John and Katie Black were aware that their foster dog was pregnant when they took her in; they also knew that the birth of her pups was imminent. But perhaps nothing could have prepared them for what they witnessed on the day of delivery. That’s because the litter were definitely dogs with a difference – and their appearance certainly came as a surprise to the couple.
The Blacks themselves, meanwhile, are a pair of dedicated dog lovers who live in Raleigh, North Carolina, with three pets of their own – Annie, Leroy and Winchester. And since 2009, the Blacks have been offering a foster home for any canines that need one; in that time, in fact, the couple have seen 20 furbabies come in and out of their door.
Furthermore, the Blacks’ love of our four-legged friends even led them to register as foster parents for the Neuse River Golden Retriever Rescue shelter in their hometown. And while the couple don’t look after animals for recognition, the story of one of their most recent foster dogs from Neuse River has nevertheless been turning heads on social media.
That dog is Rosie, a golden retriever mix whose previous owners had left her at a local shelter one evening in October 2017. And not only was the now homeless Rosie pregnant, but she was also very close to dropping her litter. So close, in fact, that the facility’s manager feared that the expectant mom would give birth while under shelter care.
As a result, the manager contacted the golden retriever carers at Neuse River. The rescue center then sent a volunteer to pick up Rosie the following morning, and the helper was equally worried at how advanced Rosie’s pregnancy was. Indeed, the volunteer half-expected the dog to give birth as they drove her to a check-up at the Raleigh Vet Clinic.
But Rosie was still with pups when she arrived at the Blacks’ home in late October. And after the expectant mom had settled into the couple’s abode, the pair proudly uploaded a picture of Rosie to their Instagram account, ourgoldenyears.
“This is our new foster Rosie, who is very preggers and close to delivering her puppies,” the accompanying description read. It continued, “She is a little shy and scared, but very sweet.” It wouldn’t be long now, however, until Rosie gave birth – and, in turn, surprise her humans.
That’s because, when they arrived, the four puppies looked more like a quartet of cuddly cows. Their black-and-white markings made them appear to be Holstein Friesian cattle, in fact. And Katie updated their followers about the unexpected new arrivals via an Instagram post in early November. “Not quite the puppy pile we were expecting,” she wrote. “But we will gladly take four baby cows.”
Regardless of the puppies’ surprising appearance, though, the Blacks were proud of the four-strong litter. Furthermore, their unusual looks were quite a source of entertainment for friends and family. “My dad laughed for quite a while at the photos, initially,” Katie told a reporter from the Press Association later in November.
Katie continued, “[Dad] loved it and joked [that] it’s the type of photo that goes viral, and [that] I should post it somewhere.” The dog fosterer agreed, subsequently uploading the picture of Rosie and her pups – wittily named Clarabelle, Betsy, Daisy and Moo – to Reddit. And Katie’s dad was right: the internet couldn’t get enough of the canine “cows.”
Indeed, not only did Black’s post receive 90,000 upvotes – Reddit readers’ sign of approval – but it also garnered 1,600 comments. Not bad numbers for her first post on the site. It also turned out that Katie’s dad wasn’t the only one who found the picture funny; Redditors loved the mismatched family, too.
“Mama looks as confused about this as everyone else,” one commenter said. Another Redditor thought of a different and less innocent explanation for Rosie’s expression. “It’s guilt,” they wrote. “Her boyfriend’s a black Lab, and he’s coming home any minute now.”
And, as it turned out, the Blacks weren’t any clearer on exactly who the puppies’ pop could have been. “We are not sure what breed the dad was,” Katie told the Press Association. “When we brought [Rosie] into our home… she was already in active labor.”
And while the puppies may not know who their father is, they certainly have a loving mother. Life hasn’t always been easy for Rosie, however, as the mom of four suffered an infection shortly after giving birth. Consequently, she was given a course of antibiotics and a little extra assistance in feeding her newborns.
But the Blacks were more than happy to weigh in and help bottle-feed the dogs until Rosie recovered. Indeed, keeping their hands off the little balls of fluff proved to be a real challenge for the couple; Katie, especially, could barely control herself when confronted with such cuteness.
To the foster mom, the puppies were good enough to eat, in fact. “Practicing some AMAZING self-restraint in not biting Daisy’s tiny paws,” Katie admitted later on Instagram. And it is easy to sympathize with her plight: the little two-tone tykes are sweet enough to satisfy anyone with a serious taste for the totally cute.
And the puppies grew fast; during the weeks that followed, they also developed their own distinct personalities. “Daisy is a sweetheart but a little anxious/shy/hesitant/fearful,” Katie would write on Instagram in early December. “[And] Clarabelle is a hilarious, fearless spitfire.”
The foster mom’s post continued, “Moo is a snuggly baby that likes to be held and cries when he wants attention. [And Betsy is] the sweetest and most gentle puppy, and I want to keep her!” However, as the four dogs got older, the time for Rosie and the Blacks to say goodbye to them drew ever nearer.
And the first weeks of January 2018 saw two different families adopt Betsy and Clarabelle. But while their foster parents were sad to see them go, the puppies both went to wonderful homes; now, their new humans are showering the furbabies with all the love and toys they could ever need.
