In October, my best friend and I, rescued two pitbulls (Belle and Sox) from Philadelphia. Their owner was no longer able to care for them, and the owners landlord was going to throw both dogs out on the street. After several failed attempts to find places for the dogs to go, my best friend and I drove an hour to Philly and picked them up. After calling over 10 different rescues and not hearing anything back, I knew it would be up to us to find them forever homes.
Through social media we were able to find both dogs a home a few days later. However, after looking at Belle more closely, I had some suspicions she may be pregnant. Belle and Sox’s new family came to pick up Sox, but wanted to wait until Belle was examined by a vet before taking her home as well.
So after Sox left, I introduced Belle to my own 3 dogs and she fit right into their pack. Belle started sleeping with us and doing everything together with my dogs. I took Belle to my vet to be checked out. I knew nothing about the either of the dogs past medical history. Although they both were excellently tempered and super sweet, being rescues, we weren’t sure if Belle even had been vaccinated. My vet confirmed Belle was pregnant and that she would give birth in the next couple of weeks. It’s not advised to give pregnant dogs vaccines so we decided to wait until after she had her babies.
We had hoped after reaching out to so many rescues that we could find one that would help us. We had no idea what we were doing. We received only one return phone call from all of the rescues we had called. The rescues criteria for them to take Belle was ridiculous. They wanted vaccine history and temperament testing done before they would even consider setting up an appointment to meet her. She was a rescue herself and we knew nothing about her other than she was pregnant. I discussed the situation with Belle’s new family and we decided since Belle and I had already formed a bond, I would let her stay with me and have her puppies.
We had friends come over and help us build her a whelping area so that she could be away from my personal pets, and feel safe and unstressed. It was quiet and warm and large enough that we could use the area to keep her pups in as they grew older, and until they could be adopted. We came up with a birthing plan with my vet and had all aspects of the delivery covered just in case of an emergency. We gathered as many supplies as we read we would need. We researched scenarios and watched videos of dogs on YouTube giving birth. After a few days, everything was set up and ready to go.
Twelve days later, Belle went into labor. She woke me up instinctively, like she knew I would help her through it. And that’s exactly what I wanted her to do... trust me enough to help her get through her delivery. This dog was purely miserable looking. She was huge and uncomfortable. She looked like a belly with legs. My friends and I all had bets on how many pups she’d have. I originally guessed 6, but later changed my guess to 8 after seeing how large she had grown in just a matter of two weeks. I stayed with Belle through her labor and sure enough twelve hours after her labor started, she had her first puppy.
Together, we started the delivery process. She ate the placentas, and I helped her babies by opening their sacks and cleaning them off and helping them to get started breathing on their own. Each puppy was weighed and each placenta was counted. As the hours started to go by, Belle justkept having more and more puppies. When she got to eight, I kind of laughed questioning if she was done giving birth, but then eight turned to ten. And then ten turned to twelve.
After the twelfth pup, Belle stopped pushing and didn’t have anymore pups for the next hour. After palpating her stomach, I was pretty sure she was done. Four hours after the first puppy was born, we had twelve live puppies. We timed each birth and Belle delivered a puppy every 15 minutes for three hours. Only one had to be suctioned and stimulated to breathe. He was the runt of the litter.
Our total was four boys and eight girls. I couldn’t believe it. It had been over and hour since Belle gave birth to her last puppy and I didn’t feel anymore inside her tummy so I decided to let her go outside. I don’t know why, but after one minute of her being outside, I had this feeling to go check on her. I walked out back to my yard and I see her standing in the yard eating something. I asked her what it was and walked towards her, and sure enough, on the leaves , was ANOTHER puppy, laying inside his sac. Belle was eating the placenta. I ran over to him and scooped him up with my bare hands and ran him inside. I pulled the sac off of his face and stimulated him to breathe while cleaning him off. I could tell by holding him he was the biggest of the litter.
THIRTEEN PUPPIES! Five boys. Eight girls.
Sadly, we ended up losing our little runt man, a day later. One of our friends built him a beautiful casket and we buried him in my garden so he could bloom in the spring with the flowers. We named him Apollo and asked him to watch over his brothers and sisters.
So here we are. Twelve puppies later. I thought 6-8 would be normal. But twelve! I had no idea what I was in for. Belle is a great mother. However, she was having trouble producing enough milk to feed all her pups so we started bottle feeding them supplementary feedings to make sure they all gained weight. Which has been a success. A tiring success, but well worth it to save Belles babes.
The pups are now two weeks old. They are healthy and growing. We decided to start this go fund me to help with the cost of the puppies food, vet care, shots, dewormer, and for Belle to be spayed and up to date on her vaccines after the puppies are weaned. We originally had no issues with financially covering a few puppies, however, this turned into something I never thought was even possible. Our new goal is to care for Belle and her puppies and find them all forever homes with the most responsible owners that we can find.
If you are able to help, we would greatly appreciate it. Any amount will be used directly for the puppies care. We will also accept direct donations made to my vet directly. Please contact me and I will gladly provide their information.
Also, if you are interested in adopting one of Belles puppies, please feel free to complete an application!
Thank you all! 2020 has been one heck of a year!
- Felicia Troilo
- Allison Collins
- Heather Muller
- Cheryl Wagner
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