Wow! You will never believe what happened in Germany a few weeks ago. There was this Rhodesian Ridgeback named Etana, and she had 17 puppies! Which is an amazing number of puppies, and the even more amazing thing is that none of the puppies died.
And the reason that none of them died is mostly because Etana's mom, Ramona Wegemann, spent lots of time taking care of the puppies and feeding them out of little bottles. For about a month after the puppies were born, Mrs. Wegemann didn't get much sleep at all because she was always feeding the puppies. And as soon as she got them all fed, she had to start over again.
There were 8 girl puppies and 9 boy puppies, and they were born on September 28 in a town near Berlin. When a mama dog has so many puppies, some of them usually die because there is no way she can feed them all. But since Mrs. Wegemann helped feed the puppies, they all got enough to eat.
The first time that Etana had puppies, there were 8 pups in the litter, which is a pretty normal number for a litter of Ridgies. But this time she had 17 puppies, and this was quite a shock to everyone. It took 26 hours for all the puppies to finish being born. Since Rhodesian Ridgebacks are from Africa, like I told you in a previous blog entry, all the puppies got African names. And all the names started with "B," which was probably because this was the second litter that Etana had, and "B" is the second letter of the alphabet. The girl puppies were named Bahati, Binta, Bahya, Bashima, Batouuli, Binki, Bora, and Bisa. And the boy puppies were named Baakir, Banjoku, Belay, Bruk, Bundu, Bayo, Bukekayo, Biton, and Bulus.
Well, after I read the story about the 17 puppies, I started wondering how big a litter of puppies usually is. So I did some research, and what I learned is that the average size of a litter is 6 puppies. But a lot depends on what breed of dog you are talking about, and how big that breed is. Because bigger dogs have bigger litters. So a German Shepherd might have 11 puppies, and a Great Dane might have as many as 15. But a Maltese or Yorkie will usually only have 2.
Then another thing I wondered about was how long it takes for a puppy to grow inside its mother. My mom thought it was 62 days, and she was mostly right. But what they actually say is that it takes 9 weeks, which is 63 days, but it could be anywhere between 58 and 68 days. And what's interesting about this is that it doesn't matter what size dog you are. The time it takes for the puppies to grow before they are born is exactly the same for tiny dogs and for great big dogs.
And for my feline friends, I asked Mr. Google how big a litter of kittens usually is, and the answer is between 3 and 5. But sometimes there is only one kitten in a litter, and there could be as many as 10. But having 10 kittens would be pretty unusual, and some of the kittens would probably die.
Oh, and guess what! It takes almost exactly the same amount of time to make a kitten as it does to make a puppy: 63 days or 9 weeks!
Anyway, when I told you my life story, back when I first started my blog, I told you that while I was a poor homeless dog on the streets of Houston, I was taken advantage of by a boy dog. So when they spayed me, they found out I was going to have puppies. But then I didn't have the puppies, and I don't even know how many puppies I would have had. I think it's probably better that I didn't have any puppies, though, because I don't know if I would want to deal with all the responsibilities of being a mother!