Early Christmas miracle of 11 puppies born on November 11 at Roseorwell Pups, Suffolk
That famous Christmas carol has 11 pipers piping but perhaps this year it should be changed to 11 puppies playing, because that’s been the remarkable scene at one Suffolk home just before Christmas. See a photo gallery and video of the cute puppies here.
Helen Oliver, 53, a Cockapoo Club of GB (CCGB) approved breeder who previously spent two decades in the pharmaceutical sales industry, has been breeding for five years and has established Roseorwell Pups at her home, converted partially into a grooming and pet services business.
Her two family pet dogs, Purdey, a three-year-old Fox Red Labrador, and Rosa, a four-year-old working cocker, have one litter a year.
And it was Purdey who gave the world a litter of undeniably adorable 11 Labradoodles.
With a yelp, she started giving birth, of course, on the evening of November 11.
“We named the smallest one, the penultimate one born at 11.30pm on that Saturday night, Poppy, in honour of Armistice,” Mrs Oliver said.
“Having 11 puppies on the 11th of the 11th is quite significant. We had actually tried to mate her (Purdey) twice previously and decided this was going to be our last attempt.
“The first one was the biggest puppy of the litter and she did find it quite painful. But amazingly, Rosa came running in. She heard her cry out. She jumped right into the whelping box. She was like a little midwife.
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“She helped to stimulate the first puppy by licking her.
“But then Purdey gave her a little growl as if to say ‘I’m all right now’, and Rosa left. She was not allowed back in the room!”
The first puppy took around 20 minutes to come round.
“She has been a brilliant mother ever since,” Mrs Oliver said.
“She was struggling to keep up with the amount of milk she had to give so we had to really increase her food and drink intake.”
The puppies have all been checked by a vet – and well-looked after by Mrs Oliver’s daughter Immy Oliver-Beckett, 17.
Eight have already been sold, mainly to young couples as far as Colchester and Kent.
Mrs Oliver warned that the puppies should not be bought as Christmas presents.
“They are not a commodity. They are a commitment for life,” she said. “It still happens and I make sure I vet everyone.”
For more details about the puppies, visit the Roseorwell Pups Facebook page.