Dog Dumped In Middle Of Nowhere Hides Under House To Protect Her Babies
There were more puppies than anyone could have imagined.
Why should Princess Sophia trust anyone?
After all, she trusted someone once - someone who dumped her in a crumbling rural spot southwest of Miami.
Princess Sophia is among scores of dogs that roam the area, which is called Redland, most of them having arrived by way of their old families, who decided this was as good a place as any to abandon them.
But some people were thinking of these dogs. Members of the Redland Rock Pit Abandoned Dog Project have been crucial in keeping these dogs alive, feeding as many as 100 every day and even finding homes for some of them.
"The puppies and small dogs and pretty dogs - all the adoptables - they go quick. Rescues take them. But the large dogs are almost impossible to move," Jessie Pena, vice president of the group, tells The Dodo. "What we do is feed them. If we find a rescue, we'll go to that area and pick them up."
Princess Sophia is one of those big, not-so-easy-to-find-a-home-for dogs.
And recently, she got even bigger.
"We saw that she was that she was getting fat and round," Pena says.
She's having a baby.
But when it came to her precious cargo, Princess Sophia wasn't about to trust humans again. So she completely disappeared from the area.
Days later, someone heard that she was spotted with her babies in nearby Homestead, Florida.
Volunteers went there and started feeding the local dogs.
"As we were placing trays down, we heard the puppies crying," Pena recalls.
It was coming from under a house.
A moment later, Princess Sophia made an appearance.
Pena peered past her beneath the house to check on the puppies. There was one ... two ...
"Fourteen!" she declared. "Incredible!"
Now, to get them out of there.
At first, Princess Sophia seemed relieved to see her rescuers. She let Pena get a snare around her neck to keep her still and calm, while the puppies were collected one at a time.
Five ... six ...
Then Princess Sophia snapped at someone.
"She was already stressed, tired," Pena says. "There was a lot of us there too. People she didn't recognize."
Volunteers waited until Princess Sophia relaxed again. The patient ebb and flow of trust lasted two and a half hours. In the end, all 14 puppies were rescued, including Princess Sophia.
After getting much-needed medical care - the entire family was covered in fleas - Princess Sophia and her newborns were taken to a temporary foster home.
Again, trust came slowly for Princess.
"She was terrified," Pena says. "She wasn't coming out of the crate."
"We were able to put her in a bigger crate with a pool and the puppies and she was able to get out," Pena adds. "She was a little more trusting."
While this mother's trust is still coming along by fits and jerks - mostly because she had only known the jerks - her puppies will grow up singing a very different song.
They will know only the angels.
This family is in the care of the Big Dog Ranch Rescue, where eventually they will all be available for adoption.
If you would like to help support the abandoned dogs of the Redland Rock Pit area of south Florida, consider making a donation.
You can also keep up with this family's progress on the group's Facebook page.