Seeking a home - tiny puppies born to an abandoned Shih Tzu mother
This is the abandoned dog found in such bad condition that animal rescue workers didn't realise she was pregnant - until she gave birth and they heard the squeak of a puppy.
The Shih Tzu was found by a dog warden in Dungannon on Tuesday and taken to the Mid Ulster Rehoming Centre For Dogs.
Volunteers found that the bitch had a bad hernia on her tummy.
But as she was underweight and her coat was in a terrible condition, they didn't realise she was about to give birth.
When someone went to check on her yesterday morning they heard a noise and got a surprise when they realised she was in labour.
Manager Colleen Cunningham said: "We went down and we heard the squeaking, and one of the puppies was nearly born. It was a total shock.
"There was really no signs that she was in pup."
She said the dog's fur was so badly matted the birth was very difficult for the puppies, so staff acted quickly to help them.
The Shih Tzu gave birth to three puppies and the volunteers then had to spend hours clipping her tangled hair so that she could feed her babies. Yesterday, mum and all three pups were doing well.
Colleen said: "There is one wee tiny one, but we're working with it and putting it on every hour for a feed, so hopefully they will all be okay."
She added that staff were trying to give the dog some time to settle into her new temporary home before trying to clean her up.
Colleen said: "We're trying not to annoy her too much. She was very stressed this morning because she didn't know what was happening, so it will take a while for her to settle."
The dog and her puppies will stay at the centre for around 12 weeks to allow her to recover and to give the puppies times to grow.
The whole family will then be put up for adoption, and Colleen said they hoped to find loving homes for them all.
Shih Tzus need to be groomed regularly, but Colleen said that the dog's coat was in such bad condition it may have been months since it was cared for.
She added: "Her coat was in an awful mess. We had to take some off just to let the puppies feed, and we took some off her head and eyes so she could see out. She probably hasn't been groomed in about a year or maybe even more.
"She's a lovely, pleasant wee dog. She hasn't growled at us or snapped or anything. That's what I don't understand. There's no reason why her coat should be in that state. It's just neglect.
"It's just lucky that she was found and brought here just in time. She probably would have been dead on the side of the road somewhere otherwise"
Mid Ulster Rehoming Centre, which was opened as part of Drumbonaway Kennels in 2008, rescues stray and unwanted dogs from being put down.
It is employed by the council to help rehome dogs across the Mid Ulster region. Last year it rehomed most of the 936 dogs and puppies it took in through the council and private owners.
For more information or to donate to the centre, visit Facebook and search for Mid Ulster Rehoming Centre For Dogs or call (028) 8773 8861