When Stevoni Doyle witnessed a pit bull under her foster care give birth to a litter of puppies, she never anticipated the new mother's next move: the dog picked up each of the babes and plopped them in her lap (video below).
Doyle, a Utah-based foster dog owner who has taken in over a hundred pooches under her protective wing for over a decade, was conducting business as usual when she took in Grayce, a 2-year-old pit bull whose pregnancy was nearing completion.
Grayce had been neglected by her previous owner, and Doyle is committed to providing dogs with a safe environment, especially those who are expecting to give birth.
"We are their voice and we need to protect them," Doyle said of her charges, according to Shareably.
On Jan. 22, Grayce gave birth to a litter of 11 pups -- 10 males and one female. Sitting on the other end of the room, Doyle was taken aback when the pit bull began picking up each of her children with her mouth, trotting over to her foster owner and dropping them in her lap.
"I think she feels unsure still as a new mom," Stevoni recalled. "And she needed love and reassurance from someone she loves and trusts."
Grayce piled on her mewling babies onto Doyle's lap until the foster owner was overrun with squirming pups. The pit bull then plunked her own face in her guardian's lap, melting the hearts of viral video viewers everywhere.
"She laid on me and wanted me to love her too," Doyle told KUTV. "She would crawl on my lap and nurse her puppies if I would let her."
An uploaded video of the touching moment accrued 12 million views on social media in just 24 hours. Rescue Rovers Dog Adoptions, the non-profit that had linked Doyle up with Grayce, announced on their Facebook page that they would capitalize on the viral success that the video had drawn by "posting facts about this amazing (but often misunderstood!) class of dogs. We hope Grayce's attention will help some of our amazing [pit bulls]... find homes!"
Pit bulls are not a popular breed among U.S. pet-owners, largely due to the perception that they are naturally aggressive. In July 2014, a survey conducted by YouGov found that only 31 percent of national adults would consider adopting a pit bull, while 50 percent would not. 59 percent of respondents believed that the breed was generally very dangerous or somewhat dangerous.
Doyle hoped that the viral video of Grayce lovingly sharing her pups will help change public perception of pit bulls.
"They aren't handled right," Doyle said of the breed. "They have such a bad rap. How can people say pitbulls are awful dogs, if she is doing this and bringing me her puppies after only three weeks of knowing me?"
Grayce has been spayed after giving birth to her litter of 11 pups. Rescue Rover arranged for the puppies to be adopted by Utah residents, holding high standards for applications to ensure that they each found a loving home.