Mariesa Caliguire and Chris Hughes had cared for several dogs in their lifetime. They knew the ins and outs of puppy-rearing and pit bull care. But when they fostered a pit bull whose labor was long overdue, even they didn’t have any answers.
Storie, the new pit bull mom, should have given birth in the shelter, but didn’t. Her large litter threatened her life, and neither the shelter staff nor the vets knew what was going on. So, what happened? Read the astounding story of Chris and Mariesa saving an overdue pit bull mom.
Chris and Mariesa were no ordinary dog owners. You’ll be surprised at how they live…
“Dog People” Is An Understatement
Mariesa Caliguire loved dogs. Really, she LOVED dogs, so much that she broke up with former partners because her passion got in the way. But there’s someone out there for everyone, and Mariesa’s perfect match happened to be Chris Hughes.
Ever since the couple adopted their first dog, Moses, they continued to share their home with canines. By 2013, they owned eight dogs. Although they didn’t know it at the time, they would foster several more.
How On Earth Do You Care For Eight Dogs?
Chris and Mariesa have a spacious house with a large backyard, which gives their dogs plenty of running space. However, that doesn’t stop their furry companions from crowding their space. “At nighttime, all of the dogs want to sleep on the bed and it becomes too cluttered,” Chris told TODAY. “So we built the megabed.”
The couple’s famous megabed spans 14 feet long and 7 feet wide. They shoved two six-foot-long beds together, added a miniature staircase, and padded the sides with extra dog beds. Viola! An eight-dog bedroom.
Life In The Dog House
The Ohio couple’s unusual lifestyle sparked a genius idea. They would begin their own reality series, Life at the Dog House! No, not the Netflix documentary–the Youtube channel. Chris and Mariesa filmed their life for over 14,000 subscribers.
Mariesa and Chris have been running this channel for over ten years, and they donate all proceeds to shelter dogs’ vet trips and surgeries. Since they already had a loyal following, news of their unusual foster story spread quickly.
Were eight dogs enough for the couple? No, because a specific breed needed rescuing.
Adopting Their Ninth Pup
Mariesa and Chris’s lifestyle isn’t about their own comfort or convenience; it’s about giving dogs a happy life. For that reason, the couple decided to take in their ninth dog. They had rescued all of their dogs from shelters, and their ninth canine would be no different.
In particular, Chris and Mariesa had a soft spot in their hearts for pit bulls. Their first dog, Moses, is a pit bull. The couple understands how misunderstood the breed is.
Pit Bulls Don’t Deserve Their Negative Reputation
Pit bulls have such a negative reputation that they’re illegal to own in nine U.S. states. As a result, most of these dogs end up in shelters. However, the idea that pit bulls are naturally aggressive is not backed by science.
Because pit bulls have greater strength than other dogs, their bites are reported more often than smaller dogs’ attacks. The skewed statistics likely contribute in their false reputation. In reality, they’re sweet and gentle family dogs.
The couple’s hunt for a new furry friend led to one unusual case.
Here’s The Pregnant Pit Bull, Storie
In autumn of 2013, Chris and Mariesa drove to Cuyahoga Country Kennel. There, they saw an adorable, and visibly pregnant, pit bull. This was Storie, a loving new mother who seemed seconds away from giving birth.
Most dogs end up in shelters after unfortunate circumstances, and Storie was no exception. She initially belonged to a backyard dog breeder. After the breeder realized how much money he had to spend on Storie, he left her in the shelter.
Could The Couple Take In Seven More Dogs?
As soon as Chris and Mariesa saw Storie, they wanted to take the precious pooch home. An employee at the shelter told them Storie was expected to have six babies. Chris and Mariesa already cared for eight dogs; could they afford to bump it up to 15?
According to Chris, Mariesa had no hesitation in saving Storie, saying, “Let’s save the dog. That’s why we’re here.” The couple agreed to foster Storie until she gave birth, and then find the puppies new homes.
