Young mama dog gets serendipitous happy ending

Kookie the dog posing with Valentine's Day props
After being found as a pregnant stray in Texas, Kookie’s story comes full circle.
By Christina London

It’s impossible not to fall in love with Kookie. This pint-sized pup has big doe eyes and a sweet demeanor to match. She even enjoys being dressed up in cute and quirky costumes, reveling in the attention. But there was a time when Kookie didn’t have a wardrobe — or even a home.

A stray’s surprise

A family in Mont Belvieu, Texas, found Kookie as a stray. She was all alone — and expecting puppies any day. Of course, the family fell head over heels for Kookie but didn’t feel prepared to care for a pregnant dog. So they turned to their community shelter, Mont Belvieu Animal Services, for help.

Once at the shelter, Kookie surprised everyone when she gave birth to eight healthy puppies. Although each pup looked different, they all had the same big brown eyes as their mama.

Then it was time to decide the next steps for the new family. “Though a shelter is not an ideal place for a nursing mom and puppies, Mont Belvieu was a safe space for Kookie to be while the staff there worked on finding a rescue group or foster volunteer to get her out of the shelter,” says Valentina Costa, Best Friends lifesaving outcomes supervisor.

Houston, we have some puppies

Mont Belvieu, a Best Friends Network Partner, contacted the Best Friends team in Houston. They said they had a canine family who needed someplace comfortable and quiet for the puppies to nurse and grow. Best Friends supports shelters in reaching no-kill by taking in pets who may need extra time and care before going to homes — pets like Kookie and her pups.

Kookie came into Best Friends’ care when the puppies were 4 weeks old. This little lady was shy at first, but everyone could tell just how sweet she was. After making sure mom and pups were healthy and squared away, the family was off to a loving foster home.

[First-time foster volunteers team up for a mama dog and her 14 puppies]

Kookie was an excellent mother to her pups, but after they were weaned, she was more than ready for her own adventure. After all, she was less than a year old when she gave birth, still a puppy herself.

“She wanted to be out of the playpen and with people instead,” says Valentina. “She wanted all of the cuddles and would look at you with the most soulful eyes to get them.”

Now that she was feeling confident, Kookie could finally show her playful and exuberant side. She loved all her toys and zooming around at max speed.

A full-circle moment

One by one, all of Kookie’s puppies were adopted into loving homes. After being spayed, it was Kookie’s turn. Turns out, the family who had rescued her couldn’t get her out of their minds. In a twist of fate, they reached out to Mont Belvieu, who let them know that Kookie was with Best Friends. They knew she was meant to be with them.

The adopters were beaming — and so was the staff — when they reunited with Kookie and took her home for good.

[A perfect storybook ending for a mama dog in need]

“We were ecstatic when Kookie was adopted,” says Valentina. “She was very loved and spoiled by the entire team. She also made some very fashionable choices.”

From stray to fashionista, Kookie is now living the life every dog deserves.

Let's make every shelter and every community no-kill in 2025

Our goal at Best Friends is to support all animal shelters in the U.S. in reaching no-kill in 2025. No-kill means saving every dog and cat in a shelter who can be saved, accounting for community safety and good quality of life for pets. 

Shelter staff can’t do it alone. Saving animals in shelters is everyone’s responsibility, and it takes support and participation from the community. No-kill is possible when we work together thoughtfully, honestly, and collaboratively.

Silhouette of two dogs, cat and kitten

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