Marrissa Baker was shocked when she checked on her pregnant American Chocolate Labrador Retriever, called Tikka, on the morning of Sept. 19.
Baker, who lives in Duncan, said as this is Tikka’s first pregnancy, she expected that she might have just three to five puppies.
But there were 14 little bundles of canine joy crawling all over Tikka taking their turns nursing on Saturday morning.
“It’s crazy,” said Baker, a mother of four toddlers who is pregnant with her fifth child.
“I’m a stay-at-home mom, but between looking after my four kids and now all these puppies, I’m run off my feet. We’ve never bred dogs before so this is whole new experience for the family. The kids love it though and have already named each of the puppies.”
Sadly, one of the puppies died unexpectedly just two days after its birth.
Incredibly, Baker said the father of the puppies, a stud English Labrador Retriever named Duke, also recently fathered another litter of Labrador Retrievers on Salt Spring Island that numbered 14 as well, although three died within days of their birth.
She said her husband, Steve, checked to see what the record is for litters of Labrador retrievers, and discovered on the internet that a six-year-old named Bella also had 14 pups just last May, and it was heralded as one of the biggest litters of Labs ever.
“There’s a lot of interest in people wanting to buy the puppies once they are old enough to be taken away from Tikka, but only one has been spoken for so far,” Baker said.
“We’re allowing those who want to buy one to pick them out when they are five weeks old, and they can take them home when they’re eight weeks old. We may keep one for ourselves.”
Until then, Baker said her husband Steve will have to set up a play area for the puppies on the family’s two-and-a-half-acre property.
“I expect we’ll all be kept busy for awhile with all these puppies,” she said.
“But I’m afraid the kids won’t want to give them up when it’s time for them to go.”