A very happy — and very furry — birthday party took place in Beckwith Park on Saturday. The party served as a one-year reunion and birthday celebration for 11 coonhound puppies and their mom, Bella. The puppies — born on July 18, 2018 — were all adopted from the Victoria branch of the BC SPCA last year and this was their first time reuniting as a family.
Not all the pups were able to make it, but six had RSVP’d and their mom was slated to make an appearance too.
Auggie and Rocky were the first to arrive and they greeted each other calmly and then ran off to play, said Heather Rocheleau. She and her husband, Rod, fostered all 12 of the dogs last year before they were adopted. Auggie is their foster fail who they just couldn’t part with once the puppies were ready to find their forever homes. They wanted to adopt two of the puppies but the BC SPCA advised against it as it’s harder to get multiple dogs to bond with their new family at the same time.
They had been thinking about getting a Newfoundland puppy when they saw an ad on Facebook that said the BC SPCA was looking for a foster family for 12 dogs.
“We said, ‘Sure, why not?’” said Rod.
The first three weeks were fairly easy, they said, because Bella did most of the work. The Rocheleaus did help by hand-feeding the puppies as Bella only had seven teats — not enough for all 11 pups — and hosted cuddle parties with friends to give all the pups some love.
However, once Bella weaned her babies, they began to get very vocal and they developed different personalities, said Heather. The pound even showed up a few times following calls from neighbours wondering what was going on.
“It was loud, stinky and fun,” she said with a laugh.
All the dogs were adopted quickly. The BC SPCA had vetted several families and the Facebook fan page that the Rocheleaus started helped spread the word about the rest of puppies and their mom.
Sarah Black from the BC SPCA said that they love getting updates of the animals that get adopted and enjoy being invited to litter reunions.
She’s happy to see all the dogs doing so well with their loving families. All the dogs settled in well and none ended up back at the BC SPCA, she pointed out.
“Coonhounds are special and need special families,” she said. “To be able to adopt out all 11 puppies and their mom is amazing.”
The reunion was a success. The dogs ran around together and the family chatted and shared funny stories. Balls were thrown, treats were eaten and hot dogs were stolen.