Late in July, a dog was brought to the shelter from a rough situation. She was skinny, heavily pregnant, and distrustful of men. One morning, after being at the league for a few days, she began to give birth. Around mid-afternoon she had six puppies; little did we know then but she was only halfway done!
With 12 puppies in the shelter, everyone chipped in. One person would stay behind to clean her kennel (and count puppies!) while someone else would take Lacey out for some fresh air and time away from the kids. We changed her bedding several times a day and helped make sure all the puppies were nursing. But as closely as we watched the new family, we knew that the best place for them to mature before they could be adopted would be a home.
But who would be willing foster 12 newborn puppies and their 70 pound mother?
Enter Alana, a staff member at the league who also happens to run her own rescue.
1. Please introduce yourself.
Hi everyone, my name is Alana Mahoney and I am an Animal Care and Adoption Agent at the Animal Rescue League of Boston. I have a 4 year old SATO dog, and a 9 year old dachshund/pit bull mix as well as a 9 year old Oldenburg/thoroughbred horse and a 5 year old Thoroughbred horse from the racetrack.
2. What was it like fostering 12 puppies at once?
The first week or so was easy because Lacey took care of them, but once I started bottle feeding them 4 times a day to help Lacey out I was up with them from 6am to 11pm. They just kept getting cuter and cuter so it wasn’t hard to spend time with them!
We split the day up into 4 shifts. I was up with them at 6am to do their first romp in the yard with Lacey, so they would be tired enough for me to go to work. Then I sanitized their kennel – boy can puppies poop! – and fed them. For weeks 4-6 they were eating food from the blender, before that they were bottle fed 4 times a day, and they were FINALLY eating solid food for weeks 7-8. I was lucky enough to have my boyfriend around able to do the mid-day shift, and then I took care of them after the work day. Afternoons were spent socializing and playing and they typically went to bed around 11pm
Around 6 weeks they really started becoming little individuals. Uno was this sweet little princess with people, but had a Napoleon complex with the other dogs (she was the runt), while Cuatro liked to explore and then check in every so often. Cinco and Once were very active, while Nueve and Diez preferred to snuggle. Dos and Siete were the social butterflies of the group and loved giving kisses. Tres was the escape artist and loved to play with his mom. Seis was this little gentle soul who loved napping in your lap. Ocho took right after her mother and followed Lacey everywhere. Doce was the pretty girl of the group and looked more like a hound than the brindle coloring of her siblings.
Before I started at the Animal Rescue League of Boston, I ran a rescue group called The Pet Union Project, Incorporated out of my home. My managers were nice enough to let me put the puppies up on my old website and have potential adopters come to my house, so that the puppies wouldn’t have to go back into the shelter.
At first she was protective of her puppies, but once she got to know me she would let me bottle feed a puppy while she nursed the other puppies right next to me. It was very cool! She is one of the most affectionate dogs I have ever met and is very loyal. She constantly wants pats and is very smart.
Lacey would prefer an adult home with dog experience. She is one of those dogs that will sleep and snuggle if you want, but will also go for a hike if that’s what you want to do. I think she would prefer the suburbs to city living. She could even go home with another dog – she has met dogs of all shapes and sizes.
I did a Wisdom Panel test on Lacey and she came back 12.5% Australian shepherd and 12.5% bull mastiff. 75% total mutt! She weighs in at 70lbs and is 2 years old.
Of course! Anything less than 12 will be a piece of cake!
Thanks Alana! We are all indebted to you for your hard work helping this family make it though a tough time. All of your hours of bottle feeding, cleaning, and loving these dogs will be forever appreciated by us, the adoptive families, and each of the doggies. They have a happy ending because of your large heart and hard work.
Please keep in mind that while all the puppies have been adopted, Lacey still needs a loving forever home. Lacey is still being fostered by Alana. If you feel like Lacey would be a good addition to your family, call the ARL to set up an appointment to meet her!