will be put on Secondhand Hounds' website for "meet-and-greets," and they'll be adoptable around the holiday season.
"There's a lot of variables there that might have made this not be such a happy ending, but everything fell into place," said Mairose, explaining that Rosa could have rejected the puppies or not been able to nurse them. "Now, it's the sweetest thing. She just is the sweetest mom, and they couldn't have found a better mommy."