The vet stared at the ultrasound in front of her, astounded by what she saw. After double-checking, she found that what she saw was completely real. Even though she was shocked, she needed to let the owners of the dog know what was going on… after all, it was their beloved dog’s life that was in danger.
Time To Choose One
Chris and Mariesa had always wanted to adopt a dog for themselves. They understood the responsibility involved, and they went for it. When they found the right shelter, Mariesa made a promise to only adopt one dog – a difficult task. All the dogs begged to be picked, making her job even more challenging until her eyes fell upon a special dog.
Belly Full Of Unborn Pups
The dog made eye contact with the couple, and then slowly came to them. They noticed that the dog before them was very pregnant, but the mother-to-be was affectionate and licked their hands. Mariesa felt that they were connecting, and she quickly understood that this pit bull with the swollen belly would come home with them. There was suddenly a shadow of a doubt that came over them, what was it?
Bred And Then Surrendered At The Shelter
Mariesa wanted to know everything she could about this dog that was about to become her full-time responsibility. Soon she learned that the dog had a name, Storie, and she also had a history. Before she was dropped off at the shelter, Storie belonged to backyard breeders who soon found out that they couldn’t afford to keep their pregnant pit bull any longer.
A Loving Home
It was clear to Chris and Mariesa that their newly-adopted dog was in desperate need of love, care, and a safe place to give birth to her litter. It broke the couple’s heart to see Storie neglected and unloved. But just when they thought everything was looking up for the pregnant pit bull, the vet had something to tell them.
Fans Of Pit Bulls
Pit bulls have gotten a bad reputation because of certain breeders who have turned them into fighting machines. Mariesa and Chris actually had a soft spot for pit bulls, and it wouldn’t be the first time they adopted one. They had already adopted a good bunch of them, as you can see below.
As you can imagine, having so many beds means you have to be able to put them all somewhere to sleep. Then, of course, some people love to have their dogs with hem in the bed and that was the reason that this couple decided to get a 14-foot-long, 7-foot-wide “megabed”. When speaking to TODAY, Chris explained: “At nighttime, all of the dogs want to sleep on the bed and sometimes it becomes too cluttered, and we end up being pushed off of the bed or sleeping on the couch. So we built the megabed.”
The two of them knew that pit bulls were misunderstood dogs, and therefore often neglected. This became part of the root that encouraged them to adopt more pit bulls. Although they had a considerable amount of experience with dogs, nothing could have prepared them for what was about to happen.
Loving Parents To Many Dogs
Chris and Mariesa were fully dedicated to creating a safe haven for dogs in need. They do anything and everything they can to save these sweet pups lives. Chris and Mariesa share this value.
Chris Was Different
Chris was like a godsend for Mariesa. Chris was passionate about pets, and dogs in particular. There was more than just a mutual love for animals that brought these two together. They were set to create a home for their children… the furry kind.
Friendly Faces In These Places
One of the first things Chris and Mariesa noticed at Pibbles & More Animal Rescue was that there was a surplus of one kind of dog – pit bulls. Little did they know that one of those dogs was going to alter the course of their lives forever.
A Reputation They Did Not Deserve
As we’ve said, pit bulls have been deemed dangerous and unpredictable dogs, but that’s not the truth. While they are muscular and have large heads, they are not intrinsically a threat to human beings. This is part of the reason that many states and countries have banned having pit bulls as pets. This is also the reason that shelters are filling up with these dogs.
One Would Be Theirs
When Chris and Mariesa saw all the pit bulls in the shelter, they knew immediately that they would adopt one of them. They didn’t realize the impact this adoption would have on them…
Loving And Loyal Creatures
Just like many other dog breeds, pit bulls have proven that they are very loyal and loving too. Their behavior is based on the way that they’re treated. If you treat them good, they’ll treat you even better! Chris and Mariesa were about to find that out for themselves.
