9 min read

Dog Abandoned On Chain Outside Shelter Had A Big Surprise For Rescuers

She wouldn't stop wagging her tail when she realized people were there to help ❤️️

At 5:30 a.m. on Wednesday, May 30, Dr. Michael White, director of the Harris County Animal Shelter in Houston, Texas, flipped on the TV. There, on the local news, was his workplace, with the entrance gate still locked for the night.

The overcrowded shelter had made headlines during Memorial Day weekend when over 200 dogs and cats were surrendered in just three days — and that morning the KHOU11 news team found yet another abandoned animal outside the Harris County shelter.

On the screen, White saw a large white dog shackled to the shelter fence with a heavy metal chain — she smiled and wagged her tail when she saw people approaching in the dark.

“I was watching the local news and I saw Janelle [Bludau], the reporter, outside our facility at the gate out by the road,” White told The Dodo. “She was talking about this dog she found, who had been chained to our front gate when she came to the shelter that morning.”

Bludau said on the news she would stay with the dog until somebody arrived to let them in, so White immediately jumped up, threw on some clothes and began his 45-minute drive to the shelter.

Other than an infestation of fleas and being diagnosed as heartworm positive, the 2-year-old Lab mix, whom shelter workers named Janelle after the reporter who found her, appeared to be in fairly good health.

But an X-ray soon revealed that the dog didn’t arrive at the shelter alone — she was expecting 10 puppies, and soon. Her stomach was so large that it dragged on the concrete floor of her kennel.

Because the staff estimated that Janelle was only a week or two away from giving birth, White knew he had to get the dog out of the shelter and into a quiet place where she would feel safe. White, who likes to foster dogs who need it the most, knew he was the perfect person to help.

Despite having two dogs of his own, as well as two foster dogs, White brought Janelle home. 

“I decided I wasn’t going to leave her there any longer, and I took her home,” White said. “I didn’t want her to stay up there in that condition. I hate for animals to give birth in a shelter situation.”

A very pregnant Janelle relaxes at her foster home
Harris County Animal Shelter

With White’s family, Janelle blossomed, fitting into his household seamlessly. “She’s extremely affectionate toward people,” White said. “She would love to be a lap dog, and will climb into your lap, but she weighs 65 to 70 pounds.”

Dr. Michael White and his foster dog Janelle
Harris County Animal Shelter

Just a few days after arriving at her foster home, however, Janelle’s behavior changed. White noticed she wasn’t eating, and when he came home from work on June 12, she became anxious and seemed uncomfortable.

“We knew when I got home from work that evening that something was up,” White said. “I was hoping she’d do it during the day, but …”

Janelle didn’t know it, but she had landed in the best hands. A practicing vet for 30 years, White had delivered more litters than he could remember. When he saw the first contraction around 8:50 p.m., he quickly realized that he and his wife were going to be there a while.

“I’m probably more cautious than I should be, but I just want to make sure everything goes smoothly with each puppy,” White said.

Janelle's first puppy
Harris County Animal Shelter

“My wife and I stayed up with her all night assisting in each delivery,” White explained. “At 3:36 a.m., [puppy] number 10 was born, and we thought that was it, but number 11 was born at 6:05 a.m. It was a long night for me, my wife and Janelle.”

“We were trying to tag team, but every time we would hear a noise, we were jumping up and looking in the pen,” White added. “So we may have gotten one hour of sleep each in increments that night.”

Their hard work and attention paid off when, the next morning, 11 healthy puppies were wriggling around in the pen with their tired mom.

Though White helped Janelle bring her puppies into the world, she has since taken the reins with their care.

“It’s funny to watch her. Dinnertime for the puppies is like a free-for-all. It’s loud and they’re all squealing, trying to find their spot,” White said. “Every now and then I’ll see her move over to the side and get some of the little ones over with her to nurse without the rest of them interfering.”

“She’s constantly keeping the pen nice and clean,” White added. “I couldn’t have asked for a better mother. She’s doing an excellent job with them.”

Janelle the rescue dog with her 11 puppies
Twitter/Janelle Bludau

As soon as the babies are weaned, Janelle will be spayed and ready to start her search for a forever home.

“I think she is going to make an excellent pet,” White said. “She’s a very, very nice dog, very sweet, got a great disposition, loves everybody and she’s a nice looking dog, too.”

If you are interested in adopting Janelle or one of her babies, you can contact the Harris County Animal Shelter. To help other Harris County dogs in need, you can also make a donation.