It started like any other birth. In the days leading up to the big event, she watched the new dog-mom start to nest. And, in less than a week, the contractions started.
The plan was for a home birth, but after pup number 5 came out, they saw something was very wrong. It was time to rush to the vet.
Cecilia Langton-Bunker, a 43-year-old breeder in Australia, loved the dalmatian dog breed more than anything in the world. Her passion for the adorable dogs went as far as being a full-time business.
Under the name CCDalmatians, Cecilia had been breeding, training, and showing these pups for over 24 years. But that was just the beginning of it.
Ethical breeding and dog showing was vital for her. Cecilia didn’t just breed the dogs for the money. She always felt like it was her calling in life. She’d perfected it.
She ensured that the partnering was with other prize-winning dogs with a healthy genetic makeup. Little did she know what her next breeding efforts would turn into.
Dalmatians are medium-sized dogs identified by their unique black or brown-spotted coat. They originated as hunting dogs and can be traced back to the historical region of Dalmatia in Croatia.
They typically live for 12 – 14 years and are known to be intelligent, friendly, and protective. It’s not hard to see why Cecilia loved this breed, especially when Miley came into the picture.
Cecilia took Miley under her wing when she was just a puppy. She knew instantly that Miley was something special. She was the most well-behaved puppy she ever had!
And not only that, but Miley was also a beautiful dalmatian that Cecilia felt compelled to show off and rear puppies from. However, Cecilia’s well-laid plans for Miley would soon fall apart.
Miley was a prize-winning girl with the stage name “Sarasota From Russia With Love.” Cecilia brought her all over Australia, entering her into dog show competitions.
Each time she’d receive medals. If she didn’t place first, she’d place among the top three. She was the dog to beat in the dalmatian community! And just when Cecilia thought things couldn’t get any better, they did.
Miley was ready to breed. It was excellent news for Cecilia! But things got even better when she found another high-end champion Dalmatian that was available to be studded out.
Everything was falling into place just like she hoped it would. Things seemed to click right off the bat. But then the vet checks started.
As soon as Cecilia suspected Miley was pregnant, she brought her to the vet to confirm her suspicions. Cecilia anxiously waited as the vet took a scan of Miley’s belly.
As soon as the vet confirmed Miley was pregnant, Cecilia yelped in excitement! She couldn’t wait to see Miley’s puppies. She asked the vet if everything looked okay. The vet assured her Miley looked fine, but he didn’t look close enough.
It started as the standard fare – the doting human mother making sure her baby girl would be okay. She bolstered her diet and even built a large puppy court.
It wasn’t the first round of puppies Cecelia had overseen, and it certainly wouldn’t be the last. Still, even Cecilia began to notice that this particular pregnancy did not seem normal.
A normal Dalmatian usually gives birth to around 6 or 7 puppies. Anything more can become dangerous – primarily due to the breed size.
Soon, Cecilia noticed something strange about Miley, so she brought her to the vet for another check-up. Cecilia loved Miley deeply and was utterly devastated at the thought of something happening to her.
When she brought Miley to the vet a second time, the vet was surprised to see her. He thought she was just an overly anxious mom until he took another scan and had trouble reading it.
The vet stared at the x-rays with scrunched eyes and a confused slant on his lips. “That’s odd,” he muttered. “I can’t count how many.”
Cecilia leaned in as well, but she couldn’t make out the odd jumble of images across the screen. This meant there was no way of knowing how many puppies Miley was carrying.
All she could do was take her girl home and get ready. She finally heard the yelps of labor in the early morning hours.
The midwife rushed over, and between her and Cecilia, they worked to help the first of the puppies into the world. It was a joyous occasion; one any mom would be proud of.
However, after puppy number five, she noticed a lull in the birthing process. Something was very wrong. Her heart pounded like a jackhammer.
After a quick call to the vet, everyone agreed it was time to hand things over to the medical professionals. A worried Cicilia rushed Miley to the clinic, and her worst fears were confirmed.
The 6th puppy wasn’t positioned correctly. “We have to stop this,” the vet said. They would have to do an emergency c-section.
This is where things turned into a scene from a movie – a Disney one, to be specific. The doctor pulled out puppy after puppy.
The delivery system soon broke into chaos. Nurses rushed to pull receptionists from their desks and call in anyone on standby that could get there fast enough. There just weren’t enough hands.
As one puppy appeared after another, the vet kept saying, “There surely can’t be anymore!”. He said this repeatedly, soon turning it into an inside joke to quell the rising tension.
