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WATCH: Meet the 12 pups of Christmas, as mum Darla gives birth at Blue Cross

PUBLISHED: 09:10 26 November 2019 | UPDATED: 09:10 26 November 2019

12 new puppies have been born at the Blue Cross Suffolk Rehoming Centre  Picture: HELEN YATES/BLUE CROSS

12 new puppies have been born at the Blue Cross Suffolk Rehoming Centre Picture: HELEN YATES/BLUE CROSS

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Twelve adorable puppies are being cared for at the Blue Cross near Ipswich, after their homeless mum was taken in by the charity.

From left to right:  Samantha Barker, 29 from  Ipswich and Jill Smith, 66 from Stowmarket, with the puppies. Picture: Neil DidsburyFrom left to right: Samantha Barker, 29 from Ipswich and Jill Smith, 66 from Stowmarket, with the puppies. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Staffordshire bull terrier Darla had her giant litter just 48 hours after being taken in by the team at the animal charity's rehoming centre near Ipswich. She needed help after her owners were evicted.

12 new puppies have been born at the Blue Cross Suffolk Rehoming Centre  Picture: HELEN YATES/BLUE CROSS12 new puppies have been born at the Blue Cross Suffolk Rehoming Centre Picture: HELEN YATES/BLUE CROSS

New homes have already been found for the 12 tiny pups to go to when they are old enough.

Mum Darla Picture: HELEN YATES/BLUE CROSSMum Darla Picture: HELEN YATES/BLUE CROSS

However, the charity is appealing for people to offer homes to the many other pets in its care, and also for donations to help its work.

From left to right:  Samantha Barker, 29 from  Ipswich and Jill Smith, 66 from Stowmarket, with the litter at the Blue Cross Picture: Neil DidsburyFrom left to right: Samantha Barker, 29 from Ipswich and Jill Smith, 66 from Stowmarket, with the litter at the Blue Cross Picture: Neil Didsbury

Animal welfare assistant Susie Winship said: "Twelve puppies is a large litter for any dog, let alone a dog of Darla's petite size. It's certainly the biggest litter we've ever had at Blue Cross.

Staffordshire bull terrier Darla had her brood – nicknamed the ‘12 pups of Christmas'. Picture: Neil DidsburyStaffordshire bull terrier Darla had her brood – nicknamed the ‘12 pups of Christmas'. Picture: Neil Didsbury

"She is doing amazingly and we're so proud of her. Because she has so many mouths to feed, we've been helping her out by supplementing the puppies' mealtimes with bottles four times a day.

Samantha Barker, 29 from  Ipswich and Jill Smith, 66 from Stowmarket, with some of the puppies. Picture: Neil DidsburySamantha Barker, 29 from Ipswich and Jill Smith, 66 from Stowmarket, with some of the puppies. Picture: Neil Didsbury

"Poor Darla has been too exhausted to eat, so we've been encouraging her by handfeeding her too."

Staffordshire bull terrier Darla had her brood – nicknamed the ‘12 pups of Christmas'. Picture: Neil DidsburyStaffordshire bull terrier Darla had her brood – nicknamed the ‘12 pups of Christmas'. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Bradley Tovell, also an animal welfare assistant, said: "When we received a call asking us to help Darla, we couldn't turn her away. She was likely to go into labour any day and she faced having her pups on the streets.

12 new puppies have been born at the Blue Cross Suffolk Rehoming Centre  Picture: HELEN YATES/BLUE CROSS12 new puppies have been born at the Blue Cross Suffolk Rehoming Centre Picture: HELEN YATES/BLUE CROSS

"Thankfully we did have room at our inn, or rather kennels, because within two days of admitting her, Darla's pups had arrived!"

12 new puppies have been born at the Blue Cross Suffolk Rehoming Centre  Picture: HELEN YATES/BLUE CROSS12 new puppies have been born at the Blue Cross Suffolk Rehoming Centre Picture: HELEN YATES/BLUE CROSS

The whole family will stay in Blue Cross care until the puppies are old enough to be weaned. When the puppies go to their new homes, a new home will be found for Darla too.

12 new puppies have been born at the Blue Cross Suffolk Rehoming Centre  Picture: HELEN YATES/BLUE CROSS12 new puppies have been born at the Blue Cross Suffolk Rehoming Centre Picture: HELEN YATES/BLUE CROSS

Blue Cross spokesman Sam Murray said the charity currently had around 50 animals at its Wherstead centre, and was looking for new owners.

12 new puppies have been born at the Blue Cross Suffolk Rehoming Centre  Picture: HELEN YATES/BLUE CROSS12 new puppies have been born at the Blue Cross Suffolk Rehoming Centre Picture: HELEN YATES/BLUE CROSS

She said they did not allow any animals to be adopted in order to be given as Christmas presents.

12 new puppies have been born at the Blue Cross Suffolk Rehoming Centre  Picture: HELEN YATES/BLUE CROSS12 new puppies have been born at the Blue Cross Suffolk Rehoming Centre Picture: HELEN YATES/BLUE CROSS

"If you adopt an animal, it is your responsibility and you can't give it to someone else.

Twelve puppies are in safe hands at national pet charity Blue Cross after their homeless and heavily pregnant mum was urgently found a room to give birth. Picture: Neil DidsburyTwelve puppies are in safe hands at national pet charity Blue Cross after their homeless and heavily pregnant mum was urgently found a room to give birth. Picture: Neil Didsbury

"But we do rehome pets all year, including over the Christmas period. If you are having a quiet Christmas, it can be a good time."

12 new puppies have been born at the Blue Cross Suffolk Rehoming Centre  Picture: HELEN YATES/BLUE CROSS12 new puppies have been born at the Blue Cross Suffolk Rehoming Centre Picture: HELEN YATES/BLUE CROSS

To rehome a pet, visit the website. To donate, visit bluecross.org.uk/christmas-news, or text Moments to 70557 to donate £10.

12 new puppies have been born at the Blue Cross Suffolk Rehoming Centre  Picture: HELEN YATES/BLUE CROSS12 new puppies have been born at the Blue Cross Suffolk Rehoming Centre Picture: HELEN YATES/BLUE CROSS

12 new puppies have been born at the Blue Cross Suffolk Rehoming Centre  Picture: HELEN YATES/BLUE CROSS12 new puppies have been born at the Blue Cross Suffolk Rehoming Centre Picture: HELEN YATES/BLUE CROSS

12 new puppies have been born at the Blue Cross Suffolk Rehoming Centre  Picture: HELEN YATES/BLUE CROSS12 new puppies have been born at the Blue Cross Suffolk Rehoming Centre Picture: HELEN YATES/BLUE CROSS

12 new puppies have been born at the Blue Cross Suffolk Rehoming Centre  Picture: HELEN YATES/BLUE CROSS12 new puppies have been born at the Blue Cross Suffolk Rehoming Centre Picture: HELEN YATES/BLUE CROSS

Staffordshire bull terrier Darla had her brood – nicknamed the ‘12 pups of Christmas'. Picture: Neil DidsburyStaffordshire bull terrier Darla had her brood – nicknamed the ‘12 pups of Christmas'. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Jill Smith, 66 from Stowmarket. Picture: Neil DidsburyJill Smith, 66 from Stowmarket. Picture: Neil Didsbury

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