Mya the dog is a super mom — or should that be Supermom?
Having given birth to a whopping 16 puppies in her first litter, the medium-sized, mixed-breed rescue dog is something of a superhero to her impressed owners, Shauna and Chris Smith of Red Deer.
“We were absolutely amazed,” said Shauna, who had no idea the good-natured four-year-old was carrying that many puppies — although Mya was getting noticeably stout during her pregnancy. “We’d joke that she’d swallowed a 10-pin bowling ball,” Shauna added, with a laugh.
Mya began giving birth early on Monday, March 19. Since her owners had heard that dogs generally prefer to be alone during this experience, they left Mya on a bed in the spare room.
But she soon entered the Smith’s bedroom carrying her first puppy by the scruff of the neck.
“She wanted to be with us,” said Shauna, who stayed with the dog as her next seven pups were born within one hour.
After returning home from a noon-hour meeting, Shauna was shocked to see that Mya had produced seven more puppies, bringing the sub-total to 15.
Two hours later, the last pup was born.
The short-haired squirmy offspring are all thriving, thanks to supplemental formula feedings every four hours by the Smiths — although the smallest of the litter are still about half the size of the largest.
There are so many patchy white, black and brown puppies the Smiths haven’t bothered naming them.
They keep track of the mewling animals by noting their different coloured collars on a daily feeding log.
Shauna said her uncle, a dog breeder, has rarely heard of any dog producing so many young in one go.
“He was amazed and completely baffled.”
While the world record-holding litter contained 24 pups, most dogs average four to eight, depending on the breed.
“Our friends are saying we’re like the 101 Dalmatians, because of all these puppies,” said Shauna.
The Smiths also own the father dog, a brindle-coloured rottweiler/dalmatian cross called Bronson, whom they intend to fix so there won’t be another litter.
Shauna admitted that waking up for night-time feedings is getting to be a lot of work.
But Mya is a good mother, cleaning the pups and patiently feeding them in shifts — which can seem like a round-the-clock job.
“I was nervous about how she’d be, but she’s doing awesome,” said Shauna.
The owners are still considering whether to keep one pup, but will be finding good homes for the rest.
Chris, a heavy-duty mechanic, said they will sell the puppies to recoup the feeding costs, and also so that perspective owners attach some value to them.
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