But Storie wasn’t safe in the shelter. She was running out of time.
The Dangers Of Pregnancy In Shelters
Being pregnant while in a shelter is dangerous for both the mom and her pups. Puppies’ brains develop while they’re still in the womb. When the mom feels stressed, the babies experience it too. This can prompt puppies to become skittish or aggressive later in life.
According to the Homeward Bound Animal Rescue, most shelters euthanize pregnant dogs. Not only do staff not have the resources for newborns, but most deem pregnant dogs as “unadoptable.” It’s a miracle that Chris and Mariesa found Storie when they did.
But Storie Had A Problem…
Not only did the rescue staff know that Storie was pregnant, but they also mentioned that she should have given birth a while ago. They had no idea why Storie remained pregnant. On top of that, Storie began showing signs that she felt unwell.
Once Chris and Mariesa brought Storie home, they scoured the internet for answers. They uncovered an answer, but it didn’t seem possible: Storie was intentionally delaying her own birth.
Is That Possible?
Yes; it’s possible for animals to delay birth intentionally. The process is called delayed implantation, in which mammals can subconsciously press the pause button on their babies’ development. Why? To ensure a safe environment for their young.
Dogs are smart animals. Storie understood that the shelter wasn’t an ideal setting to give birth in. So she instinctively prolonged her pregnancy until she was in a protective environment. In short, Storie needed to feel safe for her to go into labor.
Storie’s litter was much more intense than Chris or Mariesa anticipated.
Let’s Get A Vet’s Opinion
Chris and Mariesa knew that they couldn’t trust the internet for a diagnosis. They had to ensure that Storie was healthy. If the pit bull didn’t give birth soon, she could lose all of her puppies and potentially die.
The couple’s eight other dogs watched as Chris and Mariesa zoomed off to the vet. They wanted to confirm the status of Storie’s pregnancy. However, they never would have guessed the news they would receive.
Earlier Estimates Of Storie’s Pregnancy Were Completely Wrong
When the vet gave Storie an ultrasound, they discovered the shelter staff were incorrect about Storie’s litter. She wasn’t carrying six puppies, but twelve. Since most pit bulls only produce ten babies at most, both vets and foster owners were shocked.
Now, Mariesa and Chris knew that they weren’t about to care for fifteen dogs, but twenty-one. However, they worried more about Storie than themselves. Since it wasn’t safe to give Storie a c-section, the couple would have to let the dog give birth on her own.
Twelve puppies meant a more perilous dilemma for Storie…
So, Did Storie Suffer From Delayed Implantation?
The vet admitted that they didn’t know why Storie hadn’t given birth yet. It’s possible that the mom lengthened her pregnancy due to stress. “Dogs having puppies at shelters, it’s not the best thing for them,” Chris would later say. “It’s stressful for her, stressful for the puppies.”
The vet recommended that Chris and Mariesa take Storie home and made sure she relaxed. If the pit bull didn’t go into labor within two days, they would have to take her back. Understandably, Storie’s condition made the couple very nervous.
How Storie’s Pregnancy Was Life-Threatening
To put Storie’s pregnancy into perspective, know that the largest puppy litter ever recorded was 24 puppies. An average litter consists of five or six puppies. A 12-puppy litter is common for larger dogs like Great Danes, but not for pit bulls.
Storie had to remain strong enough to supply all the neonatal puppies. At the time, no one knew how nourished or energized Storie felt. Would she have the endurance to give birth to all twelve puppies successfully?
Would Storie successfully give birth to twelve healthy puppies?
With That, Their Plans Changed
At that point, Chris and Mariesa were determined to make Storie feel as comfortable as possible. They understood that sharing a space with eight other dogs may not be comforting to the pit bull. So, they came up with plan B.
Mariesa dedicated an entire room to Storie. The couple bought a new bed, padded Storie’s space with pillows and blankets, and fed her well. Eventually, they had done all they could. They went to bed with worry in their hearts.