The Pups Should Have Popped Out Already
When they asked the rescue staff about Storie, they received a strange piece of information. They were informed that Storie should have already given birth to her puppies, but she hadn’t, and they didn’t know why. Something was very strange – they could see it in the dog’s eyes – and they wanted to know what was going on. Something told them that this was a matter of life and death.
Life And Death
It was clear as day that Storie was in dire need of help. The dog-loving pair realized that they were her only hope, and as time was ticking by, the understanding that they were looking at a situation of life and death hung over their heads.
Helping The Soon-To-Be Mom
Time was running out, and they needed to make a decision about this helpless dog. It took a lot of discussion, but to no avail. Then Storie approached Mariesa and softly placed her head on her new owner’s knee. The took made eye contact, and Mariesa could see deep into her new baby’s eyes. That’s all she needed…
Big Dog Family
On their way back home with Storie, a million different thoughts and worries entered Mariesa’s mind. She had brought home new dogs in the past, but this one was quite different, even if she couldn’t put her finger on what exactly it was. Things were not going to be as simple as they had expected.
The Perfect Solution
It wasn’t a surprise to understand that if Storie gave birth to her pups, they could expect to have an additional 10 dogs in a matter of minutes. Regardless of this fact, there was no way that they would allow Storie to give birth at the shelter, but they needed a safe place for her.
There was a lot of debate about what they could do, and of course, for every solution they found, a new problem seemed to follow it. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, Chris exclaimed that he had a genius solution. Of course, there was skepticism, but this time he seemed more sure than ever.
Chris’ idea was to foster Storie, as they had planned, and the litter would be in their care too until they found permanent owners for them. It seemed like a good solution to their problem, but there was just one major problem – Storie didn’t seem like she wanted to give birth at all.
As we said before, every solution seemed to have a problem trailing it. The fact was that even though Chris had a sterling idea, there was still a very real pregnancy going on. This issue obviously became their main concern and for very good reason.
Looking For Answers Online
Like many of us, the first place they chose to explore for answers to their unique issue was the internet. However, when they reached out to the wide web, they were quickly overwhelmed by the information that they found.
The truth is that the answers and information that they found on the internet was actually scarier than what they had anticipated. This often the situation when one looks to the internet for advice in difficult situations. It’s easy for anyone to upload information that might not even be correct.
Relationship Between Trauma And Birth
As human beings, we often underestimate the intelligence level of many animals. During their own research online, Chris and Mariesa found lots of articles about why a dog might not be giving birth to her puppies. However, there was one article that really seemed to speak to them as it best described their situation.
Research has shown that animals that stay in rescue shelters experience lots of stress and trauma. A pregnant animal will experience this to an even worse degree, and that was the case for Storie. The shelters are not to blame; it’s just the environment there. Storie would be given an opportunity of a lifetime to give birth at Chris and Mariesa’s home.
Realizing How Dangerous The Situation Is
As their research deepened, they discovered just how precarious the situation was. Storie, realizing that she was living in a stressful environment might want to protect her unborn puppies by not giving birth to them.
The problem with this is that she was not just endangering her unborn pups, but she was putting herself at risk of death too. Sometimes even an animal’s instincts could put them in danger. It was obvious that they had to rush her to a vet immediately.
Off To The Vet
Even though they were feeling really nervous and jittery about everything that was going on, they needed to show Storie that they were calm. The last thing that they wanted was to stress her out more. They took her to the car and off to the vet they went.
What The Ultrasound Showed
The vet took the dog for an ultrasound, but when she looked at the screen she was completely lost for words. She was totally shocked, and the pair could see it on her face. She sat there thinking for a moment and then decided that there must have been a mistake.
Something Isn’t Right
Even as time ticked on, the shapes on the screen didn’t seem to be disappearing or changing at all. Those little white outlines presented something groundbreaking for everyone in the room. Mariesa, after seeing the vet’s reaction, pushed to find out what was going on.
