Call the midwife as Denise helps deliver dumped dog's new puppies
Meet Meg and her new little bundles of fur.
Just a few days ago she was abandoned in the back garden of a property after her family moved home. But the three-year-old Springer Spaniel was brought to the Almost Home animal sanctuary in Moira on Friday and just over 24 hours later she was a mum to eight puppies.
Thanks to dedicated volunteers and a midwife who swapped babies for puppies for the day, Meg and her six surviving pups are doing well.
Manager Karen Matthews said: "We're so glad that she arrived when she did. There was a team of about seven or eight people who just sprung into action. They organised transport for her and she was up here and safe.
"Her wee face lit up when she went into the puppy unit. She just looked so happy. She knew she was safe and OK."
Karen and her team were at a fundraising event in Portadown when they heard the news that Meg's puppies were on their way and she rushed back to help with the labour.
The first two were delivered quickly by Karen's husband Ian as she rushed home, but they were not without complications.
Karen said: "The first one didn't move and the second puppy was still in its sack and she hadn't broke the waters around it, so it had drowned. My husband lept into action. He spent 35 minutes working with the wee pup and he got it back round. It's still doing really well."
Karen and her sister-in-law Denise delivered the next four puppies. Denise is a midwife and she used her experiences on the maternity ward to help.
"She was absolutely brilliant. She was feeling Meg's stomach and she said she thought she could feel another two up in there, but she's more used to working with humans," Karen explained.
She added: "An hour-and-a-half later there had been nothing and Meg was calm and settled, so Denise left about 5.30pm. The next shift came in at 6pm. About 7.30pm, I went out to check Meg was OK and the volunteer said: 'Yes, her eight puppies are fine'. I said 'there's only six', and she said 'well, there's eight now'! I phoned Denise and she said: 'I got it right. I thought there was another two!' Her experience was helpful."
Sadly, two of the pups died within 24 hours.
Karen said: "Meg's a great mummy. We think she's had pups before because she knows exactly what she's doing.
"She'll jump out to go outside and then she'll jump back in and she's so excited to get back into bed with them that she almost jumps on top of them.
"We've been trying to make sure that things are very calm for her and when she jumps in the puppies are lifted over to the side for her. We've been in and out every 15 minutes just to make sure that everybody is safe."
Meg and her puppies are some of the 200 dogs that have passed through the puppy unit since it was opened a year-and-a-half ago.
Specialist volunteers will now help Meg to care for her puppies until they are ready to be rehomed in around nine weeks.
- For more information, visit http://www.almosthomeni.co.uk or to donate visit their Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/Almost-Home-Animal-Rescue-NI-165471356992884