By SHANNON MOUDY, KLEW
SPALDING, Idaho (KLEW) - One look at Merida's ear to ear smile - it's made her famous lately - and you know she's one happy dog. But her story, one this grin doesn't reflect, is what has thousands of people falling in love with this brave dog.
"Are you ready?" Rachael Irby asks a squirming, whimpering group of puppies. Falling over each other, they're eagerly awaiting being let out of their confinement to the yard. That's where their mom is. This is the first time Merida has been this close to her puppies in weeks. Puppies that likely saved her life.
Rita Leslie says, "[We] got a call that there were some puppies along the highway, in the road."
That call led rescuers to Spalding. From there, it was up to fate and a little puppy named Balto to take them the rest of the way on an incredible journey.
Leslie, a volunteer with Zeus's Lost and Found Pet Network, shares the story of how that little black puppy led the way home. "He led them back to the rest of the puppies in a shed."
Inside that shed, eight ten-week old puppies. One had already passed away from parvovirus. But under the protective heap of babies, rescuers say they found Merida.
"Some of the puppies were licking her wounds," Leslie describes.
It was a very different dog than the one zipping across the grass now. "When you look at the X-rays it looks like an ant farm, all the channels of infection. We're assuming she was shot twice," Rita says.
With the help of Zeus's rescue angels and community donors, six puppies and Merida were saved. One puppy passed away the first night from parvovirus.
There's no clue as to how long Merida lived with those wounds, scavenging for food to keep her babies healthy.
Leslie, taking a long look at the dog she's come to love, said, "I'd adopt her if I didn't already have three at home."
"[That] she survived under that circumstance is amazing to me," she added, noting she wonders how this dog lived, let alone kept her litter alive.
While these pups follow mom around wherever she goes, there's no doubt Merida survived because of them, not to mention her human angels.
"Rescue is hard. You know, these kinds of stories makes it worth it," Rita says.
Once Merida is fully healed, she and her puppies will be up for adoption. But you might be hard-pressed to give one of these cuties a home, as there have already been hundreds of requests.