A paralyzed beagle who dragged herself out of a trash heap in Floyd County had a secret that might have given her even more of a reason to fight for her life.

She was going to have puppies.

Dixie Rose was found crawling away from a dump near Martin back in December, according to the Rescue Freedom Project.

The organization, which works with animals that have been used in laboratory testing, stepped in to help her, and since then, she has been cared for by a foster family near Louisville.

“About a week ago Sabrina, the foster mom, noticed Dixie’s belly getting really big. So they took her back to the vet and she was pregnant,” said Candice Thies of Stanton, who works with the Rescue Freedom Project.

On Monday night, Dixie Rose delivered four puppies, three girls and one boy. Unfortunately, one of the pups died Tuesday morning, but Thies said the new mother and her other three babies are doing well.

“It’s an incredible story of survival,” said April Arrington, vice president of the Rescue Freedom Project. “We feel like Dixie Rose climbed out of the garbage to save her babies! That mother instinct kicked in and she wanted to survive for them!”

She’s also been making progress in regaining the ability to walk, Thies said.

Dixie has been seen by veterinary specialists regarding her paralysis, and they concluded that she was suffering from intervertebral disc disease.

X-rays showed that she had not experienced any major trauma to her spine, “so with some rest and lots of TLC she has slowly started to walk again,” Thies said. “So far the signs are showing her being able to fully walk normally again, especially now that her belly isn’t full of life.”

Dixie’s foster family hopes to adopt her.

The Floyd County Chronicle reported that Jackie Brown, the director of the Floyd County Animal Shelter, found the dog at an illegal dump site on Arkansas Creek after she saw a post from a friend on social media about the dog.

Before the Rescue Freedom Project stepped in to help, Brown told the newspaper, a rescue group called First Chance, Last Hope found someone to give the beagle temporary shelter.

Another group, Safe Hands Rescue, paid for an initial veterinary checkup, but further testing was needed.

Rescue Freedom Project got involved after Brown posted about the situation on Facebook.

Rescuers don’t know much about her life before she was found, but a tattoo in her ear leads Rescue Freedom Project workers to think Dixie was probably a laboratory test animal.

Because of their good dispositions, beagles are the dogs most likely to be used for research experiments.

Thies said she owns two former lab test beagles who have the same kind of tattoo.

Brown told the Floyd County newspaper that she has also seen dogs tattooed by breeders and hunters.

Dixie is thought to be between 4 and 6 years old.

Thies said all that’s known for certain “is she fought her way out of the trash pile someone put her in to find us, and from here on out we will fill her life with love.”

She said the puppies will stay with their mother until they are big enough to be adopted. People who are interested should visit the Rescue Freedom Project’s adoption site.

Original Article: Kentucky