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News / Life / Clark County Life

Humane Society for Southwest Washington steps in to help after stray Labrador gives birth to 11 puppies

By Chrissy Booker, Columbian staff writer
Published: December 25, 2023, 3:29pm
4 Photos
Sadie&rsquo;s puppies resting together at the Humane Society for Southwest Washington.
Sadie’s puppies resting together at the Humane Society for Southwest Washington. (Photo contributed by the Humane Society for Southwest Washington) Photo Gallery

In late November, a Vancouver family stumbled upon Sadie, a 3-year-old pregnant stray dog, rummaging through trash in their neighborhood. Initially, the family intended to nurse her back to health, but when Sadie, a Labrador mix, gave birth to 11 puppies around Thanksgiving, they realized they didn’t have the space for the newborns.

The family contacted the Humane Society for Southwest Washington for help, and the nonprofit reached out to the community asking if anyone would take in Sadie and her puppies.

That’s when Humane Society volunteer, Maria Champoux of Battle Ground, stepped in to help.

Champoux saw a social media post about Sadie and her new puppies and decided to take them in until the puppies are ready to receive their final vaccinations.

“Sadie did most of the work nursing the puppies in the first few weeks,” Champoux said. “Now, she’s tired, and I’m picking up more work.”

When Sadie and her puppies arrived at the local Humane Society, they received baths and routine checkups. The puppies have to wait about six to eight weeks until they can get their final vaccines, and then they’ll be ready to be spayed or neutered.

After that, Sadie and her puppies will find foster homes or permanent homes, said Sam Ellingson, the shelter’s director of communications and marketing.

When puppies are first born, it’s important the litter stays with the mother for the first couple of weeks, Ellingson said.

“Whenever we can keep a large litter in a more controlled environment, it’s so much better for their health outcomes just because they’re going to be less exposed to things like the cold,” he said.

Champoux, who has a dog of her own named Cooper, was touched by the similarities between her dog and Sadie. Cooper was rescued along with his three sisters after being abandoned in some bushes shortly after birth.

“That person took the time to take them all in and bring them into a vet hospital, which my sister worked at,” Champoux said. “It was so important to us that they all stayed together. We were really enriched by that process and by loving them.”

Sadie’s puppies will be up for adoption within the next month, once they receive all the necessary vaccinations, Ellingson said.

“We’re here to make sure that these puppies are happy and healthy,” he said. “And that they make some families really happy.”

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This story was made possible by Community Funded Journalism, a project from The Columbian and the Local Media Foundation. Top donors include the Ed and Dollie Lynch Fund, Patricia, David and Jacob Nierenberg, Connie and Lee Kearney, Steve and Jan Oliva, The Cowlitz Tribal Foundation and the Mason E. Nolan Charitable Fund. The Columbian controls all content. For more information, visit columbian.com/cfj.