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Mama Service Dog Goes Into Labor At Airport, First Responders Save The Day

There was a little excitement in the Tampa Bay Airport last weekend when a service dog named Eleanor Rigby, call name “Ellie” for short; unexpectedly gave birth to eight puppies. Emergency responders were called in when Ellie went into labor. 

 

A crowd, including the father, Nugget, gathered around to watch and give emotional support when Ellie went into labor in the airport terminal.

 

 

Tampa International Airport

 

Diane Van Atter, Ellie's owner, was waiting for her flight to begin boarding to Philadelphia when Ellie went in to labor, The Tampa Bay Times reported.

 

 

Tampa International Airport

 

Tampa Bay firefighters responded to assist the two-year-old yellow lab deliver her puppies. It took 3 hours for Van Atter, her stepmother, Karen James and Tampa Fire Rescue to deliver the pups. 

 

Tampa Fire Rescue posted to social media as each individual puppy was born. 

 

 

Tampa Fire Rescue

 

“Five puppies arrived, three more to come,” they posted on Twitter. 

 

 

Tampa Fire Rescue

 

Nugget, their father, was the most excited party involved. 

 

 

Tampa Fire Rescue

 

Karen James, the owner's stepmother, gave an excited play by play to the Tampa Bay Times live, “Another one just came out!”

 

 

Tampa Fire Rescue

 

She was holding Nugget's leash as she said “I have to go, the father is getting excited. Every time she’s ready to deliver another one he starts jumping around.”

 

 

Tampa Fire Rescue

 

“Proud papa, ‘Nugget. waits for his last baby.” - Tampa Fire Rescue

 

 

Tampa Fire Rescue

 

When Ellie was all done, she had 8 puppies total. 7 boys and 1 girl. 

 

 

Tampa Fire Rescue

 

The crowd that had gathered to witness the birth cheered and clapped. “Whew! All done! Mama right away began nursing the 8 puppies.”

 

 

Tampa International Airport

 

“Ruff day for this mama at Gate F80! With the help of ARFF paramedics, service dog Eleanor Rigby just delivered 8 pups -7 males, 1 female," the Tampa Bay Airport tweeted. 

 

Tampa Fire Rescue also tweeted after the last pup was born to congratulate their paramedics, “Tampa paramedics do it all! PM Larry Glanton and Lt Natalie Brown teamed up to deliver the 8 puppies.”

 

Karen even named some of the pups after the paramedics that helped with the delivery, Fox 13, Tampa, reported. “Number two is Larry,” exclaimed Tampa Fire Rescue’s Larry Glanton proudly.

 

It is thought by Diane and Karen that the excitement of the airport caused the slightly premature labor. The pair missed their flight, but Van Atter said the family plans to go back to Bradenton to rest and quarterback a game plan to drive home to Philly with the puppies.

 

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