Boarding all passengers on this direct flight to adorable!

By Meghan Overdeep
May 29, 2018
Tampa Airport Service Dog Puppies
Credit: Twitter/Tampa Fire Rescue ‏

One lucky airline passenger ended up with eight additional carry-ons at the Tampa International Airport last week.

Diane Van Atter got the surprise of a lifetime when her service dog, Eleanor "Ellie" Rigby, suddenly went into labor while they were waiting to board a Philadelphia-bound flight on Friday.

Travelers and employees looked on as the two-year-old yellow lab delivered eight healthy puppies inside the airport's main terminal. Her owners reportedly knew Ellie was pregnant, but did not know how close she was to delivery.

Emily Nipps, senior communications manager for Tampa International Airport, told Today that a nurse in the crowd of bystanders stepped in to assist before Tampa Fire and Rescue's Aircraft Rescue Firefighters (ARFF) team arrived. She was able to help deliver five of the puppies before she had to leave to catch her flight. The pups' proud father, Golden Nugget, who was also set to travel that day, was by Ellie's side the entire time.

The entire ordeal took four hours, and onlookers posted to social media as Ellie happily nursed seven male pups and one female.

One of the first responders, Lt. Natalie Brown, told Today that the situation was "magical," and that some passengers even decided to miss their connecting flights because what they were witnessing was just "too beautiful."

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So yeah, we're adding, "witnessing a surprise puppy birth" to the short list of reasons we'd ever be happy to miss a flight.

Congrats to the happy family!