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Rescued collie so thin vets didn't know she was pregnant but look at her now and her healthy brood

By Laura Abernethy

Published 11/01/2016

Rescued Pippa and her six puppies
Rescued Pippa and her six puppies

Pippa the dog was so terrified and underweight that it took the volunteers who rescued her days to discover she was pregnant.

Now, a few weeks later, she is the proud mum of six beautiful puppies.

Londonderry based group Animals in Need North West rescued her from a nearby pound in December.

They initially thought she was a male stray and it was only when they took her to a vet that they found that she was female.

The young collie, who they initially named Precious, was so underweight that vets thought she had recently given birth to puppies and had been separated from them.

A few days later, they discovered her babies were still there and she was going to give birth any day.

The Dogs Trust centre in Ballymena offered a safe, warm and comfortable place in their puppy unit and last Thursday, she had six puppies with red and white markings, just like their mum.

Pippa, as the Dogs Trust renamed her, is a very young dog and they believe that this is her first litter of puppies, but she and her babies are getting stronger every day.

A spokesperson for Dogs Trust Ballymena said: "They are all doing really well. She is a new mum and only a baby herself. She is still quite scared and nervous and it's going to be a slow process with her. She needs to learn to build her confidence up again.

"The puppies are still so young and we don't like to handle them too much at this stage, so we're not sure if they are boys or girls. They haven't been seen by a vet yet, but they all seem to be strong."

They will stay in the centre for eight weeks before they all look for new homes.

The spokesperson added: "We do something called puppy plan. We give them a week with their mum and then every day we go in and start handling them. We touch their toes and ear tips and other little stimulation things.

"Once they get a bit bigger, we let them experience carpets and tiled floors. We have CDs playing in the background with sounds of fireworks, children crying and all those sorts of things. It's socialisation and helps to get them ready for the outside world."

To support Dogs Trust Ballymena, visit

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