Thousands and thousands of years after they were first domesticated, dogs still have incredible survival instincts. They can endure harsh conditions through both skill and intuition. In Hockley County Texas, an abandoned mama dog named Cedar proved this with the remarkable efforts she took to keep her newborn puppies safe and warm.
Cedar gave birth to her litter in mid-February, 2021 before a polar vortex hit. To protect her babies from the cold and predators at the same time, she tunneled 4 1/2 feet downwards. She then made another 20 foot long curved tunnel. This shape would ensure predators couldn’t see the puppies right away when mama wasn’t there.
That’s right, dogs dig for more than just fun. This large tunnel would keep the family warm while the babies nursed, but mama Cedar still needed nutrition for herself. Fortunately, someone spotted her at a crucial time.
Rescuers Discover The Whole Family
In late February, Sallie Morris, owner of Morris Safe House in the South Plains, received a call about a starving dog near the tree line of her property. Morris immediately went down to the tree line with food. Clearly not afraid of people, Cedar came running down the dirt road towards her. Morris told KCBD News:
“The next morning, I met her and she was even happier to see me, and she started taking food out of my hand.”
Morris came back day and night with food for Cedar, talking to her to win her trust. Then while Cedar ate on March 1st, Morris heard the cries of a 4 to 6-week-old puppy. After some resistance from a protective Cedar, Morris was able to bring the baby back with her to the Safe House for treatment.
Soon after that, she learned Cedar had three additional puppies with her. Presumably, they were still down in the tunnel she had made for them. But the tunnel was serving its purpose, and rescuers couldn’t find the other puppies.
“So immediately I went down with food, we couldn’t find them. I took traps out and baited them so they would get in it.”
Bringing Every Last Pup To Safety
With one puppy (named Mackey) at the Safe House, there were still four more dogs out there in need of rescue. Luckily, Cedar already had a relationship with Morris, so it only took a matter of days before she could lure the elder dog into her Jeep. As soon as she arrived at the Safe House, Cedar was reunited with Mackey.
Eventually, with huge effort and patience, the three remaining puppies Dustee, Timber, and Faviana were apprehended. All four are now with their mama at Morris Safe House. Morris Safe House board members even got in touch with local plumbers to scope out the tunnel with cameras in case any pups remained (there were no more after the four.)
Hopefully, this little family will never have to survive through intense weather and hunger again. Thank goodness mama Cedar knew a way to keep them all safe until rescue.
Though they’re not ready to go home yet, the dogs will be available for adoption soon. Follow Morris Safe House’s Facebook page for updates on the whole family.