Lake and Sumter Style Magazine
5:35 pm EDT
Tuesday, June 28, 2022

My First Time: Anne Rowe

Sorrento breeder will never forget night she delivered 14 puppies.

Photos: Nicole Hamel

My first litter of golden retriever puppies was the largest litter I have ever had. 

The mom, Katie, whom I’d bred, was 2-3 years old. I knew she was getting close by the way she was shredding the newspapers in her whelping box. I called my friend to come over (it was midnight) and for the next nine hours we delivered 14 puppies. 

Each time one would arrive, I felt excited; I wanted all of them to be born and I kept telling the mom to push. I was very proud of her; she worked really hard.

Unfortunately, three were born dead and two more I was able to resuscitate. It was a very hectic night to say the least! 

Golden retrievers are known for being good moms, but it only takes a few seconds for her to lay on a pup and suffocate it, so I had to keep watching for that whenever she’d get in the box because with 11 puppies, it was hard for her to find a place to lay down without squishing a pup. 

Besides that, the puppies had to be bottle fed because mom didn’t have enough milk. Every two hours I would bottle feed half the pups and she would nurse the others and then we would switch.

My goal was to keep eleven puppies alive for the next eight weeks until they left for their new home.

By five weeks they had been moved to a big play pen and were starting to interact with each other. They had also been introduced to puppy food and like most puppies that age, were pooping as much as they were eating!

The next stage of a new litter is sending puppies to their new home and that is bittersweet; you have loved, cared for, cleaned up after and lost hours of sleep to get to this point. But I knew the owners I had picked would give these pups a great home, so it made it easier to let them go.

I did keep a little girl from that first litter, Abby, whom I had for 13 years. 

Today, delivering puppies is still done the same way. It is always a nerve-racking experience but very rewarding.

In about 35 years doing this I have probably delivered over 40 litters counting mine and other folks I have helped. 

Behind the scenes: Sometimes photo subjects need a little treat to smile for the camera.

About the Author

Originally from Nogales, Arizona, Roxanne worked in the customer service industry while writing independently for years. After moving to Florida in 1999, Roxanne eventually switched her career path to focus more on writing and went on to become an award-winning reporter for The Daily Commercial/South Lake Press newspapers for 16 years prior to coming on board with Akers Media as a staff writer in July 2020 – her dream job come true. Today, Roxanne and her husband Keith of more than 20 years, live in Clermont. They have three grown children: Megan, Darius and Julissa and two dogs, Cinnamon and Remi Lulu. Roxanne says her favorite things about writing articles is talking with the people she'll be featuring, listening to their stories and learning about their passions, goals and heart. Overall, Roxanne is grateful for all the opportunities she's been given to personally witness and realize how much of a difference people can make and how every voice, big and small, really matters. In her spare time and besides writing, Roxanne enjoys spending time with her family, listening to music (especially on vinyl), Zumba, taking pictures, reading, watching movies, cooking with Julissa, and reality TV competition shows. As for her bucket list, Roxanne hopes to one day be a published author of children’s books and travel the world chasing sunsets.