Mary Heffelfinger, a registered nurse in Pennsylvania, expected to welcome a litter of just five or six puppies when her German shepherd, Roxy, went into labor. But much to her surprise, the 10-month-old pup delivered a whopping litter of 12 puppies over 11 hours.
Roxy the German shepherd was four and a half months old when she arrived at Heffelfinger’s home in Schuylkill Haven, Pennsylvania.
After the death of Heffelfinger’s 13-year-old husky-labrador mix, Nela, she thought Roxy could be a good companion to her white German shepherd named Rebel.
Months later, Roxy got pregnant. And on Monday, Feb. 18, at 5:41 a.m., the first-time mother gave birth to her first baby—a black puppy—in Heffelfinger’s bathroom. She then moved Roxy to a birthing box that she had created.
Not long after, a slew of tiny puppies arrived at 6:14 a.m., 6:51 a.m., 6:57 a.m., 7:23 a.m., and 7:38 a.m.
Heffelfinger, who used to work in a maternity ward nursery, thought that Roxy was done after delivering six puppies.
Excited, she called her mom and friends to inform them about the good news.
“The first person I called was my mom (Theresa Haas) in Cressona. Then my mom would call her friend, and I’d call my friends, giving them an update after I thought it was the last one,” Heffelfinger, who currently works for Lehigh Valley Hospital-Schuylkill E. Norwegian Street in home health care and hospice work, told AP News.
Surprisingly, an hour later at 8:55 a.m., Roxy delivered the seventh puppy.
But it didn’t stop at that. Shortly afterward, at 9:18 a.m., Roxy popped out the eighth puppy.
And then, the ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth puppy came into the world at 10:45 a.m., 1:22 p.m., 2:17 p.m., and 4:57 p.m. respectively.
Roxy had successfully given birth to a litter of 12 puppies, but unfortunately, one silvery-gray female puppy was stillborn, leaving just 11 babies.
Heffelfinger, who remained by the dog’s side throughout the entire labor, was “very, very surprised.”
“I only thought like maybe five to six, never that many at all. Normally, German Shepherds have like eight,” Heffelfinger told WNEP-TV.
By the end, both Roxy and Heffelfinger were exhausted.
“She was exhausted, but she’s been a wonderful mother,” Heffelfinger said.
“I could tell she was tired. I saw these little legs starting to come out. I grabbed the legs and … helped get him out,” she added.
Roxy & Rebel + 11 day 4. Say Good morning everyone and have a safe day.
The father of these 11 cute puppies—six white, three black, and two silvery-gray—is none other than 9-year-old Rebel, also a first-time parent.
Once the labor was completed, Heffelfinger rolled up her sleeves to help mom Roxy and dad Rebel care for their babies.
“This was her first litter, and will probably be her last. She’s been wonderful with them and didn’t want to leave them. I think she knows one’s missing,” Heffelfinger said.
Heffelfinger documents the growth of the puppies each successive day on her Facebook page, under the title “Roxy and Rebel + 11.” Both parents, Roxy and Rebel, watch the puppies fight as they grow bit by bit.
Posted by Mary C. Heffelfinger on Monday, March 18, 2019
Out of the 11 puppies, Heffelfinger intends to keep just one silvery-gray male puppy. The other puppies have all been taken or put up for sale.
Considering German shepherds’ usual litter size to be only around eight, Roxy’s staggering litter of 11 puppies—12 to be exact—was truly quite an astounding feat!
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