Abandoned mother dog takes in a needy puppy at Woodward Center in Rancho Santa Fe


The staff at Helen Woodward Animal Center is celebrating a love story of the sweetest kind – uniting an abandoned white poodle named Dream, who had lost one of her two small puppies, with another puppy in desperate need of a family. Unrelated by blood, the new siblings and their nurturing mom are proving that love is not defined by genetics.

Rescued from an overcrowded shelter in the high desert near Lancaster, Calif., the 4- year-old mother poodle named Dream had been labeled a stray – dirty, matted and so skinny, shelter workers were unaware that she was pregnant. When she gave birth to two tiny puppies on Dec. 2, 2013, one was simply too small to survive. Dream, exhausted and underweight herself, worked desperately to keep her remaining puppy alive – the loss of the other seeming to weigh heavily upon her and justify her sad disposition.

A Helen Woodward Animal Center transfer partner notified Center staff about Dream and her new puppy, which was promptly named Cupcake for his lovingly sweet nature, and brought them to the Center on Dec. 11. Dream arrived newly shaved and bathed and protective of her tiny remaining baby and the two were immediately placed with a foster family who could provide them a safe place to heal and grow and learn what it was like to live in a loving home.

Only weeks later, another transfer partner in Kingman, Ariz., alerted Helen Woodward Animal Center about a young puppy in desperate trouble. On Jan. 10, the Center accepted a mother Aussie blend mother dog named Karly and her seven puppies. As the family grew and flourished, one small girl puppy named Candy was suffering. Less than half the weight of her siblings, the tiny baby was being trampled by her more boisterous brothers and sisters. Their larger size left Candy struggling to get to her mother’s milk leaving the puppy stunted, weak, dehydrated, covered in bite wounds and suffering from a nasal infection. Center Veterinarian Stephanie Oba took Candy in, fostering her separately with around the clock care to provide the antibiotics and many resources she needed to survive. Through it all, the one thing Candy needed most of all was a nurturing canine mother to love her.

Helen Woodward Animal Center foster staff suggested introducing Candy to Dream and her puppy Cupcake. The puppies were about the same age and size and Dream would be able to provide the nourishment Candy needed. Whether Dream would accept the new puppy would be up to her. Proving that dreams do come true, the bond was instantaneous. Dream immediately took to Candy, snuggling her with her own puppy, Cupcake, as though she were the baby she had lost. Sweetly nursing the two puppies and keeping a watchful eye on both babies, Dream’s spirits seemed to lift. The family was at last complete.

Foster staff member Pam Fleischman stated, “Dream has been an amazingly good mother. She is content to spend most of her time lounging with Cupcake and Candy and attentively caring for them. We’re looking forward to seeing how the puppies’ personalities develop during the next month. They are both angels and immediately became the best of friends.”

Center Veterinarian Dr. Stephanie Oba is providing regular checkups and medical care for the entire family who are all reported doing well. Cupcake and Candy should be ready to be altered in the next two-three- weeks and will be available for adoption soon after. In the meantime, the cuddly trio is finally living a truly sweet dream.

For more information on Dream, Cupcake and Candy, or for inquiries about adoption, please contact the Adoptions Department at: 858-756-4117 ext. 1, visit or stop by at 6461 El Apajo Road in Rancho Santa Fe.