PHOENIX -- A Chihuahua mix has become a surrogate mom to eight orphaned puppies.
"Betty Boop" arrived at the Maricopa County Animal Care and Control shelter in early February, just before giving birth to two healthy male pups.
On the same day, a Shih Tzu was brought to the county facility with serious birthing complications. The seven puppies were saved, but their mother died.
The staff decided to see if the new Chihuahua mom might feed the Shih Tzu puppies along with her own two newborns.
Betty Boop accepted them, tending to them as her own, and the new family was soon rescued by Arizona Animal Welfare League & Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (AAWL & SPCA), saving all from possible euthanasia.
During the same week, a newborn puppy was dropped off at AAWL. To successfully keep the puppy alive for the first few critical weeks, the staff decided to introduce him to Betty Boop. Once again, she instantly accepted and cared for him.
The staff at AAWL & SPCA considers the small dog a "supermom," helping to ensure the pups have the chance for a good start in life.
"This little dog has an exceptionally strong mothering instinct, accepting, nurturing and protecting all of the puppies in her care," said Vicky Eckerdt, director of Veterinary Operations at AAWL & SPCA. "When she is ready to go to a permanent home, she will be a terrific member of that family."
Betty Boop and the puppies were placed into the shelter's foster program so they could thrive together in a private home. She has raised all 10 of her puppies from feeble newborns to plump-bellied pups, which are now being adopted into forever homes.
AAWL & SPCA operates the state's oldest and largest no-kill shelter, caring for animals for as long as needed until they find permanent, loving homes.