A small house on Windsong Lane in Port Richey, Fla. is filled with the sound of puppies. They're tiny bundles of fur, barking and playing. To look at them now, it's unthinkable that six weeks ago, they almost didn't make it.
"They're doing great. They're huge," said Kimberleigh Kernon of Saving Grace Animal Rescue.
"Huge" might be a an overstatement. The puppies are, after all, Shih tzu poodle mixes. The litter of puppies was orphaned in South Carolina, after their mother was hit by a car. Kernon heard about them through another animal rescue and had an idea.
6/5/2013 Related Story: Pasco pit bull adopts shih tzu poodle puppies
She had recently rescued a pregnant pit bull named Nena. All but two of Nena's puppies died, so Kernon brought the Shih tzu poodles to Pasco County and Nena readily adopted them.
"I don't think she realizes those aren't her natural born puppies," she said.
Newschannel 8 profiled the unlikely family on June 5th. Kernon said the story was picked up across the country.
"The Huffington Post picked it up. Then it's in Kansas, and I've got family calling me from Jacksonville. It was really cool," Kernon said.
The puppies all have names now. There's Maybelline, for her ring of black eyeliner. The biggest puppy is called Moose. And then there's Zoro, and Tank.
Nena's two pit bull puppies are Libby and Sampson. Kernon has received numerous adoption applications and has found homes for all of the puppies except Libby.
"Bringing animals together with people is a really rewarding experience," she said.
It wasn't always easy. Two of the Shih Tzu Poodle puppies didn't survive. And there was the large financial investment the small animal rescue had to make to keep the others alive, including vet care and food.
But Kernon hopes Nena's story send the message to people that they can find amazing pets through adoptions and rescues.
"You do not need to go to a pet store," she said. "You do not need to go to a breeder."
The puppies will be neutered or spayed on July 25th, as well get their final puppy shots and a microchip. After that, they'll be able to go home to their new families. For more information, click here.
(Story courtesy WFLA.com)
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