Dog has one of largest litters ever – after neutering appointment cancelled

Mary Killing had planned to get her dogs Bella and Archie neutered back in March but the appointment had to be cancelled because of coronavirus.

She then spent days trying to keep them apart to prevent 15-month-old Bella getting pregnant.

But despite using nappies and vaporub to keep them apart – Bella and Irish setter/English spaniel Archie still managed to get together.

And when Lab/Collie cross Bella went into labour in July, Mary was shocked when the puppies just kept arriving – ending up with 16 puppies.

Sadly one passed away but the litter is still one of the largest ever recorded.

Mary, who’s from the small Irish village of Crecora in Limerick, Ireland said: ‘The neutering appointment was cancelled during lockdown as it was not considered urgent.

‘We tried keeping Bella and Archie apart, we tried nappies, Vick’s VapoRub and we separated them for a couple of days.

‘It wasn’t to be though.’

The litter began arriving at the Killing family home late on July 25 and finally ended with the 16th pup in the early hours of July 26.

It’s understood to be the largest ever delivered in Ireland, with eight boys and eight girls arriving in just a few hours.

Mary said: ‘I was in absolute shock. The vet had told us she was going to have eight to ten puppies.

‘So having 15 was quite phenomenal. It’s a record I think.’

Mary said she was watching Game of Thrones when Bella started panting heavily and gave birth right there on her lap.

She then moved the pup on to a large duvet to deliver the rest.

Mary said: ‘We had to get a suitcase the following morning to put them into to count them as they were wriggling all over the place.

‘It was just phenomenal. We were in awe.’

Luckily, Mary has been working from home with her role at the University of Limerick so has been able to care for the pups, with help from her five children.

She said: ‘It’s been tough, it’s been hard work.’

The family are keeping one of the litter, first-born Walter – named by 11-year-old Isaac after Where’s Wally because he kept hiding.

The rest of the pups are going to family and friends, including one to her eldest son Josh, 24.

They’re all due to go to their new homes this weekend and Mary decided not to charge for the dogs, saying she just wants them to be loved and treated like a member of the family.

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