The Shock Of A Lifetime
After collecting her thoughts, the vet started to explain what was going on inside Storie’s body. Initially, they thought that she was pregnant with 6 puppies, but the ultrasound showed otherwise. The vet showed them the outlines on the monitor, and slowly they realized what was going on. This might be able to explain why Storie hadn’t given birth yet.
Frozen In Shock
The veterinarian pointed out the outlines on the monitor and counted them out loud. There really wasn’t a need to actually explain what they were looking at – it was really clear that they were looking at more than just 6 puppies like they had expected.
A Development No One Expected
The vet showed them the monitor and counted out the shapes again she could see in the dog’s belly. One, two, three, four, five, six… but the counting continued and continued. The veterinarian counted and counted until she reached twelve! Storie had 12 pups inside of her!
Now that all the people in the room learned of the real number of puppies inside Storie, there were some things that needed to be discussed. What were they supposed to do from this point? Six puppies was a regular and expected number, but 12? That was unexpected.
Chris and Mariesa were completely floored by the news that they had just received. They knew that something was up, but this was far beyond their expectations. Would she survive? Would all 12 puppies be delivered safely?
Go Home And Wait
The vet herself was dumbfounded by the situation in front of her, but she had instructions ready for the anxious couple. After explaining that the ultrasound showed that the puppies were healthy, the vet told them to go home and allow Storie to ease into her birth.
The vet’s instructions were clear. The added note was that If 48 hours passed without anything, they should bring her right back. Little did they know that Storie was waiting to give birth with good reason.
The Parents Are Anxious
As they walked out of the vet’s office, they were struck with a barrage of frightening thoughts. Storie was at risk, so were all of her 12 puppies, and the next 48 hours were surely going to be very stressful. But as they were making their way back home, Mariesa thought of something – a game-changer.
A Brilliant Idea
This was turning into a really difficult and challenging situation, but obviously, they were not ready to throw in the towel under any circumstances. Chris and Mariesa decided that they were going to do whatever it took to help Storie get through this hardship, and that’s where their idea came into play.
Giving Her A Space Of Her Own
Since the couple had done a fortune of research concerning this rare case, they thought it would be best to make a little sanctuary of sorts for Storie. They set up a place in their bedroom with pillows and blankets to make her feel at home. They prayed that Storie would feel safe and relaxed, but they were clueless about the miracle that was about to happen.
The couple truly put in all the effort they could do ensure that Storie’s new sanctuary would be perfect for her. They went to extreme measures, like making sure that noise levels were low and that the room temperature was perfect, to make sure she was comfortable.
When everything seemed set to go, the couple were exhausted. They let Storie settle into her place, and then they went to get ready for bed themselves. Even though Storie seemed to settle right in, they were still thinking about her.
During the night, sleep seemed like an impossible activity. They might have gotten a few winks in when they heard some sort of strange noises coming from the place that had set up for pregnant Storie. They looked at each other, puzzled, and then quickly got out of bed.
They weren’t sure if there was something bad going on with Storie. They didn’t want to alarm her, after all, they had set up such a perfect sanctuary for her to feel calm. So instead they toward the room she was in.
During The Night
In front of their eyes, laying in the nook they had created for her was Storie, and what was she doing? She was busy nursing her 12 newly-born puppies! They realized that it must have been during the night that gave birth. So what was the reason that she waited so long to give birth?
The couple was totally overcome with emotion. They burst into tears – tears of happiness, of course. They were thrilled, to say the least. It was their care and love for Storie that ensured she would be able to give birth successfully.
A Dozen Puppies
As you might imagine, they didn’t want to leave their beloved new dog alone, but they figured that it was probably best for Storie. When morning came, even though they slept very little, they rushed back to see what was happening with Storie. They then got quite a surprise!
Waiting For A Little TLC
As we mentioned earlier, pregnant dogs don’t want to give birth in an environment which seems unsafe. Storie obviously knew that the shelter wasn’t the best place to give birth, but how did she know that Chris Mariesa would come along? Her natural instinct told her that it was the right place to have her puppies, and boy, was she right.
