An abandoned mother dog finds a classroom of affection and appreciation for her family of 12

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In the world of animal welfare, it is the heart that makes a family. An abandoned mother dog was “trained” in this lovely lesson by a special care volunteer from the Helen Woodward Animal Center named Ami Askins and her 3rd and 4th grade classrooms at Los Penasquitos Elementary School. With no family and late pregnancy, the shepherd mix named Chloe was given an emergency flight to the center in search of safety and a place to give birth. Now Chloe and her beautiful litter of 12 have a place to rest while breastfeeding, along with a true love education.

The financial burden of the pandemic has left its mark on people around the world. In late April, a family in financial difficulties in southern New Mexico moved out of their home and tragically left Chloe in the backyard. The situation would have been dire if neighbors hadn’t noticed the pregnant dog and turned to a rescue team to help.

When the rescue team realized that Chloe was only days after giving birth, they contacted Pilots for Paws, who they were planning for a flight to the Helen Woodward Animal Center. On April 30th, Chloe waddled aboard, almost full term in her pregnancy. Upon landing, the bitch received her medical check-up and was taken to the home of Ami Askins, a dedicated foster volunteer who teaches social studies and science at Los Penasquitos Elementary.

Chloe with something from her beautiful litter of 12.

(Photos courtesy Helen Woodward Animal Center)

Knowing that her students would love Chloe, Askins shared her story and began covering animal adaptations and traits in her curriculum. Days later, Chloe gave birth to a huge litter of 12.

“The students loved it,” said Askins. “They loved hearing about Chloe’s puppies.”

Askins began incorporating updates on the newborn’s progress into daily classrooms, having regular conversations about their various developmental stages, and sharing insights into nursing experiences that students typically don’t experience.

“We loved hearing the updates from Ami,” said Hannah Wilson, director of the Foster program at the Helen Woodward Animal Center. “The fact that Chloe had been left without a family and now had a loving foster home and a whole classroom with kids who wanted to know how she was doing every day was so touching.”

When Askins reported that the kids were hoping to name the pups, Wilson agreed.

“They were so invested in their health and survival, and they seemed like the perfect names,” said Wilson.

Chloe and her pups (Brownie, CC, Clay, Coco, Cookie, Duke, Goldie, Lola, Lucky, Moonlight, Muffin, and Sunny) are healthy and almost ready to find their final home. Meanwhile, a classroom of love has provided a good education about the importance of family.

Chloe’s puppies will be given up for adoption over the next two weeks. Chloe is put up for adoption a few weeks after her pups. For more information about the Helen Woodward Animal Center or for adoption, go online at or call (858) 756-4117 x313. – Helen Woodward Animal Center press release