Shelter staffers got a surprise when they took in an emaciated and filthy Chihuahua found alongside a highway near Ocean Shores - the elderly dog named Little Miss was pregnant.
The story began several weeks ago when Little Miss was found and brought to North Beach PAWS. She appeared to be a purebred deer head Chihuahua, about 8-10 years old, and had a severe heart murmur.
PAWS contacted Old Dog Haven for help, and ODH placed Little Miss with a foster mom, Linda, who works at the Ocean Shores Animal Hospital. They were shocked to discover that she was not only pregnant, but very close to delivery.
They didn't think the pup would survive, so they waited, expecting tragedy.
A few days later, Little Miss started acting fussy, so she was placed in a safe kennel in case she was getting ready to deliver. She jumped and barked and cried until she was allowed back into the office with her foster mom and foster brother, fellow ODH dog, Orly.
A week later, she ousted poor Orly from his bed in the wee hours of morning, and had the puppy very quietly, with no help, Linda said
By the time Linda woke up, mom had cleaned the puppy, moved it from Orly's bed into a nice clean bed, and was feeding it breakfast.
Poor Orly was found huddled miserably in the bathroom, Linda said.
Linda says Little Miss is an amazingly attentive mama, and the pup has thrived from the first morning.
She is a generally fat, happy, contented baby.
Linda says the pup may have cooked too long, as she started doing puppy things very early. Her eyes opened at 3 days, instead of the usual 10, and at a week old, she was already crawling out of the kennel and making her poor mama worry.
One of the ODH volunteers had the idea of a puppy name pool as a way to raise some funds towards the puppy's care. They were amazed by the big response. The winning bid of $600 came from an anonymous donor, who chose the name Gigi.
Gigi continues to thrive, and mama is starting to fill out a little bit herself. And just recently, Little Miss even let Uncle Orly babysit for a minute.
Baby Gigi will eventually be up for adoption. Because of her health issues, Little Miss is a final refuge dog. Final refuge dogs are those deemed too fragile to be subjected to another change in living conditions, too sick to be rehomed, or with very limited time left.
Little Miss will be taken care of by her foster mom - unless some very special person finds it in their heart to take her in.
For more information about Old Dog Haven visit www.olddoghaven.org