Dog gives birth to 16 puppies after appointment to be neutered was delayed

Two proud dog parents have given birth to one of the largest litters of puppies ever after an appointment to have them neutered was pushed back due to coronavirus.

Mary Killing had booked in her dogs Bella and Archie at the vets, but the procedures were cancelled to be rearranged for a later date when lockdown was imposed.

Despite Mary’s best efforts to keep them apart, labrador/collie cross Bella became pregnant and in July the 15-month-old gave birth to an astonishing litter of 16 puppies.

One of the pups sadly died, but the incredible birth is still thought to be one of the largest single deliveries ever.





Mary, from Crecora in Limerick, said: “The neutering appointment was cancelled during lockdown as it was not considered urgent.

“We tried keeping Bella and Archie (an Irish setter/English spaniel cross) apart – we tried nappies, Vick’s VapoRub and we separated them for a couple of days.

“It wasn’t to be though.”

Bella began giving birth late on July 25 and the 16th and final puppy came in the early hours of July 26, with eight boys and eight girls arriving in just a few hours.



“I was in absolute shock,” said mum-of-five Mary. “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 was watching Game of Thrones when Bella began to start panting heavily and gave birth on her lap, so she moved her onto a large duvet to deliver the rest.

“We had to get a suitcase the following morning to put them into to count them as they were wriggling all over the place,” she said.

“It was just phenomenal. We were in awe.”

Luckily, lockdown has also meant Mary has been working from home with her role at the University of Limerick and has been able to help care for the large litter, which she says has been “hard work”.

The family have chosen to keep the first-born puppy, with her 11-year-old son Isaac choosing to name him Walter after Where’s Wally as he wouldn’t stop hiding.

The rest of the puppies are going to family and friends, including one to her eldest son Josh, 24 – and Mary is not charging for the dogs, and instead simply asking they are given a loving home.

They were all due to leave for their forever homes this weekend.

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