Button’s litter knocks spots off others ... oh yes, they do!
IT WOULD have been an event to make Walt Disney proud, and luckily there was no Cruella DeVil around to spoil it, as a record litter of Dalmatian puppies were brought into the Animal Health Trust, Kentford, on Tuesday 27th November.
Nicola Morley, from Somerby, near Melton Mowbray, brought in a litter of fifteen healthy, little spotty dogs, for the Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response (BAER) hearing test. Julia Freeman, Neurology Technician at the Trust, regularly carries out these tests on puppies of around five weeks old. Dalmatians are particularly common in her clinic, due to a genetic disposition for deafness.
The litter, born on 17th October and made up of eight dogs and seven bitches, equals the record number of live Dalmatian puppies born in the UK. A sixteenth pup that would have broken the record sadly died during birth. Button’s record matches that of Maisy the Dalmatian, who gave birth to nineteen puppies last year, although four of them were still born.
The puppies are all named after fairytale characters, with Sleeping Beauty and Robin Hood among them, which comes as no surprise given that mum Button is already more than used to brushes with Walt Disney. The two-and-a-half-year-old is the daughter of one of the dogs who starred in the blockbuster film 102 Dalmatians with Glenn Close.
Mrs. Morley, along with her husband and two children, is currently spending £30 a day feeding the hungry mouths, after several weeks of supplementing the pups’ food from Button, as feeding all of them at once would have been too much for her. Mother and owners shared a feeding cycle, surviving on two hours sleep a night. They also had to keep up with their changing looks – and remembering who was who!
"The pups now all have different collars," Mrs. Morley said. "But for the first few weeks I had to mark them each with nail varnish to tell them apart!"
Currently, the puppies are just six weeks old, so it’s still all hands on deck for the family, including those of eight-year-old George and six-year-old Thomas, who has Asperger’s - a form of autism. Button was originally bought for Thomas, who is apparently "enthralled" by the pups.
"He loves them," Mrs. Morley said. "Thomas needs something to focus on every day, and he likes the uniformity of the black and white."
The family already has three other dogs of their own, so are going to keep just one of the puppies. The rest are heading off to friends, families and good homes, where they’ll all live happily ever after!