Eventually, though, the other two cow pups will also moo-ve on to find happy fur-ever homes. Still, in the meantime, they’ll likely benefit from the love and care the compassionate and kind John and Katie Black have shown them.
But for John and Katie, it was probably a relief to know that the unique color of their pups’ coats was the biggest surprise in store. The same can’t be said for Craig Mcgettrick, though. You see, when he rescued what he thought was a bunch of abandoned puppies in the trash, he had no idea what they would grow up to become.
As he logged onto Facebook, Craig Mcgettrick thoughts no doubt turned to the little puppies that he’d found in the trash. “Who could have abandoned such helpless animals?” he may have wondered. But as he looked at his message alerts, he had an even bigger surprise. After all, if the comments were right, the animals that he’d rescued weren’t puppies at all.
Mcgettrick lives near Liverpool in the United Kingdom, where he works as a mover. In fact, he was on a job with a co-worker in March 2017 when they made their shocking discovery.
The workers were clearing trash from a debris-filled yard when they shifted a discarded mattress. But to Mcgettrick’s surprise, it wasn’t just more garbage that they found underneath the bedding. No, something was alive under there. Five little somethings, to be precise.
Yes, the pair had uncovered a litter of baby animals. Indeed, the creatures were so young that the movers couldn’t work out exactly what they were. Mcgettrick assumed that they were either kittens or puppies, and he decided that the latter was the more likely option.
“Those were probably the only two options I knew of,” Mcgettrick told The Dodo in April 2017. “We thought someone had dumped them knowing we were going to remove rubbish.” But the movers couldn’t bear to leave the helpless little puppers, so they decided to save their lives.
Mcgettrick bundled up his uncovered treasures and put them safely in a box for transport. He thought the best place for them would be a local animal-rescue center. That being the case, he dropped them off and posted their photos up on social media.
At first, Mcgettrick had no reason to think anything was amiss with the babies. They looked a little unusual, sure, but the initial Facebook comments seemed to agree that they were indeed puppies. Someone else suspected otherwise, however, and asked some experts for their opinion on the matter.
Yes, a member of the public sent the “puppy” pictures to the National Fox Welfare Society (NFWS). “We were contacted by a lovely lady called Beccie through our Facebook Page,” NFWS posted on Facebook in March 2017. It was then that the “puppies” were correctly identified.
“Beccie had sent a few photos asking if the babies in the photos were indeed fox cubs. [We] confirmed they certainly were,” the NFWS post continued. The NFWS is an organization with more than 20 years under its belt, so if anyone was in a position to recognize baby foxes, its experts were.
The NFWS is a voluntary group that has committed itself to helping sick and wounded foxes across the U.K. Not only does the organization treat wild foxes, but it also has facilities for those that can’t be rehabilitated. The charity was clearly the best hope, then, for assisting Mcgettrick’s fox “pups.”
“Beccie advised us that they had been taken to a rescue center in Liverpool mistakenly as puppies, not fox cubs,” the NFWS explained. Because the pups were so young, it was actually an easy mistake to make. After all, fox babies don’t develop their distinguishing red fur until they’re older.
The trash-filled yard where the fox family was found had most likely been acting as their home. Furthermore, it’s not unusual for fox cubs to be left alone in their dens when their mothers go out hunting. So it’s not surprising that Mcgettrick had thought the cubs were abandoned puppies.
In any event, the NFWS had to act quickly to return the cubs before their mother moved on. Luckily, Beccie managed to get hold of numbers for both Mcgettrick and the animal shelter holding the cubs. Meanwhile, the NFWS was already getting assistance from a local fox rescuer, Paul McDonald.
Liverpool resident McDonald – nicknamed The Fox Man – works for Freshfields Animal Rescue. He was happy to help, too, and agreed to take the cubs back to their mother. The NFWS also contacted the animal shelter that was looking after the “puppies” and arranged for their collection.
With permission from property owner Karen, McDonald took the pups back to their yard the very same day. Apparently, the mother had already been out looking for her babies. But The Fox Man was no stranger to vixen behavior, as he explained to The Dodo.
“I didn’t give the cubs any milk in order for them to be hungry so they’d cry out and call for their mum, which they did. [They were put] around the same place they were found. I knew the mum would be… checking the place she last had them,” explained McDonald.
The babies were bundled up in a cardboard box with a hot-water bottle to keep them cozy. Then, it was simply a matter of waiting for the mommy fox to continue her search. And just over an hour later, the vixen reappeared and found her cubs.
Initially, the mother only took one cub, and it seemed that she may have rejected the others. Over the two hours that followed, though, the vixen came back. “By 7:01 p.m., Paul text[ed] me a photo of the empty box,” NFWS posted on Facebook.
“All through this, I was letting Beccie and Craig know,” NFWS wrote. “And everyone was so pleased that the cubs were back where they belonged… with mom! Special thanks to Beccie… Craig and Karen for their invaluable help and the Animal Sanctuary for agreeing to pass the cubs on.”
“[Also thanks] to Paul and his team for collecting the cubs and sitting patiently with hearts in mouths waiting for the vixen to return,” the post continued. “This story was only possible because of… every person mentioned above. It really is heart-warming to know that this combined teamwork reunited five fox cubs with their vixen mother. Well done everyone and thank you.”