Aria and Grace Keilbach moved from Pueblo, Colorado to the island of Saipan in 2018 and 2020, respectively. The Pacific island, which played a role in World War II, has been home to a unique breed of dog ever since: “Boonie” dogs.
These dogs descended from combat dogs left behind after the war. They’re, according to the Keilbachs, “a jumbled mix of bloodhounds, Rottweilers, Labradors, Dobermans, and German Shepherds.”
The sisters founded Boonie Babies Rescue to combat the island’s rising homeless and starving Boonie dog population. Aria and Grace go around the island feeding the dogs and rehabilitating them, trying to find homes for the strays. The island lacks certified veterinarians and the resources to control the stray population.
“Boonie dogs roam the island living off any scraps they can find and enduring the harsh rainstorms and blistering heat. Most are homeless, starving, sick, and covered in ticks and mange…” the Boonie Babies website states.
Discovering A Family In Need
One day, Aria and Grace were driving when they noticed a female dog by the road. They decided to pull over to give her some food.
That’s when the dog led them into the jungle, where her five young puppies were. The friendly dogs followed the humans, and they could see that these puppies needed help right away.
Grace told The Dodo in an interview:
“They’re covered in fleas and ticks and their bellies were super swollen, which means that they’re full of worms. So we knew that if we left them even for a day or two that they would not make it.”
The Keilbachs loaded the puppies into a basket to bring them to their rescue home base. Mama dog didn’t want them near her babies, but they knew they had to collect them.
“…when you know the puppies aren’t going to survive the night or another day, you have to do it and then just come back for mom.”
Going Back For Mom
Initially, the plan was to slowly gain the mama dog’s trust with food to eventually apprehend her. Grace said when she found her again, the dog seemed only to be thinking of her puppies.
“I get out with her food and she is not interested in the food at all. She’s just sniffing around my car, so obviously she smells her puppies.”
When Grace got back in the car to leave, the dog jumped up to her window. Then, surprisingly, she fully jumped through the window and into the car. She knew that if she went with the person who took her puppies, she’d see them again.
“She went from completely skittish to just accepting that we would take her where she needed to go.”
An Adorable Family Reunion
From the moment mama dog arrived, she knew she was in the right place. Eagerly she looked around for signs of her babies.
“She can hear them crying from the other room and she’s just glued to the door.”
Finally, she was let into the room where the puppies were. You’ve never seen such vigorously wagging tails in your life. All six dogs were ecstatic, and the mama couldn’t stop sniffing and nudging her babies.
You have to watch the footage of this sweet reunion for yourself below:
All six of these dogs were later adopted. Thank goodness for the Keilbach sisters and their rescue efforts.