Service dog gives birth to 8 puppies at Florida airport gate

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — A service dog waiting for a flight to Philadelphia with her owner gave birth at the Tampa airport as travelers gathered around and watched.

The Tampa Bay Times reports 2-year-old golden retriever Eleanor Rigby went into labor at Gate F-81 and birthed eight puppies — seven males and a female.

The new mom, owner Diane Van Atter and the puppies’ father, Golden Nugget, were waiting for a flight home Friday when the puppies started arriving one by one. Tampa Fire Rescue paramedics and a nurse assisted with the delivery.

Van Atter said she knew her dog was pregnant, but they did not know how close to giving birth she was. The family, the puppies and the parents missed the flight.

Van Atter’s stepmother, Karen James of Bradenton, said they planned to get some rest and figure out how to drive the new litter back to Philadelphia.

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