Starr is the most incredible example of how a mother's love can overcome anything. A lost Lurcher roaming the streets as a stray, Starr was heavily pregnant, yet very thin, and only one year old. She was taken to Medivet in Brockham, Surrey, where x-rays revealed she was carrying five little puppies, due in just five to 10 days time!
Celia Cross Greyhound Trust in nearby Guildford stepped up to look after Starr in her time of need; the charity's kennel manager Jane Thompson is a former veterinary nurse, so ideal to play role of midwife when the time came!
Starr needed feeding up, and fast. At just 19kg, she was put on a special diet designed to build her up slowly, and was kept warm, cosy and quiet. In just six days, the mother-to-be put on over four kilograms.
By day nine - 17 March - in the care of Celia Cross, Starr began to pace and fidget, suggesting puppies were imminent. Jane had started to sleep in Starr's kennel to provide round-the-clock monitoring - although nothing could prepare her for what happened next.
Starr had an exhausting labour for any mother dog - let alone one who was already in a weakened state, living in a new environment, and a first-timer. Her first puppy - a little black girl - arrived quickly, but the next three were all in breech, taking hours to arrive and exhausting Starr. Thankfully all of them - a brindle boy, a blue girl, and a blue and white girl - survived the ordeal.
Starr's last pup - a blue and white boy - finally arrived safe and sound at 10.50pm, over five hours after the first one!
Jane told us, “We are so pleased that Starr came to us to safely deliver her puppies here – had she still been alone, there would have been tragic consequences.”
The family are being called Starr and the Starlets, and are doing very well so far. Starr is producing more milk, and its hoped that she'll be able to feed her babies full-time very soon, although volunteers are chipping in with formula.
Jane told us, "We believe Starr is a Lurcher and it’s far too early to tell who the Starlets' daddy might have been. We will not accept enquiries from anyone registering interest in adopting the Starlets until they are at least one month old, and they will not leave us until they are at least 10 weeks old. So this new family of six join our other 25 dogs at Sun Valley Kennels for the foreseeable future!"
If you would like to make a donation to help care for brave Starr and her puppies, please visit www.celiacross.co.uk/support-us. Better yet, come along to Celia Cross's Spring Open Day on Saturday 25 March, between 12pm and 4pm.
Jane told us, "You can meet staff and volunteers and see our dogs in their newly refurbished kennels. To avoid undue stress you will not be able to view Starr, her pups and a couple of anxious dogs, but we have many gorgeous greyhounds and lovely lurchers for you to meet. There will be refreshments and plenty of things to buy for you and your dogs. Parking is free, all dogs on leads are welcome and admission is a tin of pilchards in tomato sauce – a tasty addition to our dogs’ dinner!"
Find out more here: www.celiacross.co.uk/events
Images courtesy of Celia Cross Greyhound Trust