Kern County Animal Services Officer David Boyd could hear the little rat terrier yelping and crying in pain in the back of his truck as he roared back toward Bakersfield.
The three mix-breed puppies she was trying to birth were too big for her tiny body.
She wasn't going to make it without help -- and neither were they.
But Boyd was deep in the remote areas of western Kern County beyond Buttonwillow.
He was half-an-hour from someone who could help her.
So Boyd put the pedal to the metal, listening to his passenger's cries over the roar of the engine.
On Friday, an anonymous good samaritan saw the mother dog in distress -- clearly unable to have her puppies on her own -- near Main Drain Road and Lerdo Highway. He called county animal services.
Boyd drove out to retrieve and quickly realized he couldn't help her.
He grabbed her and drove as fast as he could back to Bakersfield where Dr. Cynthia Martinez, the county's shelter veterinarian, was already doing spay and neuter surgeries -- which she only does three days each week.
Venus, as the mama dog would later be named, held on long enough for Martinez to help her.
"A lot of time mom doesn't survive the surgery," said Kern County Animal Services Director Shyanne Schull.
Venus' first puppy, the one she tried to have before Boyd got to her, didn't survive the ordeal and never got a name.
But Venus and the other two puppies did.
They are, Schull said, healthy and doing great.
Animal services officers named the male Cupid. The female puppy -- the one with a heart-shaped black spot on her back -- they named Valentine.
It didn't take long for the story of the love-themed pups to make the rounds.
On Wednesday, the Have A Heart Humane Society of Tehachapi drove down to Bakersfield to pick up Venus and her puppies.
They will be fostered and cared for until they are old enough to be adopted to homes.
And those new owners will adopt a good story along with their new family member.