Rescuers are calling Roma a “miracle pup” for pulling through a terrible winter ordeal. Roma and her siblings were born under a concrete porch after her mom crawled under it to give birth. But when winter temperatures dropped to -24 degrees Farenheit in Belecourt, North Dakota, their lives were all in danger.
Turtle Mountain Animal Rescue Network received and urgent call and when TMAR’s founder, Keith Benning, arrived to save the dogs he found the ground frozen solid.
They couldn’t risk jack-hammering the concrete and possibly injuring the dogs so he and his fellow rescuers had to take a pickaxe to the ground to try and dig a path big enough to reach the dogs. But they could only chip a frozen chunk of dirt away at the time.
Benning shared a video on Facebook, “Can’t jack up the porch without risking hurting mom and pups. Ground is froze 3 feet down, so we have to dig and dig fast.”
He later told KFYR TV News it took 45 minutes to dig a hole big enough to reach for the dogs. When he tried to grab Roma, the puppy shrunk away.
“I had to stop for a minute and rest my arm and one last time managed to hook and just yank her. She came tumbling. It had to be that way,” said Benning.
Below is the full 20 minute video of the nail-biting rescue:
Benning eventually managed to get Roma and her mother to safety but sadly Roma’s three siblings didn’t make it. Benning revealed on Facebook, “The rest succumbed to the cold.”
When Benning got Roma to TMAR’s intake, they realized she was badly hurt. “The wounds look like they were from a smaller animal than the mom and happened a few days ago,” he wrote. “This puppy has been through the worst I have ever seen. Bite marks all around her neck, a bad infection, dehydrated, and hypothermic. I honestly have no idea how she survived this long.”
Roma was also very sick and began throwing up roundworms.
Roma was scheduled to go to the veterinarian in the morning, as there is no 24-hour vet in the area, but TMAR got on the phone with one and did what they could to stabilize her with fluids and pedialyte with honey. “Our garage set up of the incubator, humidifier, and oxygen is the best thing for her at this point. It’s up to her now,” Benning wrote.
They tried to see if Roma would nurse on her mom, but she was simply too weak. Benning wrote, “I don’t know if she will make it or not, but if she doesn’t she will pass warm and loved. Everyone say a little prayer.”
She went to the veterinarian the next morning and received antibiotics and treatment. But she still couldn’t pass all the worms and refused to eat or drink.
“The vet and we suspect that she’s having a problem pooping because of a terrible case of worms,” Benning wrote on Facebook. “So we have both oral and bottom medicines to administer trying to get those worms out. And we’re giving her fluids again to help keep her hydrated.”
Roma pulled through and not only did she survive the first night, she survived the next and the next. She has proved to be the “toughest little puppy” Benning has ever seen.
They all celebrated a short time after when Roma pooped and when her bandages could come off because her wounds were healing so well.
Now in her second week of recovery, Roma is well enough to play with Benning.
She’s also making friends.
And when she goes outside into the cold she’s all bundled up and cute as can be!
Roma also loves her short walks outside. Truly a miraculous change from where she was just a few short weeks ago.
Visit Turtle Mountain Animal Rescue Facebook page for information about how to help their rescue efforts and to follow Roma’s progress.