An Indiana dog, whose entire litter died shortly after she was rescued from a local shelter, adopted six puppies orphaned after the recent Oklahoma tornadoes.
Bertha, a stray 2-year-old Rottweiler mix, was rescued last month from South Bend Animal Care and Control in South Bend, Ind., by Second Chance 4 Pets Network. She was in labor at the time, and an emergency cesarian section was performed on May 23. Doctors found all eight of her puppies had died, according to the group.
JoAnn Palko, founder of Second Chance, told other rescue groups in the region that she had a lactating dog who could help any puppies that needed nursing, according to The Times in Munster. Lakeshore PAWS in Valparaiso, Ind., said it had just acquired six orphaned newborns from an Oklahoma City shelter through a volunteer assisting after a tornado hit the area. The puppies' mother, a pitbull mix, had been euthanized.
The orphaned pups were brought to the new shelter by volunteer Rosie Ahlberg, and Bertha adopted them as her own, according to local station WSBT.
"She was unsure at first, but the foster got into the pool with her and she started cleaning them right away," Palko said of Bertha's first encounter with the puppies, according to The Times in Munster. "She's a fantastic mom. My foster says she doesn't even want to go outside to go to the bathroom and leave her puppies," Palko also told the outlet.
Although the pups were not orphaned directly because of the tornado, the shelter where they wound up was affected by the storm, notes the Herald Times. According to WSBT, the local shelter was full after the tornado hit and did not have the resources to care for the newborns.
"[T]he babies are very young and have already been through a lot in a very short time," Lakeshore PAWS Director Jeanne Sommer told WSBT. "It is just heartwarming that one individual, Rosie Ahlberg, would step up and offer to save these guys and that [three] rescues in Northwest Indiana can all join together as well to save their lives."
Second Chance was not immediately available for comment.
Other amazing animal stories have made headlines following the devastating storms in the midwest. Barbara Garcia, an elderly woman from Moore, Okla., was being interviewed for a live CBS News segment when she found her lost dog, Cathy, buried under rubble. A photo of another lost pet went viral after the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Department revealed that the dog had been standing guard over a deceased storm victim.
PHOTOS OF BERTHA AND HER ADOPTED PUPPIES: Courtesy of Second Chance 4 Pets Network