Missouri woman saves dog pregnant with 18 pups from being put to sleep

BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. -- Ashlee Holland has always had a heart to help and care for animals.

"It’s kind of always been a passion I’ve had. I’ve always wanted to rescue, I’ve always wanted to work in the veterinary field. It’s instinct," she said.

A mother herself, Ashley said she felt she needed to save the life of a soon to be mother, Ava, a golden chow mix.

"She was on the euthanasia list. She had no other choice, no other hope. I was basically her last resort along with Midwest Animal ResQ. No dog deserves to be put to sleep for space." Holland said, "I was aware she was having puppies but x-rays didn't show how many."

On Sunday evening, less than two weeks after bringing Ava home, she gave birth to a litter of puppies.

"First puppy came out at 10:02. She then popped up four more within 57 minutes. She had two more in the next hour and a half or so. I thought she was done. Cleaned her off, went to bed, woke up, there were eight more puppies. Got my kids ready for school, there are now three more puppies," Holland said.

Ava gave birth to 18 healthy puppies.

"It’s heaven. Puppy pile, you can’t get any better than that," Holland said.

Ashlee said her nine-year-old son, a huge Kansas City Royals fan, named all of the pups after a few well known faces.

"We got Ned Yost, Dayton Moore, Buck O'Neil. We got Esky, Royal," she said.

But her son wouldn't have had that chance if it weren't for the work and the heart of his mother.

"It’s overwhelming. It’s incredible. I didn’t just save one life, I saved 19. It’s amazing," Holland said.

Holland said Ava and her puppies will be ready for adoption, pending their medical examinations, in eight weeks.