The Pit Bull’s Miracle
In the morning, Mariesa and Chris woke up to sounds coming from Storie’s room. They opened her door and breathed a sigh of relief. “It seems like she went into labor that night,” Mariesa said, “and then started having puppies the next day, 18 hours after we pulled her from the shelter. And then I end up with twelve puppies.”
It seems that relaxation and space was exactly what Storie needed! All of her babies seemed lively and healthy, and Storie felt much better.
How would Chris and Mariesa deal with their new litter?
Great! But Now They Had Twenty-One Dogs
Chris and Mariesa never complained about tending to twenty-one dogs, a dozen of which were newborns. After all, Storie provided most of feeding and cuddling. Fortunately, the Ohio couple only had to manage the puppies for a couple of weeks.
Like all of their dog adventures, Mariesa and Chris posted Storie’s babies on their Youtube channel. After two weeks, the puppies opened their eyes and began to develop their own personalities. That’s when the adoption applications started rolling in.
Adopting Storie’s Puppies
Initially, Chris and Mariesa considered keeping one or two of the puppies for themselves. But upon seeing how many people wanted the puppies, they changed their minds. “There’s tons of applications in on them,” Chris revealed at the time. Besides, the couple did not have the means to care for more dogs.
Mariesa and Chris worked with the rescue to adopt all puppies. By the time they were ten weeks old, all of Storie’s babies had left. They now enjoy their loving homes.
But What Happened To Storie?
Throughout this adventure, Chris and Mariesa’s love for Storie had grown. Although they didn’t want to let her go, they knew that she deserved a forever home. Fortunately, Chris’s best friend, Ryan, knew about their situation.
Ryan offered to adopt Storie himself. This way, Ryan could give her all the love she deserved, and the pit bull could still visit the couple. Ryan also got her spayed so she wouldn’t have any more puppies. Storie now lives happily with her new family.
And The Couple?
After all had ended, Mariesa and Chris relaxed back into their daily lives with their eight dogs. That is, until Chris popped the question. The couple got married in October of 2013. Of course, their furry family members all got dressed up for the occasion.
Chris and Mariesa also began a nonprofit called the Mr. Mo Project. Their organization cares for elderly dogs, who are more likely to be ignored and euthanized. All of their funds pay for these dogs’ living and medical expenses. Today, they still care for canines together.
Read on for another story of a rescue dog who gave birth, with some surprises along the way!
Rescued Golden Retriever Gives Birth To A Litter Of Cow Pups
In late 2017, two dog-loving foster parents took in a pregnant golden retriever mix named Rosie. They expected a large litter of fluffy, golden puppies, but instead, they discovered…cows? Or at least, what looked like cows.
These oddly-colored puppies threw the internet into a storm. How did Rosie get cow puppies? And what happened to these puppies after they were raised? Learn the charming story of Rosie and her unexpected litter.
Rosie had a hard life and was abandoned when she needed the help most.
Meet Rosie, The Cute And Confused Mama
In October 2017, Rosie, a golden retriever mix, was disowned by her previous owners. She was left in a shelter visibly pregnant and close to birth. The shelter’s manager feared for her health and for the fact that she would give birth without proper assistance.
Although shelters have drastically lowered their euthanization policies, most are overcrowded with dogs and do not have the resources to care for a new litter. Rosie needed caring owners now more than ever.
The Rescuers Swoop In
The shelter’s manager called Neuse River Golden Retriever Rescue, which helps dogs find homes in Raleigh, North Carolina. The rescuers had to work fast to get Rosie settled before childbirth.
Neuse River is an organization dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of golden retrievers. Volunteers foster stray or abandoned dogs until they are well enough to be adopted. Fortunately for Rosie, the organization’s members knew a couple who could care for her individual needs.
Rosie needed help, fast.
Help Is On The Way
A Neuse volunteer picked up Rosie from the shelter the morning after the call. By this time, Rosie appeared so close to birth that the volunteer worried she would go into labor on the drive to the Raleigh Vet Clinic.
