A stray poodle saved the lives of five abandoned puppies by taking on the role of an unlikely foster mum after they were dumped by a roadside.
The little black and white Jack Russell crossbreeds were found by Janine Jeffrey, 36, when she was out riding her horse Cyrus one evening.
The adorable pups had been dumped in a cardboard box by their cruel owners and left to die in a ditch in Walsall, West Mids.
The pub landlady took the distressed pooches to a nearby sheltered horse yard and made a makeshift home for them, complete with bedding, water and food.
But when Janine returned to the barn the next day she found a white stray poodle crossbreed had appeared to nurse the puppies and would not leave their side.
The mum-to-three said: “This stray dog had approached them and had protected them. She mothered them really.”
“She regurgitated its food for them, which apparently they do in the wild, and protected them. She wouldn’t leave their side. It was incredible.”
“They had been left in a box in the grassland. They were gasping for air and in a poor state.
“It was sickening. I don’t know how anyone could leave these puppies in that state.
“Its a miracle she turned up out of the blue -she must have heard their cries for help.
“She doesn’t even have a home herself yet her motherly instinct kicked in to protect these little puppies and provide safety for them. It was beautiful to see.”
The stray pooch has occasionally been seen in Walsall town centre – where it has been nicknamed ‘Ghost Dog’ by locals due to its colour.
But Janine said she was overwhelmed to find the mutt had taken a liking to the tiny pups after appearing out of the blue.
She added: “I have seen the dog before a couple of times. She is known as the ghost dog in the town as she is stray.
“But she became a doting mum. It was wonderful. The puppies have now grown stronger and healthier as a result.”
“I think if it was not for Cyrus, the horse, the puppies would have died in the first place.
“Cyrus suddenly stopped when we riding him. There were no noises or anything. We couldn’t see anything wrong in front of him but Cyrus wouldn’t go forward.
“When I got off Cyrus, I saw this box and the puppies inside. They weren’t in a good state at all. I was worried.”
Janine is now trying to find a new home for the pups which have all been given free jabs and food by a local veterinary surgery to help them recover.