When rescuers saw a dog lying lifelessly in an open field, they assumed the worst and prepared to dispose of the body. But when the dog picked her head up and looked at them, they realized there was still a chance. Still, they had no idea what they were in for until they found what the stray dog was hiding (video below).
It took several visits for workers with Take Me Home Pet Rescue, a no-kill shelter founded by Elise Bissell and based in Richardson, Texas, to even get close to the dog, whose name is Norah, reports Shareably.
But they were patient. As they watched Norah cross dangerous streets and highways near her field, they quickly learned this pup could take care of herself, but they still decided to take her in to check on her health and put her in a loving home.
Norah had reportedly been living in the area for years, relying on the kindness of strangers who said they gave her food regularly. She spent most of her time in a drainage ditch.
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Rescuers followed her for weeks, trying to capture her, but she kept evading them.
One day, they noticed that the dog was noticeably thinner, and it dawned on the rescuers that Norah must have been pregnant and given birth to a litter.
Like humans, it is important that pregnant and nursing dogs get proper nutrition and medical attention, notes Our Dogs and Us. Dog pregnancies last approximately nine weeks, and during that time, even those with the best temperaments can become defensive and aggressive, so it is important to treat them with special care.
With an greater need to keep Norah and her puppies healthy, rescuers continued tracking the new mom and started to notice a pattern -- Norah was spending increasing amounts of time near a local church. They wondered if that was where she had hidden her puppies.
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Those involved in the effort searched the grounds of the church, and sure enough, Norah's puppies were tucked away in some shrubs in the courtyard.
They were able to scoop up the puppies and set a fence trap where Norah's puppies had been to try to catch the mother. Two hours later, she crossed over the busy streets for the last time and walked right into the cage.
At Take Me Home Pet Rescue, Norah and her puppies were taken care of and reunited, and shelter workers said she is a great mom.