The volunteer checked Rosie into the clinic, where vets determined that she was healthy. The rescuer’s next task was to find Rosie a foster family who could assist her birth.
John And Katie Black To The Rescue
Katie and John Black have fostered over 20 dogs since 2009, and owned three dogs of their own: Annie, Leroy, and Winchester. The volunteer knew that John and Katie had the experience necessary to foster both Rosie and her pups.
The couple had worked with Neuse River for years and excitedly took in Rosie. They brought her home on October 28, 2017, five days after Rosie was dropped off at the shelter.
But John and Kate weren’t expecting what popped out of Rosie.
Rosie Adjusted Well
The Blacks received Rosie just five days after she was dropped off at the shelter. “This is our new foster Rosie,” the Blacks reported on their Instagram, “who is very preggers and close to delivering her puppies.”
The couple revealed that Rosie seemed shy and scared, but was otherwise very sweet. When the time came, Katie and John Black helped Rosie successfully give birth. They met Rosie’s four healthy pups and a surprise that captivated the internet.
Rosie Gives Birth
John and Kate helped Rosie deliver her pups. Although it had its difficulties, both mother and puppies can out fine. All the puppies were the right size and weight for her breed…or what everyone assumed was Rosie’s breed.
The couple expected a large litter since Rosie appeared so big. Although average litters consist of five or six puppies, Rosie only gave birth to four. But that wasn’t the only surprise that hit the Blacks.
“Not Quite The Puppy Pile We Were Expecting.”
“Our foster dog and Golden mix gave birth yesterday,” Katie said. “To baby cows.” The four pups looked nothing like their mother, and all had black spots. Although no one knows what breed the father was, he clearly wasn’t a Golden retriever.
The Blacks named the newborn pups Daisy, Clarabelle, Betsy, and Moo. The family photos not only received jokes online but also from the Blacks’ family. “My dad laughed for quite a while at the photos,” Katie told the Press Association in November 2017.
This led the Blacks on a search to find out what type of animal the father could have been…
Cow Puppies’ Father Could Be…
Several dog breeds have white fur with black spots, so it’s hard to determine which breed the father was. Like Rosie, he could have been a mix. But that doesn’t stop internet users from speculating on which breed Rosie mated with.
Theories vary from a dalmatian, English setter, bluetick coonhound, and wetterhoun. However, only dalmatians have a true “spot” design. Every other fur pattern is “tickling,” which are small, isolated areas of tiny dots. So dalmatian is a likely choice.
Rosie’s Baby Cows
Katie said that her dad loved the mismatch so much that he recommended posting it online. He joked that the pictures would go viral, and Katie agreed to add photos to Reddit. Father Black was right–the new mom took the internet by storm.
In the picture, Rosie appears just as confused as the Reddit users. The image received over 90,000 upvotes and 1,600 comments asking about the new family. This attention skyrocketed when the Blacks posted on Instagram.
They Look Like Their Dad!
According to the Nest, puppies inherit certain traits depending on which genes the parents carry. Australian Shepherd Health & Genetics Institute claims that “Dominant genes always outranks recessive ones,” which determines a dog’s appearance.
It’s safe to say that Rosie passed on recessive genes, and the father offered dominant genes. By chance, all of her puppies took on the physical traits of the father. The explanation makes the pair no less amusing, though.
As with many puppy stories, internet news spread like wildfire.
The Internet Got A Kick Out Of It
Redditors flocked over the cow puppies and visibly astonished Golden Retriever mom. Users attempted to translate Rosie’s expression as best they could. “I believe there’s been a mixpup here,” one user quipped.
Other users claimed that she appeared like she was mentally defending her pups. According to one user, Rosie’s face said, “so what?!?! is that really such a big deal? are you soooclosed minded? really Karen?”
