She was harboring a secret much bigger than herself.
When Rosa and 200 other dogs were rescued from a South Korean meat farm last month, Rosa was probably the most terrified of all the survivors taken in by Humane Society International. HSI managed to distribute the dogs across their shelters nationwide so as not to overwhelm the facilities, and Rosa was among those sent to Tampa Bay to be rehabilitated and adopted.
At the first sign of an approaching human, Rosa would cower and back herself up against the farthest wall. Considering the horrifying conditions she was used to living in and likely grew up surrounded by, it’s not hard to understand why her fear of humans was so immense.
At the farm she came from, Rosa had probably seen and heard her fellow canine captives skinned and burned alive for food. She lived in cramped cages among pounds of their waste had only known people to be cruel and merciless.
“She wouldn’t even look at us,” said Nash McCutchen, the marketing coordinator for the Humane Society of Tampa Bay. “She’s been with us for a week, and as of this weekend, she still wasn’t really looking at us.”
Rosa, who is a 10-month-old Korean Jindo, was given a comfortable bed, yummy food, and a space of her own when she arrived in Tampa Bay, but none of these niceties helped calm her. The shelter staff has been letting her have space and time to ease into the surroundings and avoid overwhelming her, but they’ve also occasionally petted her.
One such staffer, Rosa’s trainer, Glen Hatchell, managed to pet Rosa and was shocked by what he discovered: Rosa was pregnant. Since Rosa is still a puppy herself, it’s sad that she was carrying puppies but might also explain why she was exceedingly frightened of her rescuers. With puppies to protect, the mama in her just wanted to make sure that she was bringing her puppies into a safe space.
When the staff discovered the pregnancy, they estimated that she only had a few weeks left until delivery and they were right. Rosa gave birth soon after to six healthy puppies and managed to be an attentive mother despite the difficult circumstances.
“She is still struggling to trust humans and now has an added source of stress, caring for her babies,” McCutchen told The Dodo. “Today was difficult for her as there was a lot of activity as we assessed the babies and made sure everyone was healthy. But now they are resting quietly and undisturbed.”
With her new mom duties, Rosa has a lot on her plate but the shelter staff plans to continue socializing her so that she has a chance at adoption once her puppies are grown up and gone. It’s touching that Rosa will certainly learn to love, starting with her puppies, in a way that can extend to humans as they continue to show her nothing but kindness.
If you would like to help more dogs like Rosa who are waiting to be rescued, you can donate to HSI here.
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