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Homeless woman’s dog has 10-puppy litter after moving into hostel

Natasha Robins said she would rather be on the streets than be separated from her pet Harper.

A homeless woman’s pet dog has given birth to a litter of 10 puppies soon after moving into a hostel.

Natasha Robins moved into Dunedin Harbour in Edinburgh after finding herself on the streets, despite having been warned she would struggle to get accommodation with her pooch.

Within weeks of living in the hostel, Harper the dog was unexpectedly found to be pregnant and soon gave birth to 10 puppies.

The 27-year-old from Edinburgh said: “I knew there was something up as Harper wasn’t eating much so I took her to the vet. I was shocked when the vet said she was pregnant.

“Harper is my best friend – she helps me through the tough times.”

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Natasha Robins with Harper the dog and one of her newborns (Gary Baker)

She added: “I was told by the council I’d have to give her up to get somewhere to live and I said I’d rather live in a cardboard box than be parted from her.

“They then put me in touch with Dunedin Harbour as they take in animals too.

“One of my fears was what would happen with my living situation with Harper having puppies. But it never even came up.

“They just moved me to a bigger room so there would be more space for the puppies. The help we’ve had is just incredible.

“It’s been a remarkable experience and not one I’ll forget in a hurry.”

Dunedin Harbour – part of Dunedin Canmore – is among a few hostels in Edinburgh which lets people move in with their pets.

Looking after a pet is great for people’s physical and mental health. It gives people a routine and something to care for Kevin Brodie

The puppies have had support from All4Paws, a pop-up clinic run by student vets that offers care to the pets of people who are homeless or vulnerably housed.

Work is under way by the organisation to find “forever homes” for the newborns in time for Christmas.

Dunedin Canmore is also working with Ms Robins to help her find her own tenancy.

The company’s homeless services manager Kevin Brodie said: “We are proud to support our residents and their pets.

“Looking after a pet is great for people’s physical and mental health. It gives people a routine and something to care for.”

Dunedin Harbour, which is part of Dunedin Canmore, is one of a small number of hostels in Edinburgh which lets people bring their pets with them when they move in.

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