Winnipeg’s Nancy Duykers thought she was helping one dog in need but she ended up with many, many more.
When Duykers first fostered Sheba, a boxer/lab cross from northern Manitoba, she thought the job was going to be straight-forward: taking the dog to the vet, giving her medication, and giving her a caring home.
Sheba had been shot and required a lot of veterinary care, but there were no signs anything else was amiss.
“I was looking after Sheba’s wound. That’s what I thought my job was going to be as her foster mom,” said Duykers, who also has two dogs of her own.
“I noticed she was starting to change a bit in her body, getting a little chubbier. The vet said sometimes when dogs are in heat, they get a phantom pregnancy, so that’s all we thought it was.
“Then she started getting bigger and bigger, so they did the ultrasound and there they were – all the little puppies looked like little gummy bears with heartbeats.”
All told, Sheba ended up with 11 healthy puppies, and for the seven weeks they were in Dukers’ home, that meant a lot of mouths to feed.
“It’s been a busy house,” she said.
Duykers took the puppies – and their mother – on their “freedom ride” Saturday, which means they were finally leaving her home and heading west to be adopted. Duykers said she drove the dogs to Moose Jaw, where they met another volunteer who took them to their final destination of Calgary.
Despite the “weeks of insanity”, Duykers said she’s going to miss Sheba and her unexpected litter.
“The hardest part for me is saying goodbye to Sheba,” she said. “I got her at a really tough time in my life, and she helped me through it and I helped her.”
Duykers’ foster experience was thanks to rescues Feed the Furbabies and Tails of the Misunderstood, who paid for Sheba’s veterinary care and other costs associated with the dogs.
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