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Animal Allies: Molli's story

Sarah Amistadi, a dog buddy at Animal Allies, is surrounded by Molli’s litter. (submitted photo)

Animal Allies has plenty of stories of second chances for the cats and dogs it takes in.

“With over 2,000 animals that come through our facility each year, we’ve got lots of stories,” said John Gustafson, Animal Allies development director.

One such story is that of Molli, a Labrador mix found in southern St. Louis County by Scott Thienes in January.

“I found her, or she found me, really,” Thienes said.

Thienes said he’d seen Molli hanging around his house in Island Lake. He could tell she was pregnant. Thienes would feed his dog outside and sometimes Molli as well. But he didn’t expect what Molli would do to protect her puppies.

“One day I came home and found that the pet door was broken. I opened the back door and there was Molli and all her puppies,” Thienes said.

Molli had squeezed through a pet door made for cats to find a warm, safe place to give birth to her 10 puppies.

“She figured she had a good gig going, so this would be the best place to have her puppies,” Thienes said.

Thienes wasn’t able to care for the puppies, so he called Animal Allies. He had adopted a dog from the shelter in the past and said he knew they would find good homes there.

But the puppies were too young to be separated from their mother, so they were sent to stay with a foster family for six weeks.

“Foster care is usually for an animal that is too young to go through spay/neuter and be adopted out,” Gustafson said. “Or they have health issues and need some attention and care until they’re strong enough to be on their own. We have a number of foster families in the community that help us, mostly with cats and kittens, but some with puppies too.”

Patti Olson and her family of four cared for the puppies.

“We have a great family deal where the puppies are never alone. My husband and I tag team and I’ve got two kids who live at home and can help out,” Olson said. “We’ve fostered 39 animals since we began a year ago in October.”

Olson said they started fostering puppies after their German shepherd-Lab mix Princess passed away.

“She was the perfect dog. She made it to 15 years. But after she passed away we decided we didn’t want another full-time dog. So we foster in her memory,” Olson said.

She said Molli was also an excellent dog and the 10 puppies were fun to play with, but got to be a handful after a while.

“It’s like they doubled in size by the time they were old enough to go,” Olson said. “Fostering is perfect for us because we can get our puppy fix and then give them back to the shelter when they get too big.”

After the puppies were spayed or neutered, they were all adopted out. Leah Nelson adopted one of the puppies.

“I got him on my birthday and named him Sigurd, after Sigurd Olson,” Nelson said.

Nelson has a 10-year old Doberman and said she went to the shelter because she wanted another dog to keep her company.

“Now they’re best friends,” Nelson said.

Gustafson hopes to have a “puppy reunion” at the shelter for Molli and her pups on May 11.

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Teri Cadeau

Teri Cadeau is a reporter for the Budgeteer.

(218) 720-4176
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