An animal charity was stunned when they discovered an abandoned dog was about to be dumped just hours before she gave birth to 12 puppies.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier called Darla was at risk of being cast away on to the streets after her owners were evicted meaning she had no place to stay.
Just 48 hours after she was picked up and taken to safety, staff were shocked when one-year-old Darla had a litter of 12 puppies - which will now all be re-homed.
It was the largest litter the Blue Cross had ever had at their re-homing centre but they are hoping to have them in their new forever homes before Christmas.
Animal welfare assistant Bradley Tovell, said: "When we received a call asking us to help Darla, we couldn't turn her away. She was likely to go into labour any day and as her owners were being evicted, she faced having her pups on the streets.
"Thankfully we did have room at our inn, or rather kennels, because within two days of admitting her, Darla's pups had arrived. The team have been helping Darla by bottle feeding her pups and hand feeding her as well.
"Twelve puppies is a large litter for any dog, let alone a dog of Darla's petite size. It's certainly the biggest litter we've ever had at Blue Cross. She is doing amazing and we're so proud of her."
Bradley continued: "Because she has so many mouths to feed, we've been helping her out by supplementing the puppies' mealtimes with bottles four times a day. Poor Darla has been too exhausted to eat, so we've been encouraging her by hand feeding her too."
The whole family will stay in Blue Cross care until the puppies are old enough to be weaned and leave mum, after eight weeks.
The puppies, six boys and six girls, already have homes to go to and one will be found for Darla as well.
The male pups are called Sun, Star, Galaxy, Neptune, Earth and Jupiter while their sisters are Moon, Comet, Mercury, Venus, Pluto and Saturn. There's a running theme here...
To donate to Blue Cross this Christmas visit bluecross.org.uk/christmas-news or text Moments to 70557 to donate £10 to give more needy animals like Darla and her pups moments that matter.Featured Image Credit: SWNS