This Dog’s Belly Wouldn’t Stop Growing But 2 Weeks Later, An Ultrasound Proved Why
Mariesa Caliguire and Chris Hughes saw something strange in the ultrasound…The couple just couldn’t believe their eyes and kept staring at the monitor while the vet was speaking. Everything started when one morning Chris and Mariesa visited Cuyahoga County Kennel.
The couple already had eight little friends at home and when Mariesa noticed a pregnant pit bull at the shelter, she knew right there and then, they were about to have a new family member. They have fostered and adopted quite a few dogs in the past so the process was very familiar to this couple and they wanted to provide a loving home for one more dog.
One Big Family
Chris and Mariesa have eight four-legged children they love to bits. Soon after they met one another, puppies became the main focus for them. Besides, the dogs were actually one of the main reasons for Mariesa’s and Chris’s successful relationship. Mariesa often mentions when asked about her love story, “I had dated people who didn’t like my dogs, and no one would deal with Chris’s set of dogs.”
Before Chris met Mariesa, he already had taken six dogs from shelters. Meanwhile, Mariesa had adopted two Greyhounds as soon as she became a foster, so there was no doubt these two would get along amazingly with their four-legged babies. They moved in together shortly after and continued to raise eight dogs under one roof. It sure takes a lot of work and patience but Mariesa and Chris were on top of everything and thought adopting one more dog from the shelter wouldn’t hurt them. Turns out they had no idea what was coming at them the day they visited Cuyahoga County Kennel.
Life In The Dog House
After Chris and Mariesa moved in together, they decided to start a YouTube channel as a part of HooplaHa Network called “Life in the Dog House”. A lot of people couldn’t imagine how these two are able to raise eight dogs so effortlessly and would often question them about different aspects of it, such as affording vet bills and more. Creating a YouTube channel was a great way of answering all of those important questions.
The first episode of ‘Life in the Dog House” came out on September 18, 2013, in which the couple introduced every dog they rescued and the story behind each of them. In the video, Mariesa and Chris showed how well the dogs get along, occasionally, the four-legged friends did experience some disagreements about the toys they owned but that was about it. Though, the second episode was the one that really caught the attention of viewers.
Not Stopping There
It is certainly not easy to take care of eight dogs who are in their senior and junior age, but that didn’t stop this loving couple from wanting to foster one more adorable dog. Adoption wasn’t really an option anymore, so Chris and his girlfriend were looking to visit some foster shelters in hopes of helping one more four-legged friend. Actually, making the viewers happy was not the only reason they made a Youtube channel for, vet bills can be quite expensive and Mariesa and Chris decided to raise proceeds for shelters so they can afford to cover all of the expenses. In addition to paying those bills, they also were hoping to raise awareness for one rescue shelter, that soon became very special and important to them.
Understanding Dog Breeds
Chris and Mariesa decided to visit Cuyahoga County Kennel which was located in Valley View, Ohio in September 2013. This shelter was known for rescuing a lot of pit bulls and for those who know about this dog breed are familiar with the untrue stereotype of pit bulls being violent and dangerous. A pit bull’s appearance can also often be mistaken for being aggressive and it is even illegal to own one in a few of the states.
Mariesa and Chris had already rescued and fostered a few pit bulls before and were very familiar with this breed. Never in their lives did they have a negative experience with pit bulls and they just couldn’t understand why so many people have a bad opinion of them. Hearing about this silly stereotype motivated Mariesa and her boyfriend to provide a loving home for a one more pit bull. This couple surely had been through a lot while raising their babies and gained tons of experience with dogs, although they never expected to witness what they did at the kennel.
A Special Hobby
Raising dogs together made Chris and Mariesa even closer, their love grew stronger as each day would pass. Nothing felt better for them than sharing their love with the dogs they rescued and fostered. Unlike other couples who would spend their free time at the movies holding hands, Mariesa and Chris would rather visit a dog shelter and that is exactly what they did one more time in September 2013. Mariesa shared with Honest to Paws, “It gives our relationship so much more depth and meaning, and to share with someone something you’re so passionate about and have them accept it and thrive on it, is so rare and incredible. So we need dogs.”
Soon after the couple entered Cuyahoga County Kennel, they saw many lovely dogs who were very happy to see them. However, there was one dog in particular who caught Mariesa’s attention right away and she stayed focused on her almost the entire time.
