MANATEE — A stray black Labrador mother and her nine puppies had little time to live, facing being put to sleep at a shelter in South Carolina.
Things looked bleak for the canines, until a Bradenton-based animal rescue group agreed to take them a day before they were scheduled to be euthanized. But logistics on how to get the animals to Manatee remained.
“We wanted to take them,” said Safe Haven Animal Rescue of Florida Vice President Mary Anne McDevitt. “But we didn’t know how we were going to get them here.”
As time to save the puppies ticked away, a savior came forward in the form of Pilots N Paws, a South Carolina-based group made up of pilots across the southeast, who fly endangered animals to destinations where they can receive care.
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On Thursday, Pilots N Paws loaded the lab McDevitt calls “Mama” into a plane in South Carolina, along with her litter of nine puppies, flying the family to Sarasota.
“What they do is just so amazing,” McDevitt said. “They truly saved these animals lives, and at no cost to us.”
McDevitt picked up the dogs at a Sarasota airport and took them into her home, where rehabilitation efforts have begun, as “Mama” appeared to have been starving.
The dog is slowly growing stronger though, able to keep down white rice and water.
She is also producing healthy milk for her pups, who range in size from four ounces to a pound.
Rehabilitation will continue for a couple of weeks on “Mama,” then she will be spayed and ready for adoption.
Her puppies will also be spayed or neutered and be put up for adoption in eight weeks, McDevitt said.
“She’s as sweet as anything. She will make somebody a great dog,” McDevitt said of “Mama.”
Anyone interested in finding out more information on “Mama” and her puppies can call Safe Haven at (941) 301-4875.