BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Tootsie is a 5-year-old pup who made her way to Tonawanda all the way from the Bahamas.
"We refer to her as the 55 pound couch potato," said Jillian Pritchard.
Tootsie ended up here in Western New York because of Chella Phillips. She runs a rescue called The Voiceless Dogs of Nassau Bahamas, where Pritchard got Tootsie from a few years ago.
"Before Chella, [Tootsie] lived outside. We have pictures of my dog with litters of puppies under a mattress that was propped up on cinder blocks," Pritchard said.
Phillips has been housing 97 dogs inside her home in the Bahamas since Hurricane Dorian hit this week.
"That's a lot of dogs in one house," Pritchard said.
Phillips shared pictures of her crowded home on Facebook, a post that went viral, with about 50,000 shares.
"During the storms they're her number one concern. She brings them in the house. She takes care of them," Paula LaVango-Tatu said. She's the president and co-founder of Buffalo C.A.R.E.S. Animal Rescue, an organizaiton that works closely with Phillips to get dogs from the Bahammas to Buffalo. Buffalo C.A.R.E.S. has taken in mostly puppies from Phillips.
LaVango-Tatu pointed out this isn't the only time Phillips has made this sacrifice.
"This isn't the first time she's done it. It's just the first time it's gone viral," said LaVango-Tatu.
She said she isn't surprised Philips has done it again.
"She's got a heart of gold. She'll do everything and anything. She'll move heaven and earth for her dogs," said LaVango-Tatu.
"They're her kids," said Pritchard.