Earlier this month, Indiana’s Second Chance 4 Pets Network rescue pulled Bertha the pregnant Rottweiler out of South Bend Animal Control. Unfortunately, she had to have an emergency caesarean section, and none of her eight of her puppies — six boys and two girls — survived.
Meanwhile, a college student named Rosie Ahlberg from Wheaton, Illinois, drove to Oklahoma with friends to help victims of the tornado. She picked up a stray dog and took it to a shelter. There, she saw another dog who had just had just given birth.
The staff members, however, were overloaded, and they planned to euthanize the mom, a Pit Bull mix, because she was aggressive. There also planned to euthanize the pups.
Rosie wasn’t going to let that happen.
She called the rescue group Lakeshore PAWS in Valparaiso, Indiana, which agreed to take the pups. People there told Rosie & Co. how to bottle feed, and they put out a call for people to help for when the pups made it back to Indiana.
Then someone had an idea: What about Bertha? The pregnant Rottweiler who lost her pups? Lightbulbs went off, calls were made, and soon the little pups were on their way to Second Chance 4 Pets Network — and to Bertha.
Bertha, after having lost her pups days before, was not producing milk. Would she take to the new pups? Would she mother them? Both rescue staffs — and Rosie — crossed their fingers.
Bertha came through. And so it happened that a mother dog who lost her puppies in Indiana ended up adopting a litter of puppies orphaned by the tornado.
“She was unsure at first, but the foster [who was housing Bertha] got into the pool with her, and she started cleaning them right away,” JoAnn Palko, president and founder of Second Chance 4 Pets Network, told nwitimes.com.
Jeanne Sommer, director of Lakeshore PAWS, said the partnership with Second Chance was “just awesome.”
She said in a statement to WSBT, “It is just heartwarming that one individual, Rosie Ahlberg, would step up and offer to save these guys, and that three rescues in Northwest Indiana can all join together as well to save their lives.”
Second Chance is considering training Bertha to be a therapy dog.
“She’s a fantastic mom,” Palko told WSBT. “My foster says she doesn’t even want to go outside to go to the bathroom and leave her puppies.”