A Difficult Choice
Mariesa and Chris agreed beforehand they were going to only pick one dog at the shelter. Nevertheless, Mariesa knew it was going to be a very very hard choice as all of the dogs were very adorable and deserved nothing but unconditional love.
Soon after Mariesa entered the shelter, she noticed one particular dog that slowly approached her. She was a pregnant pit bull named called Storie with bright beautiful eyes and tawny hue. Right there and then, Storie was the dog Mariesa wanted to share her love with and nothing could get in a way of that, not even what the shelter’s volunteers were about to reveal to her…
The Story of Storie
As soon as Mariesa saw Storie, she noticed the pit bull’s big belly. Storie was far into her pregnancy and Mariesa’s heart broke and melted at the same time when the workers told her the story of this dog. It was so shocking, she couldn’t believe it!
The shelter volunteers told the couple that Storie used to be in the hands of backyard breeders who realized they wouldn’t be able to properly take care of the pit bull and her future puppies. Before the workers even finished this sad story, Chris and his girlfriend already knew what their plan of action should be. There was one thing they realized a bit later, how were they going to raise Storie’s puppies along with eight other dogs they already had back home?
Mariesa and Chris had to quickly make a very hard choice regarding the future of Storie. She was very lovely and the couple felt an instant connection with her. Initially, they agreed on taking only one dog home, who wasn’t pregnant like Storie. The choice they were going to make was very difficult and Chris had to take a seat to think for a minute and take all of this in. Mariesa couldn’t help but continue to bond with the pregnant pit bull by delicately petting her while Chris was deep in his thoughts.
“I’m trying to think, ‘Is this going to work? Is there any way we can make this work?’, Chris shared. Mariesa was like, ‘Let’s save the dog, that’s why we’re here,’ This is what Chris recalled in their YouTube video. However, this was not it, the volunteers of the shelter soon told them one more surprising fact about Storie, the pregnant pit bull.
The Cuyahoga County Kennel’s workers were quite worried and confused about Storie’s behavior. Storie was due to give birth to her puppies a week earlier than expected, but for some strange reason the puppies still didn’t come out from her heavy belly.
Storie’s pregnant belly looked very swollen and no one could understand why she still didn’t give birth. The workers attempted to not make it a big deal and put their worries aside to prevent the couple from changing their decision about taking Storie home. Yet Chris and Mariesa sensed something was off right away as they had a lot of experience with dogs already. Would this tough decision forever change their lives? Is this some kind of trap? Would they be able to handle it? Millions of questions were going through their heads at the moment.
That Puppy Look
While Mariesa and Chris were in the middle of making this very difficult decision, the pit bull put her head in Mariesa’s lap and looked right into the woman’s eyes. Mariesa knew straight away, something was not exactly right…Storie’s concerned look confused them even more.
They knew the dog was trying to let them know something with her sad but hopeful eyes. Chris and Mariesa figured it had to do something with her soon to be born puppies and they couldn’t imagine leaving her behind. What they didn’t know that this was only the beginning…
Mariesa knew that if they were to bring Storie home, they would obviously have to take care of her soon to be born puppies plus nine adult dogs. In total that would be 15 dogs under one roof! In addition to the crazy number of four-legged pets, Mariesa also had worries about Storie getting along with the other dogs in the house. She wasn’t sure the rest of the dogs would accept her as they can sense the energy and scent of other dogs even if they are kept in different rooms.
Chris was also worried they wouldn’t be able to give enough attention to their eight dogs at home with the new pregnant family member. However, it was too late for that now as they already knew they were going to take Storie home no matter what and so they did.
Storie was now in a very safe place with loving parents but Mariesa and Chris were very worried about her pregnancy situation. Million of questions were going through their heads at the moment. How come Storie hadn’t given birth still? Were they really prepared for this? They might have rescued a few pit bulls in the past, but they never experienced something like this before.
Something was very wrong and these dog lovers could feel it deep inside. Nothing was making sense about Storie and her pregnancy and they decided to do online research. Mariesa and Chris browsed through the internet in hopes of finding some answers and soon learned something that forced them to act quickly.
An Action Plan
They thought nothing could get worse than it already was but they were wrong…Shortly after starting with the internet research, Mariesa found an article that had the answers she was looking for. The article was talking about a shelter dog’s life and how it can result in the dogs having anxiety as well as emotional distress.
