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updated: 6/4/2013 4:45 PM

Indiana dog adopts puppies orphaned in Oklahoma

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Associated Press

MERRILLVILLE, Ind. -- A pregnant dog that was saved from a scheduled euthanasia at an Indiana shelter -- only to have all of her puppies die -- has come to the rescue of six orphaned puppies taken from an Oklahoma shelter affected by recent tornadoes.

The stray 2-year-old Rottweiler mix named Bertha was paired with the Oklahoma puppies after a rescue group pulled her from a South Bend shelter where she was scheduled to die.

Bertha was already in labor when a volunteer picked her up, but she failed to give birth within 24 hours. An emergency surgery revealed that all eight puppies were dead, The Times in Munster reported.

The rescue group, Second Chance 4 Pets Network, then alerted other groups in the region that it had a lactating dog that could help if anyone had puppies that needed to nurse.

Lakeshore PAWS in Porter County brought Bertha six newborn puppies it had acquired from an Oklahoma City shelter through a volunteer helping the tornado-ravaged area. The puppies' mother had been euthanized because she was deemed aggressive.

Bertha "was unsure at first, but the foster got into the pool with her and she started cleaning them right away," said JoAnn Palko, president and founder of Second Chance.

The puppies are just over a week old and are thriving, Palko said.

"She's a fantastic mom," Palko said. "My foster says she doesn't even want to go outside to go to the bathroom and leave her puppies."

Second Chance is now considering training Bertha to be a therapy dog.

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