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
All Rights Reserved - Helen Yates- T: +44 (0) 7790805960 Local copyright law applies to all print & online usage. Fees charged
Twelve adorable puppies are being cared for at the Blue Cross near Ipswich, after their homeless mum was taken in by the charity.
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.
New homes have already been found for the 12 tiny pups to go to when they are old enough.
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.
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.
"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.
"Poor Darla has been too exhausted to eat, so we've been encouraging her by handfeeding her too."
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.
"Thankfully we did have room at our inn, or rather kennels, because within two days of admitting her, Darla's pups had arrived!"
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.
Blue Cross spokesman Sam Murray said the charity currently had around 50 animals at its Wherstead centre, and was looking for new owners.
She said they did not allow any animals to be adopted in order to be given as Christmas presents.
"If you adopt an animal, it is your responsibility and you can't give it to someone else.
"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."
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Ipswich Star. Click the link in the orange box above for details.