Imagine being left on your own, pregnant and cold, wandering the streets with no one to care for you.


Willow was found as a stray outside the city limits and brought to Calgary Humane Society, just like many other unwanted, neglected, and abandoned dogs. When she arrived, she was cold, afraid and very close to having a litter of puppies. Our first course of action was to find Willow a foster home where she could deliver her puppies comfortably. After a couple of weeks in foster, Willow gave birth to 10 squirmy and adorable puppies – a record for the largest litter of puppies ever born in our care!


Willow's puppy head outside for some fresh air while at their foster home

Willow’s puppies head outside for some fresh air while at their foster home


The puppies required immediate assistance with their feedings since Willow only had 9 nipples but 10 hungry mouths. Her foster family was remarkable; they helped her feed her puppies throughout the day and night. Willow was a wonderful mom but after a few weeks she began getting fiercely protective of her puppies. It was therefore decided to place the puppies in a separate foster home where they would be safe and Willow’s foster family could focus on ensuring her well-being.

Susan, one of our dedicated foster parents, was brave enough to take on the challenge of caring for all 10 puppies. She described her experience as “beautiful chaos”.


Mother Willow while she recovers at the shelter

Mother of puppies, Willow, while at the shelter waiting to be adopted


At Calgary Humane Society, naming a litter of puppies typically follows a theme. However, coming up with a theme for 10 names was a bit of a challenge. Eventually we decided on Ashley, Oakley, Wally, Magnolia, Peanut, Cottonwood, Aspen, Cherry, Poplar, and Joshua Tree. All of the puppies were adorable, and each one was quickly adopted when they returned to shelter. “They all had such unique personalities,” recalls our Foster Team Lead, Sally Johnston. As for Willow, she soon returned to shelter to be spayed and was adopted shortly thereafter.


Magnolia the puppy takes a quick nap on a staff shoulder

Magnolia the puppy makes herself comfortable on a staff shoulder

“The best memories involve times when I could snuggle with a pup then watch it fall asleep in my arms,”

says Susan, foster parent.


Every day we meet abandoned animals like Willow. At Calgary Humane Society, we are always ready to step in; however, the reality is we can’t do it without your help.


It is only from the generosity of donors like you that we can provide the care required for animals like Willow and her puppies.


A gift from you today will change the lives of more animals like Willow – giving them happiness, joy, love, and a second chance at life!

Support animals like Willow and her puppies