A Rhodesian Ridgeback from Germany is capturing headlines and hearts after giving birth to a litter of seventeen puppies. Given that the birthing took 26 hours, no cesarean section was required, and the fact that the typical Ridgeback litter is 6-8, it’s no wonder Etana and her puppies have become an overnight media sensation.
Owner Ramona Wegemann had to take a break from her job to care for the puppies. Her husband also maxed out his vacation time so the couple could stay home and bottle feed – necessary because no mother could adequately feed and nourish such a large litter. Wegemann said that for four weeks, she only grabbed a few minutes of sleep each night in order to keep up with caring for the puppies. She said when she was “finished feeding the last puppy, the first was hungry again.” Litters of this size almost always suffer attrition, but remarkably, all of Etana’s puppies are robust and healthy.
Wegemann admits that she struggles to recognize them: the females puppies are named Bahati, Binta, Bahya, Bashima, Batouuli, Binki, Bora, Bisa and the male ones are Baakir, Banjoku, Belay, Bruk, Bundu, Bayo, Bukekayo, Biton and Bulus. The names were selected as a nod to the lineage of Rhodesian Ridgebacks – bred to hunt Lions and other big game in South Africa.