A group of rescue workers breathed a collective sigh of relief Saturday when a pregnant dog they airlifted from Norway House for an emergency C-section survived with a litter of two puppies.
Tilley, a Jack Russell of undetermined age, was quietly nursing her pups, Faith and Grace, under the care of the Hull's Haven rescue service in Winnipeg.
"Everybody on Facebook was waiting on pins and needles. It was like a two-hour fight and that was followed by two more hours of fluids and then the surgery started at about 8:30 p.m," said Sally Hull, the owner of Hull's Haven.
It was touch and go whether the dog would live. Nobody expected the pups to survive, Hull said.
The three animals will be put up for adoption, probably in about eight weeks.
"There were four women in that conference call and you should have heard the phone call. We were all just saying 'Oh, my God, they lived.' Not for a minute did anyone expect the babies to live. So because of that and because it's Thanksgiving, we named the babies Faith and Grace," Hull said Saturday.
Tilley ran into trouble Friday morning when the first pup got stuck halfway out during birth.
It took eight hours before rescue workers in Norway House managed to extract the puppy by hand, Hull said.
The mother dog was then too exhausted to deliver the rest of the litter.
"Charlynn Starr Scribe is the wonder woman of Norway House Animal Rescue. She lives up there and co-ordinates all rescues with the assistance of a small army of people here in Winnipeg," said Winnipeg dog foster mother Janice Pennington.
Starr Scribe got the puppy unstuck, then persuaded the owners to sign Tilley over to Hull's Haven and finally, talked an airline into accommodating the dog with a flight to Winnipeg.
Credit also goes to fellow Norway House rescue worker Marcie Redhead and Sylvia Buhagiar from Norman Rescue in Thompson, Pennington said.
Amber Fox from Funds for Pets covered the $57.40 cost to fly the dog, tucked in a wooden crate, to Winnipeg on a regularly scheduled Perimeter Air flight.
"Hulls Haven Border Collie Rescue will be paying for the very expensive surgery and placing the three of them in a foster home," Pennington said.
Tilley, by the way, was spayed after the C-section.