Kate Has To Defend Herself
Alongside the positive attention, some users were concerned that Kate and John had intentionally bred two foster rescues. Kate clarified that they had received Rosie already pregnant. “We weren’t going to abort her puppies,” she commented. “She will be spayed immediately when she can be.”
Since John and Kate already owned three rescue dogs, they intended to adopt Rosie as soon as she and her litter recovered. They wouldn’t have to wait long, but it did take some work.
Behind the scenes, though, Rosie struggled.
But Rosie Wasn’t Doing So Well
Although the birth was successful, Rosie suffered some ill health. After the delivery, the Blacks realized that Rosie had an infection. They took her to the vet, who administered antibiotics for several weeks.
Rosie likely suffered from a bacterial infection in the uterus called Metritis, which happens after a rough birth. The symptoms could cause Rosie to reduce milk production and not be able to care for her puppies. Fortunately, she had Kate and John.
Kate And John Help Rosie Heal
While Rosie was recovering, the Blacks helped her by bottle feeding the pups. They were truly in love with each puppy, especially when they held them in their hands. Although they knew they couldn’t keep them, John and Kate cared for the pups as if they were their own.
Fortunately, Rosie healed in time. She eventually fed her puppies herself, and returned to being a happy, healthy mama. Her puppies also grew up with few complications.
Despite the infection, Rosie didn’t give up on being a good mama.
Rosie Became A Good Mama
While social media users all pondered the strange relation, Rosie didn’t seem to mind one bit. She remained protective over her pups and cuddled beside them for weeks. Moo, Betsy, Daisy, and Clarabelle all grew up healthy.
“She is one proud mama,” explained Kate. According to Instagram, Rosie would go wherever her pups were. When Kate moved the puppies to clean sheets in a laundry basket, Rosie hopped in after them.
As It Turns Out, This Isn’t Uncommon
Pets4Homes authors reveal that puppies appearing different from their parents or littermates happens commonly among dogs, especially concerning mixed breeds. “When it comes to non-pedigree dogs…there is a lot more scope for variance, to the point that color and other manifestations of physical appearance can be quite variable within the same litter.”
What fascinates onlookers is that all of Rosie’s pups look like cows, and none of them even looked like dogs at first. As they grew up, they fit their form as dogs.
The Pups Are In Good Paws
Kate and John not only took great care of the puppies, but they kept the family’s biggest fans in the loop. They updated their Instagram page consistently to let everyone follow the cow puppies’ growth.
The puppies always hung around Rosie, often sleeping on her paws. The Blacks shared that Clarabelle showed her true colors early, being the loudest of the pups. As the mini-cows grew, their personalities shone through.
What happened to the cow puppies? They found their happily ever after!
The Cows Grew Bigger In A Couple Of Weeks
By early December 2017, the pups celebrated their birthday of only a couple of weeks. Even by then, they developed individual personalities. On December 6th, Kate updated Instagram on the cow puppies.
“Daisy is a sweetheart, but a little anxious/shy/hesitant/fearful. Clarabelle is a hilarious, fearless spitfire. Moo is a snuggly baby that likes to be held, and cries when he wants attention. [Betsy is] the sweetest and most gentle puppy, I want to keep her!”
The Pups Part Ways
By the first week of January 2018, two different families adopted Betsy and Clarabelle. Although the Blacks felt sad to see them go, they ensured that each cow pup would receive the love and attention they deserved.
Daisy also got adopted, and her new family renamed her to Lily. Later, Moo gained a new home and a new name, Barkley. Moo, along with his new siblings Max, Mo, and Abby, all have their own Instagram account.
Rosie Must Say Goodbye To Her Pups
Rosie also entered a forever home. Once Rosie was well enough, John and Kate had her spayed. Although John and Kate will be sad to see Rosie leave, she will join a new family who won’t abandon her.
Once Rosie was well enough, John and Kate had her spayed. She can no longer have puppies, and may not see them again. But all dogs were sent to loving homes.