Mama dog kept her baby pups from freezing to death by burrowing a hole in the snow and shielding them with her body

A stray dog stayed with her puppies in a foot-deep snowdrift after giving birth during a snow storm.

The caring animal, since christened Snowbelle, went into labor in Red Lake, Minnesota, earlier this month, and birthed six tiny puppies.

Snowbelle stayed outside with her babies for around three weeks, and remained huddled up to them even after she stopped producing milk.

The animals were spotted by a local Good Samaritan, who notified the nearby Red Lake Rosie's Rescue Shelter, who rescued the family.

Snowbelle was found together with her six puppies in the snow near Red Lake in the US state of Minnesota. "A community member saw Snowbelle and her babies in the snow and alerted our rescue as to their plight," officials from Red Lake's Rosie's Rescue told. It seems that the snow around them had melted from their body heat. ""Another community member who assists Karen Good, the founder of the shelter, brought Snowbelle and her puppies to the shelter. She [Karen] set Snowbelle up in a kennel with straw and blankets and determined that Snowbelle was so emaciated that her milk had dried up.” The people were surprised to find that the puppies were already three weeks old, and they were baffled as to how they managed to survive in such harsh conditions.

A Red Lake Rosie's worker shared moving photos of the dogs on Facebook, including one snap of Snowbelle and her pups together in a deep snow drift.

They also wrote: 'Snowbelle had her litter of 6 puppies in a snowdrift this winter.

'A concerned family drove her and her babies to the Red Lake Rosie's Rescue shelter.

'They were very hungry and mama Snowbelle had no milk to give them.

'After a few days of warm shelter and good food Snowbelle started producing lots of milk for her babies.

'Thank you for supporting Red Lake Rosie's Rescue and Red Lake companion animals.

But that's not all of the story. Then began the arduous work of nurturing them back to health. First, Karen had to take care of the pups by making them what they call a "puppy gruel," which is a mixture of puppy formula and pâté style puppy food. This takes up three to four grueling hours. What's more, "puppies at this stage are extremely messy eaters which requires cleaning their kennel after every feeding. All of the blankets need to be changed out with every feeding, so it creates a mountain of laundry. Fortunately, Snowbelle is an amazing momma who kept her puppies clean," said the workers at Rosie's Rescue.

Besides the puppies, Snowbelle had to be nurtured back to health as well. After a few days of safety and good nutrition, Snowbelle's milk came back and she was able to start feeding her babies on her own. During her time there, "Snowbelle had to learn to trust people and how to, as we call it, be a pet.”

The puppies have grown a little and some of them have already found a new home

Here's what people had to say about the strong mama dog

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