Pregnant with nine puppies, Daya the dog ended up in a South Carolina public shelter after she was found wandering the streets alone.
But the shelter was overcrowded, and Daya was at risk of being euthanized. So Halfway There Rescue stepped in to arrange for a foster home where she could comfortably deliver her puppies.
Her rescuers brought the 3-year-old dog to the vet for a checkup — where they were hit with heartbreaking news.
“X-rays showed no evidence of living babies,” Jennifer Werner, a volunteer for the rescue, told The Dodo. “Her nine puppies were in the process of being absorbed by her body. This had caused a severe infection in her uterus that required emergency surgery within an hour of her arrival at the vet hospital.”
The surgery saved Daya’s life, but it soon became clear that she wasn’t handling the loss of her unborn puppies well.
As she settled into her foster home, Daya’s motherly instincts were still in full swing. She began picking up toys or socks and lying with them or cleaning them as if they were babies. She brought them everywhere she went, desperate for the comfort of having something to take care of.
“She had a wonderful home to recover in, but her instinct had taken over with nowhere to direct her energy without her puppies,” Werner explained. “While everyone at [the rescue] was so happy that Daya had made it through surgery, we were heartbroken that she was missing her babies. She didn’t understand what had happened to them.”
Three days after Daya’s surgery, the rescue got a call about a female puppy who had been abandoned on the side of the road. She had parasites and skin infections and had just gotten out of emergency surgery to remove one of her eyes, which had completely ruptured.
And now, she needed a mom.
“Everyone knew that the puppy could survive with human intervention alone, but we had hopes that she could have the mama she was missing,” Werner said.
The vet team that was taking care of the puppy, named Raisin, brought her in to meet Daya — and within just a few hours, they had bonded so strongly they wouldn’t leave each other’s sides.
“They were snuggled up together and it was obvious a relationship was forming,” Werner said. “Even though the two were not related, they served a need for each other that would lead to an incredible bond.”
Since the day they met less than a week ago, Daya and little 6-week-old Raisin haven’t strayed very far from one another. From snuggling up for a nap to hanging out in the sun, they’re continuing to heal from their surgeries together — and will soon be available for adoption.
“They’re still recovering from medical issues like mange at their foster home, so they’ll be there for several more weeks,” Werner said. “With the help of the veterinary staff who would not give up on [Raisin] and the rescue who made sure Daya was able to leave the shelter, these two will forever share a bond.”