Turns out this was the reason to Storie’s strange behavior. Chris and Mariesa finally got the answers they were so desperately seeking but that didn’t make them feel any better. Certainly not the relief they were hoping for. The bit bull had been through hell and back in the past few months and obviously experienced a lot of stress. Mariesa felt heartbroken as her newest family member was very traumatized and this is why her body was refusing to give birth. Chris and Mariesa exchanged brief eye contacted and got in the car as fast as possible.
An Emergency Trip To The Vet
As soon as Chris and Mariesa figured out the reason behind Storie’s odd behavior, they immediately took her to the vet. She could lose her puppies if she didn’t give birth very soon so every minute counted and a vet was the only person left who could fix this situation.
Chris and Mariesa felt a little bit of relief when they got to the vet. They were glad that they visited the shelter and picked Storie, as who knows what would have happened to the poor pregnant pit bull if she would be still stuck at the shelter. The volunteers there didn’t understand why she was refusing to give birth which would result in her eventually losing her puppies.
The vet was shocked when she saw the images from Storie’s ultrasound. She couldn’t believe her eyes and had to take a second look to make sure what she just saw was true. There it was, still the same results in black and white she noticed the first time…What did the vet see and why her reaction was so strange? Mariesa and Chris were dying to find out what was on the ultrasound and the look on the vet’s face made their hearts beat faster.
The vet proceeded to take one more deep breath before finally breaking the news to Chris and Mariesa. Then, she finally told them the news, “There aren’t six puppies, but twelve!”. Storie was pregnant with the double amount of puppies the shelters thought she was initially. At first, Chris and Mariesa were refusing to believe the vet and even checked the ultrasound images themselves.
After carefully examining the ultrasound images and counting the skulls on the scan, Mariesa and Chris knew the vet was correct. They didn’t know how to react at first and looked at each other worried. This couple sure had been through many different dog-related issues in the past but never something like this. What did this news mean for the mother though?
A Lot Of Questions
Millions of thoughts were going through the heads of Mariesa and Chris when they found out about the crazy number of puppies Storie was about to give birth to. They were super worried and started asking the vet many questions regarding the pregnancy. Is Storie’s life in danger? Will she able to give birth naturally?
Unfortunately, the vet was unable to provide Mariesa and Chris with any answers. All they knew is that their newest dog was pregnant with not 6, but 12 puppies. And the most important worrisome part was that Storie should have already given birth by this time. The vet did try to calm the couple down with the announcement of all 12 puppies looking healthy in their mom’s womb. After, the vet sent Chris and Mariesa back home with strict instructions they should follow for the next two days.
The couple followed the instructions given by the vet and took Storie home as fast as they could. The dog lovers really thought they were going to feel relieved after visiting the clinic, but they only felt worse. “We fight sometimes and I’m like ‘you’re supposed to be this dog rescuer, why aren’t we rescuing?!’ And then I end up with 12 puppies, and I say why did you say that Mariesa?’, Mariesa shared on their channel.
The vet instructions said to wait for 48 hours to see if Storie would finally give birth and if she wouldn’t, then Chris and Mariesa must call the vet without any delays. What no one expected to find out was the real reason behind Storie not giving birth to her 12 puppies on time. But very soon the vet and the couple got all of the answers they were looking for.
The Life At Home
The fact that Storie the bit bull wouldn’t give birth when she was supposed to be was worrying Mariesa very much. She was really hoping that within the next 48 hours the puppies would finally come out of her womb. However, all Chris and Mariesa could do at that very moment was to make sure everything at home was very comfortable and cozy. Storie, the bit bull, got very lucky with this loving family and had everything she needed for resting.
Mariesa came up with the marvelous idea of transforming a kennel into the comfiest and softest bed for Storie by filling it with soft blankets and pillows. Both of the dog lovers were hurting for Storie and did everything in their power to make this rough period a little bit easier for her. Chris wanted to give Storie some personal space in hopes of it minimizing her stress and anxiety. They both knew the pit bull needed to feel safe and calm in order to give birth. Mariesa decided to use this time to really bond with Storie and knew right away, this decision would make her feel much better about the whole situation and perhaps the pit bull would feel safer as well. So she did.