By the 10th puppy, even Cecilia’s jaw was hitting the floor. After 13 hours of labor, the final bundle of joy came out, and they confirmed there were no more.
The entire medical team was left flustered, their jaws open as they saw Miley’s puppies. They couldn’t believe what they not only witnessed but worked up a sweat to deliver safely!
Cecilia was in tears as she looked at the many counts of baby paws she saw in front of her. What was the final count of puppies?
Sixteen puppies – twelve females and four males! The group couldn’t believe their eyes as the pure white pups blindly wriggled around, looking for the warmth of their mother.
Cecelia’s eyes brimmed with happy tears. Even after all these years, she could still be amazed by this astounding breed. There must have been some kind of world record here!
While, sadly, there was no world record – with the record holder dog coming in at 18 puppies – there was still an Australian record for the biggest litter. There was also a cute movie comparison.
You see, in the movie 101 Dalmatians, Purdy had given birth to 15. Miley had beat the movie record by one pup! But what would happen to the fur babies?
Cecilia and Miley had their hands full, raising all 16 puppies. Luckily, Cecilia’s partner was there to help out.
He loved Miley and dalmatians just as much as Cecilia, so he was happy to help look after them. But it was no easy feat. Taking care of a litter of 16 puppies is more complicated than it looks.
Cecilia needed to make sure that their bed was clean every day and made sure to monitor each puppy’s development. Luckily, there didn’t even seem to be a runt.
Miley was a great mom and looked after her babies with love and attention. But the older they got, the more tasks that fell on Cecilia and her partner. And one of these tasks was feeding time.
Changing the puppies to eat solid food was a walk in the park. They seemed to love Cecilia’s puppy meal classic. A mix of dog nuts and chicken pieces lightly sprinkled with some cheese.
They’d line up two circular trays of this and watch as the puppies fumbled over each other to devour every last drop. Until finally, it was time to let them go.
It wasn’t as if Cecilia wasn’t used to letting puppies go. It was her business, after all. She waited the standard two months before looking for owners.
Offers poured in – it seemed everyone wanted a part of the miraculous family. Some dog lovers traveled miles to secure a puppy from Miley’s litter. But there was one noticeable difference.
She was thrilled the little ones were all healthy and happy and would go to good homes. As a dog breeder, it was her pride that customers believed in Miley as much as she did.
But being such a special event in their lives, she couldn’t help but feel a twinge of empty nest syndrome as Miley’s kids left the house one by one.
She loved coming home to a house full of lively and hilarious puppies. They gave her so much love and entertainment.
She could have lived happily like that forever, but she knew they wouldn’t be puppies for much longer. She also had a business to cater to. But that didn’t stop her from deciding to keep one of the girls that seemed special.
“Paris” came into her spotted coat quickly. The little one also showed she was outgoing, smart, and spirited. She was also a happy tail-wagging sweetheart!
The promising pup quickly demonstrated her quality after winning “Best Puppy of Breed” and “Best Puppy in Ring.” But what about the rest of the family, not to mention the father?
“Astro” had been allowed to visit his kids so the family could bond. But Cecilia couldn’t help but giggle as the new dad was clearly overwhelmed as he sat in the middle of the yippy, wagging group.
He looked around him like, “These are all mine?!” He clearly couldn’t believe it. Next was the “party.”
The idea was to wait a year or two, then invite all the dogs back to Cecilia’s for a reunion party. There were dog-friendly snacks alongside the human ones and plenty of decorations and activities.
Her pool was also open and ready for lots of dog-paddling action. But the guest list wasn’t just for those with four legs.
Cecilia invited the vets, technicians, and receptionist, as well as the midwife – everyone who had taken part in the process – to the gathering.
She watched with immeasurable pride and joy as the massive clan ran and romped about with each other. There were smiles everywhere, good food being enjoyed, and excellent music playing.
It was a moment to be utterly thankful for. She couldn’t have done it alone. However, the biggest pat on the back went to Miley, who had been a champ through the entire thing.
A proud mom and grandma, Cecilia sat in the middle of the excited group of Dalmatians with smiles and memories that would last forever. But across the globe, a man in China wanted to adopt a puppy he found.
Yang had been walking alone through the woods on his usual foraging trips when he came across the pup. It was tiny and helpless. He looked around, trying to find its mother, but the pair were completely alone.