A Pack Of Her Own
This was truly a miracle. Storie had spent less than a day with the adopting couple, but she had drawn her own conclusions from their behavior and demeanor. She knew it was a safe and secure place for her 12 babies. Now what was next?
Puppies For Adoption
It took a couple of weeks, but eventually, the little puppies opened their eyes. Soon all the pups were running around the yard, playing with each-other. Storie was overwhelmed with happiness too. But goodbye was just around the corner…
Less Than A Day
It’s incredible when you understand that it took less than a full day for Storie to feel comfortable with Chris and Mariesa. There’s definitely something special that we can all learn from this amazing couple.
A Great Dog Mama
Storie was taking on the responsibilities of a mother with great success. But then the dreaded day came for Chris and Mariesa. They knew that they couldn’t keep all of the puppies to themselves, and soon the shelter was calling them about potential adopters.
Heading For Their New Homes
By the time the puppies had reached ten weeks, they were all already spoken for in terms of adoption. Even though they knew that it was unrealistic to keep all of the puppies, they were still heartbroken to see them go. The right decisions are not always the easiest; in fact, many times they are actually the most difficult.
10 Weeks Old
When it came time for adoption, the puppies were handed over to good people, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t sad. Storie had worried so much about her babies, and now she was seeing them go. Of course, Chris and Mariesa only wanted good things for Storie; she had been through a lot.
Her Forever Home
In this day and age, it’s no surprise that social media got a hold of this bittersweet story. Facebook was the greatest contributor, and soon a man deeply touched by their story reached out the couple. He was curious about their story, and he was interested in meeting their heroic dog, Storie.
They All Found Homes!
This man wanted to give Storie the home she truly deserved. After consulting with a veterinarian, they decided that it was best to get her spayed so she wouldn’t fall so heavily pregnant again. Never again would Storie have to go through such a traumatic experience again in her life.
The Best Dog Mom
Chris and Mariesa remarked that Storie had been an excellent mother during the time she was with her puppies. She didn’t neglect any of them, regardless of how tiring it must have been to look after 12 of them at the same time. Unfortunately, they couldn’t afford to keep them all together.
If Not For Them
Each of the puppies from the litter of 12 is doing really well now in their forever homes. Storie didn’t leave her foster family until each and every one of her puppies was adopted by good people. It seems her maternal instincts are as strong as ever.
A Crucial Chance
When we look at this special story, we can learn something very valuable about the way this couple handled everything. If not for them, Storie could easily have died and lost the puppies budding inside of her. It’s truly a miracle that they connected that day at the shelter.
A Happy Note
While we smile at the outcome of this amazing story, it’s easy to forget that there are lots more dogs like this. They might never have the opportunity to arrive at a forever home with loving parents and a safe environment. Adoption isn’t the only way to help these needy animals…
Of course, fostering is probably the best way to contribute to the plight of animals in shelters, but there are other ways too. Whether it’s through donations or volunteer work, you can do your bit to help those who can’t help themselves.
The Mr. Mo Project
Chris and Mariesa founded the nonprofit The Mr. Mo Project, an organization that takes sick and elderly dogs from the shelters and puts them into good homes. Older dogs face a high rate of euthanasia, so the Hughes try and make sure this happens to as few dogs as possible. Their project covers the living and medical expenses, and the “fospice” homes take care of the love and care.
A Family Affair
If you ever find yourself with a team of dogs under your roof, like Chris and Mariesa, you will probably also need more bed space. You can always copy their bed and get a custom 12 foot long jumbo matress extension!
On their Instagram account ‘The Mr. Mo Project’ they upload adorable photos of their pups. This one was posted with the caption, “Happy Easter and Passover from our dog house to yours #happyeaster #happypassover #lifeinthedoghouse #mrmoproject #gomrmo #18dogsandcounting #72paws #rescuelife #shelterdogs #rescuesdog #seniordogrescue #adoptdontshop #multidoghousehold #siblinggoals #squadgoals #packlife #easterbunnies #easterpictures #love #proudparents
Since Chris and Mariesa are the owners of a successful non-profit, they often participate in photoshoots to raise money for the charity. As most of you are probably aware, clear, professional photos garner the most attention. The older dogs they photograph for their website are usually taken by their personal photographer…who is also a dog lover (big surprise)!
