A single pup and an abundant litter

The Santa Fe shelter is full, so I expected to see the Isolation Ward–reserved for dogs with contagious illnesses–packed as well. But when I peeked in, the only pup meeting my gaze was a six-month-old chocolate Lab, laying on her bed cuddling a baby doll. I’ve seen my share of cute in my life, but this was off the charts. Knowing the pup wasn’t feeling well made it all the more precious.

When she realized I was coming in to visit, the tail started thumping. She wasn’t interested in the treats I brought, just happy for the belly rubs and playful tugs with the doll. Usually I fight pangs of guilt when it’s time to leave and close the door to the kennel, leaving the dog inside. But with her, I felt hopeful. Once she’s healthy, this gorgeous girl won’t wait long to be adopted.

Lab pup with an upper respiratory infection

PS. This new mother has her paws full, so I didn’t go in and visit. Couldn’t help snapping a photo though.

Mama and her very large litter

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