Kathy Alston is a veterinarian from St. Kitts in the Caribbean and knows all too well how much of a problem stray dogs are on the island. The stray dogs that live there eat from the trash, annoy the locals, and frighten the tourists. And despite efforts by animal rights organizations to keep the population of these dogs under control, they continue to multiply.
So when Kathy received a call from a friend who had found a stray dog in need of help, the dedicated veterinarian didn't hesitate for a second.
Although she'd always done her part to take care of the many stray dogs in St. Kitts, she knew that this case was going to be special. In the past she has often taken in animals, nursed them back to health, and found homes for them, but this time it would be a bit different.
When Kathy found the dog lying in the street, the first thing she noticed was its distended belly. She was pretty sure what it meant, but moved closer to examine it.
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To Kathy's relief the cause of the massive belly was not a disease and was just what she had suspected: the dog was pregnant and would soon give birth. She quickly took her new patient home and prepared everything for the coming birth. "My mother wanted the dog to be in a safe place to give birth," remembers Alice, her daughter.
Kathy could clearly see that the mother-to-be was only about six months old, still a puppy herself. Living on the streets, pregnant, had been very hard on her and she was extremely agitated. The only thing that Kathy could do was try to relax her and help her bring her litter safely into the world.
A few hours later the contractions began. Soon the puppies started appearing, one, two, three... In the end the brave little pooch was mother to a litter of six.
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Everything seemed fine at first, but then Kathy noticed that one of the newborns wasn't breathing.
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Instinctually, Kathy began trying to resuscitate the puppy by performing CPR. As she gently massaged its little chest, she could see the look of worry on the mother dog's face. But after what seemed like an eternity, Kathy could finally feel the soft beating of the puppy's little heart. As the beating got stronger, she could clearly see that it was breathing normally and even began to move around.
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When the dramatic birth was over and all the puppies were safe, Kathy realized that she had not yet given the mother a name, so she decided to call her Jo Ellen.
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After the birth, Jo Ellen was understandably exhausted. But she still had enough energy to take care of her little pups.
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Jo Ellen turned out to be a wonderful mother and all of her puppies were healthy and growing fast. Kathy couldn't have been more proud of her patient and her family: "The puppies are all working very hard on the whole walking thing and starting to get the hang of it."
It would seem that the story already has a happy ending, but the good fortune didn't end there. Kathy was able to find homes for most of the puppies and is optimistic that they will all soon find loving owners.
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You could say that Kathy was just doing her job as a veterinarian when she rescued Jo Ellen from the streets, helped her deliver her litter and saved on the puppies from certain death, but considering how often she has done similar things for the animals on her island, it's clear that she gives a whole new meaning to the term "animal lover." Keep up the good work, Kathy!

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