It's a dog's life! Mother of huge litter of ten Labradors holds down job as guide for blind people
Every working mother knows how hard it is to get the balance right between her family and a successful career.
But this remarkable Labrador, named Tess, has just given birth to a litter of 10 pups that will eventually follow in her footsteps as guide-dogs.
The first-time-mother left her home in Kings Heath, Birmingham, where she lives with her visually impaired owner to give birth to her new family.
Karen Henry, who acted as midwife for the five hour delivery, is a 'brood bitch holder' for the Guide Dogs charity.
The organisation provides a safe and suitable environments for the birth of guide-dog pups through a network of volunteers.
Housewife Karen, 34, from Moseley in Birmingham, said: 'The adrenalin rush is fantastic. It’s incredible to witness, especially for the children.
'At first you see the puppies fighting to emerge and then they’re born within seconds. We had to be in the room with her the whole time.'
Karen, a mother-of-four, had been trained by the charity for the big day. Experts made sure she was ready to deliver her first litter.
It was a ‘magical moment’, said Karen. Her daughters Megan, 11, Jessica, nine, Alice, six, and four-year-old Lauren were present at the birth.
'Tess was so relaxed,' she said. 'Although she was giving birth to ten puppies, she didn’t appear to be in pain - it was quite magical to see. That was my only concern - feeling helpless if she was in pain.
'It was heart-warming watching her enjoy her puppies in the first hours and days. She barely left them. When she did it was only to go to the toilet and she would be straight back to them.
'The look of pride on her face was lovely. It reminded me of my first days with my own babies.'
Karen and her family got to choose the puppies names from a 80-strong list provided by Guide Dogs.
More volunteers are needed to look after guide dogs due to have pups. Most puppies are born in volunteers’ homes, which need to be no more than an hour’s drive or 50 miles from the National Breeding Centre, in Royal Leamington Spa.
‘Brood bitch holders’ need to get pups as used to as many different sounds, smells and textures as possible before they move on to their early guide dog training when they are six weeks old.
Source: Daily Mail