It’s Play O’Clock
Many of us cannot even wrap our heads around owning over 10 dogs. The thought makes our brains, and our wallets, very stressed out! Taking care of 1 dog is a lot of work, but 10?? Wow. You can assume that a lot of playing goes on in this household…or rather in the yard.
A Large Yard Makes It Possible
Owning this many dogs would not be possible without having a big yard to accommodate them all. The senior dogs are able to play, lay down, relax, sunbathe, and ultimately do whatever their hearts desire. The yard is fenced in all around so there’s no chance of anyone escaping!
Even Older Dogs Need Exercise
Although older dogs definitely don’t need as much exercise as puppies and middle-aged dogs, they still need some movement throughout the day. It looks to us like Chris was trying to get a good workout in, but Tyson was just not having it!
Time To Fetch
After a long day of exercise and play time, Chris is exhausted. Mika, on the other hand, wasn’t having any of it. He wanted to play fetch, no matter the time of day. Who do you think won this battle?
Among all of the other amazing things, having many dogs ensures you never really are alone. That statement is vividly portrayed in this photo. It seems Mariesa won’t be getting any work done as long as the entire clan’s around!
Kisses Are Always Welcome
Mariesa spoke on their charity saying, “Removing financial hurdles for foster parents allows care and compassion to take center stage. Plus, if we’re able to help a senior dog remain in a familiar home environment before an owner resorts to surrender, all the better. We keep yet another dog out of a shelter system that’s already overflowing.”
“Sorry Humans, This Is Our Bed Now”
Although they all have very cute faces, we have to admit this could get a bit tiresome night after night. It seems like these guys decided to gang up on Chris and Mariesa to claim ownership of the bed. We imagine them harmoniously saying, “sorry humans, this is our bed now”.
With this many critters wandering around their home, a lot of smiles and laughter is definitely seen and heard. We can’t get over the cuteness of this selfie Chris took with little Jasper. Their “twinning” yawns are perfection!
30 Minutes Later…
Can you imagine how long it takes to get 18 dogs sitting and looking at the camera all at once? Clearly, a long time since you can’t see 2 of the dog’s faces and a few declined to sit or lay down. But, it’s still an amazingly cute photo!
Not Just A Dog Mom
Although running a rescue organization does take up a good chunk of time, Mariesa is also an occupational therapist. Being a dog mom is an extremely important job, but so is helping people heal and get better!
Did you think Chris and Mariesa were the only ones who dressed up on Halloween? Think again! This year they decided everyone was going to dress the same…as little puppy prisoners! We love the 2 police officers and the prison cell (aka dog cage) for extra effect.
Pumpkin Pie For 16
What would Thanksgiving be without pumpkin dog pie?? Chris and Mariesa insured they had enough for all 16 of their dogs. They are obviously family, and all members of the family deserve some yummy sweets!
Although we don’t have access to Mariesa’s Camera Roll, we are 99% sure it mainly includes selfies with her doggies. Nothing beats a sweet, grinning smile from a dog…especially one who’s just been rescued!
A Couch For The Whole Lot
Not only did they need to invest in a big bed, but a big couch was also a must. These dogs prefer curling up next to their dog parents rather than the cold hard floor. It does look pretty cozy!
Remembering Them All
Whenever a dog of theirs passes on, Chris and Mariesa add their photo and ashes to their dog heaven shrine. This way they can wake up every day, drink their morning coffee and be reminded of these amazing creatures and the fabulous time they had with them.
The Mr. Mo Project actually got its name from the first senior dog the couple rescued, Moses the Pit Bull. After rescuing him, they decided to dedicate their lives to helping others like him, and the rest is history!