Ten squirming balls of fur, distinguishable only by their coloring, cuddled close together on the padded floor of Performing Arts teacher Michele Spears’s apartment.
Towards the end of April, Spears’s boyfriend Dave Bushnell, long interested in “bringing home a special buddy,” was heading towards a pet adoption event when he spotted a small, white dog making its way across a parking lot by a busy intersection.
Bushnell parked on a side street and carefully approached the female stray. Only minutes later, the dog was settled comfortably in the backseat of Bushnell’s car.
After a week of posting signs and notices with no call-backs or purported ownership, Bushnell decided to keep the well-trained dog and named her “Lulu.”
Spears went out of town, but when she returned home, she noticed that Lulu seemed unnaturally round. A veterinarian confirmed that Lulu was pregnant with four or five pups due in about three weeks. On the next visit, the number of potential pups had risen to seven. On June 22, Lulu ended up having 10.
With her knowledgeable aunt set on speed dial, Spears began gathering information on raising newborn pups.
Spears and Bushnell rotated feeding sessions with Lulu and giving supplementary bottle feedings.
“It was constant work, and our summer was devoted to puppy care,” Spears said.
After two weeks, when the pups had opened their eyes and started exploring their cardboard, makeshift homes, “Dave turned our dining room into puppy land,” Spears said. “He built a pen, where the pups could sleep and play, and Lulu could also get in and out when she needed to feed them.”
Spears gave the puppies temporary names in order keep track of their weights and development. The first six were named based on fur color and the remaining four had names ranging from “Travel Blogger” to “I Ching.”
Bushnell set up a blog, posting information every week on the puppies’ physical growth and also pictures and videos featuring their development, play, and interactions.
After about four weeks, the pups, sufficiently grown, were taken in by good friends of Spears and Bushnell, and two were adopted by Performing Arts teachers Lisa Peters and Rees Pugh.
“I will never forget the first time she curled up on my lap and fell asleep,” Peters said, who named her adopted pup “Ginger.”
“We’re hoping for constant updates and reunions,” Spears said. “We have become incredibly attached to all of them and the different personalities they developed. There has been nothing better than getting on the floor for a 10-puppy pile-up.”