Mariesa and Chris were exhausted after this emotional and tough day. Soon after they provided Storie with comfort and warmth, they went to bed. Just 18 hours later something amazing happened: Storie finally gave birth to all 12 puppies and they were all perfectly healthy! The pregnant Pitbull went into labor shortly after her savers went to sleep and the next morning Chris and Mariesa woke up to the best surprise ever!
Storie actually really wanted and needed to give birth but didn’t do so until she made sure she was in a good and safe place. Mariesa and Chris woke up to the cutest thing ever: Storie was surrounded by her 12 beautiful healthy puppies in the same bed Mariesa made for her the day before. The dog lovers were very happy and finally relieved! Storie and her adorable babies were all safe and healthy. What could be better than this! Chris and Mariesa weighted each of the puppies and immediately fell in love with them. But what was going to happen next?
The Real Reason
Storie definitely wanted to feel safe and comfortable before giving birth to the puppies. “Dogs having puppies at shelters, it’s not the best thing for them. It’s stressful for her, stressful for the puppies,” Chris explained on his Youtube channel.
The puppies finally opened their little cute eyes when they were about two weeks old. Their “cauliflower ears” as Mariesa called them also opened up around the same time as eyes and shortly after the puppies were running around the house barking and playing. Taking care of so many dogs plus 12 puppies wasn’t an easy job but Mariesa and Chris couldn’t imagine it any other way. But were they going to keep all of the dogs?
Storie was a good mother to her 12 children. She was spending all day near the puppies playing and feeding them. Chris and Mariesa felt motivated to help other dogs like Storie but the most important question was what they were going to do with all 12 puppies when they grow older and separate from Storie? Chris and Mariesa knew they had to make a decision very soon.
Their first thought was choosing and keeping two of Storie’s puppies, but that meant there were going to be a total of 10 dogs under one roof! After Mariesa and Chris made a Facebook story of the puppies and uploaded a new YouTube video, the adoption requests started to come in. Every puppy was adopted at about 10 weeks old. In the end, the dog lovers decided to not keep any of the puppies, but leave some space for other dogs like Storie who needed to be helped as soon as possible. What about Storie though?
A Happy Ending
Their story went viral and soon an experienced pit bull owner Ryan expressed who is also Chris’s best friend, expressed his interest in Storie. He decided to adopt and spay Storie to avoid her experiencing such a stressful and traumatizing situation again. After she was adopted, Storie continued to live a happy and healthy life.
Later Chris and Mariesa created a subchannel “Cooking with Mo” on “Life in the Dog House” due to being especially inspired and motivated after Storie’s situation. The channel consisted of cooking videos of meals Mariesa prepared for her lovely rescue Moses. In addition to the videos, Mariesa also came up with the Mr. Mo Cookbook. These initiatives were launched in the year of 2014 in hopes of rescuing dogs from all over the U.S. What happened to Chris and Mariesa after?
In 2017 Chris and Mariesa announced their engagement in “Life in the Dogs House” and published the video of their wedding on June 9, 2017. Unfortunately, not all of their dogs could be present for this important day, but two of them did make it. Of course, they wanted to make their four-legged children a part of the celebration as they were there for Mariesa and Chris from day one.
“I don’t really care what others think about Gremlin being at the wedding because I couldn’t imagine how I even lived without her before I met her. So I wouldn’t be able to do this without her,” Mariesa told in her video. Gremlin wore a flower headband, a pearl wedding collar, and veil. The other dog, Steig, had a bow tie encrusted with blue rhinestones. Other guests suprised Chris and Mariesa with a special Gremin cake.
Bedtime in the Dog House
Sharing one bed with eight dogs is not easy but Chris and Mariesa found a way to make it work. Often when the couple would wake up in the middle of the night, the dogs would be laying on top of them. Soon Chris managed to make this sleeping arrangement work. His plan consisted of putting two beds together and having a carpenter building a custom frame.
The custom bed Chris made consisted of a six-foot headboard, two king-size mattresses, and some built-in steps for older dogs to reach the bed easily. The best part was the special storage space in the bed with some of the dogs’ toys inside. Though, most importantly, this bed had the designer’s dog print on it, who unfortunately passed away a year before he built the bed. Chris and Mariesa admitted the couldn’t be any happier sleeping with all of their four-legged children in the same bed. “Be patient. I think patience is the biggest thing”, Chris shared with Dogster when asked how to deal with so many pets under one roof.