Its eyes were barely even open as it lay there, splaying its legs out, its pitiful cries ringing through the woods. Yang picked it up and took it with him, never realizing that this wasn’t actually a puppy.
Xinmin Yang lived a simple life in a rural part of China. Providing for a family of five wasn’t easy, and the older man often relied on the local woods for extra food. Luckily, Yang’s family had lived in the area for decades, and he knew the local woods well.
Since Yang knew how to navigate his way through the woods, he also knew the best spots for foraging. However, the woods could sometimes be an unsafe place too.
Like his father before him, Yang knew which parts of the woods to avoid. Yang and his family were unaccustomed to the bustling metropolises of modern China.
While the country grew economically, Yang’s family stuck to their traditional roots. However, through the years, the region had changed quite significantly, and the cost of progress had taken its toll on them.
When Yang’s parents and grandparents lived here, the woods and surrounding areas were like a village. Different families once had their homes there, and the area was a little rural community.
Over time, big city developments began encroaching into the rural land more. It started with patches of the woods being cut down to make more space for urbanization. Before long, things got worse.
As the land and wooded areas grew sparser, the life people had always known there became more difficult. The ingredients and supplies needed to survive were now harder to find.
One by one, the families grew more dissatisfied. Yang and his family remained committed to their home. However, it was soon apparent that not everyone else was.
Frustrated by the increasing lack of resources, families soon began moving out of the area in search of a better place to make a life. The worst part was that the companies and developments responsible for the exodus offered something more.
Soon, the remaining families became seduced by the prospect of finding work in nearby urban areas. Just like that, within a few short years, an entire way of life was gone.
Yang was a traditionalist, and someone too set in his routines to ever change them. Even when it seemed that his family would be the last ones left in the woods, he stubbornly refused to move them.
Yang enjoyed the simplicity of fending for himself. Even if life was more challenging, being the only ones left meant the little patches of woods left were theirs to forage freely. That was how he came to be roaming the woods by himself one day.
It began as an ordinary day in the woods. Yang left home early and began trudging through the woods, searching for mushrooms to pick.
He had just spotted some when a strange sound caught his ears. It sounded like a baby crying, only it wasn’t human. Following the sound, Yang came across the little animal. Mistaking it for a dog, he picked it up.
Yang searched for a mother or other “pups” but found none. Realizing that a larger animal could easily pick off the little animal if he left it there, Yang decided to take it home.
It was tiny, had black fur, and looked like a cute puppy to him. When he reached home, his kids were ecstatic at his find. Believing it to be a little puppy, the family was blissfully unaware that they were dealing with something completely different.
The animal was so tiny and helpless that it could not even open its eyes fully. Yang knew it would not have survived if he had left it behind.
Together, the family began to nurse and care for it. At first, it was difficult to feed it. However, after a few days of constant care by Yang’s family, something amazing happened.
The animal finally opened its eyes. Believing the Yang family to be its own family, the little “pup” became more submissive to them. Feeding and caring for him was more manageable, and he soon began to grow.
The family raised the animal as their pet. To their minds, he was their daily dog. However, as the animal grew, Yang and his family were stunned when they realized this was no dog.
As it grew, Yang became concerned when he noticed that its claws and teeth were larger and shaped differently from a dog’s. Yang knew he had to do something and took it out of the woods to a friend he had in the city.
The animal was thoroughly examined, and Yang was given the surprise of a lifetime. After being checked by a professional, Yang learned that his “puppy” was actually a bear cub.
After telling the family, Yang faced a difficult decision. His kids had grown attached to the bear. Raising it had brought the family much joy, and it felt like a real pet in every other way.
Now that Yang knew it was actually a dangerous animal that would grow much larger, he had no idea what to do. After giving it much thought, Yang finally understood what he had to do.
The Yang family had never allowed any developments around them to faze them before. If anyone was equipped to have such an unusual pet, it was this family.
Yang’s kids were thrilled when he decided to keep it. Constructing a makeshift cage for the animal, the family made a remarkable choice to keep the bear for a while. However, Yang’s friend explained that this could only be a temporary arrangement.
As the cub was identified as an Asian black bear, Yang was informed that it was a protected species. Yang’s friend managed to arrange a forever home for the fortunate animal. After raising the bear for a long time, Yang and his family finally gave it up.
It had grown quite large by then but loved the family as any other pet would. The bear was eventually moved to an animal sanctuary. Meanwhile, Yang and his family were commended for rescuing and caring for it all that time. Disclaimer: To protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.