Kingman High's Buckelew finds herself 'drowning in puppies'
Esther's brief escape leads to a litter of 10
KINGMAN - Dorothy Buckelew never fancied herself a dog person until a friend gave her a white Labrador-shar pei mix in November. Her name is Esther.
Buckelew, who teaches at Kingman High, planned to get Esther spayed but put it off because of her busy schedule, and then Esther went into heat.
"I thought my fenced yard was a compound," she said.
But it wasn't.
A neighbor's dog found a way into her yard and showed Esther how to crawl under the fence to get out, Buckelew said.
She found Esther a mile away from the house with her new boyfriend and soon realized the dog was pregnant.
Esther may be a biblical name, but the dog's actions were not biblical at all, Buckelew joked.
She figured Esther would have four or five puppies, but she ended up giving birth to a litter of 10.
"I'm drowning in puppies," she said.
Two of the puppies have been adopted, and although she plans to keep two, which she already named Einstein and Bear, she can be sweet-talked out of all eight.
The father is a Labrador-pit bull mix, and the puppies are absolutely beautiful and fluffy, Buckelew said.
There are two females - both black - and the rest are males, who are mostly brown.
Once Esther quits lactating, Buckelew will get her spayed.
As of Friday, the puppies are five weeks old and will need their vaccinations soon, she said.
"There is nothing more important than spaying and neutering your pets other than getting them vaccinated," said Western Arizona Humane Society shelter operations manager Erin Kenyon. "Mohave County has a horrific problem with (parvovirus) and distemper."
In 2009 and 2010, 12,866 animals - mostly dogs and cats - were admitted to WAHS. Of those, 2,048 were adopted.
WAHS offers the Spay and Neuter Incentive Program, which gives affordable options to pet owners who meet income guidelines. In 2010, WAHS spayed or neutered nearly 560 animals as part of the SNIP program.
Other animal shelters and hospitals offer similar programs all over Mohave County. All it takes is a little research to find them.
As for Buckelew's unexpected litter of puppies, anyone interested in adopting one can call (928) 263-0074.
"God made me a dog person with these blessings," Buckelew said. "Even though I was kicking and screaming the whole way."