15 Pup Litter A Real Family Affair

TRACEY Salter just loves a challenge and in the past week that's exactly what she, husband Greg Turnbull, and close friend Marg Crick have been faced with.

David Brasch

8 April 2020

VICTORIAN breeder Tracey Salter just loves a challenge and in the past week that’s exactly what she, husband Greg Turnbull, and close friend Marg Crick have been faced with.

Early in the year, Tracey suffered a heart attack and needed surgery to right the problem. 

The COVID-19 shutdown of surgery around the country forced Tracey to ask her friend, Ballarat-based Marg, to whelp a litter of pups with Greg’s multiple winning bitch Eminence (Paw Licking-Resemblance) due by Easter Egg winner Moreira.

At midnight on Saturday night, Tracey got a call from Marg to say Eminence was struggling.

By 2am, Tracey and Marg had arrived at Sturt Vet Clinic at Ballarat with the in-labour bitch.

Eminence, or Tigger as she is known around the Salter/Turnbull kennels at Crowlands, produced 15 pups, yes 15, eight dogs and seven bitches via an emergency C-Section.

All the males were brindle, all the females black.

“The smallest pup was 650 grams and the largest 780 grams,” she said.

Tracey headed home an hour and a half away, while Tigger and her 15 pups headed back to Marg’s.

But that’s when the trouble started.

“Tigger fed the pups, stood up to go have a pee, but collapsed,” said Tracey.

“She went into complete kidney failure and Marg had to rush her back to the vet clinic.”

And that is where the story takes an even more remarkable turn.

“The vets did not know if Tigger would survive, but we had 15 newly born puppies who needed care, attention and of course feeding,” said Tracey.

But that’s also when up stepped Penny, aka Thriller Love, and Marg’s pet Terrier called Ally.

“Penny has a litter of pups of her own she is feeding,” said Tracey.

“The daytime feeding of Tigger’s pups is done by Penny. At night, she switches back to her own pups as well, a four-week-old litter of seven.

“All credit to Penny who is now feeding and caring for 22 pups every day.

“But at night, Tigger’s 15 puppies are in Marg’s lounge room and being cleaned up by Ally the Terrier. Ally loves cuddling them and caring for them all.

“At night the 15 are being bottle fed.”

Tigger (Eminence) has since made enough improvement to be allowed home tomorrow.

“But, she will not be able to care for her pups,” said Tracey.

“All these wonderful animals, and all the beautiful people involved as well, are part of the massive task of caring for and raring of Tigger’s litter.

“The pups are thriving, despite the initial problems. After only four days they were averaging a weight of a kilo each,” said Tracey.

Tracey says the lead-up to whelping for Tigger (Eminence) was very different to most broodbitches.

“Nobody had any inkling she was going to have so many pups,” said Tracey.

“None of us has any idea where she had them. In the week or so before the whelping, she was not that big.”

Sandown Vet Clinic did the insemination of Eminence with the Moreira semen.

Tracey informed them of the amazing circumstances surrounding the whelping.

“They believe it could be a record number of pups born and to all survive,” she said. 

“And, they have put their hand up to take Penny who has done a remarkable job of feeding and caring for 22 puppies.”