Limerick women's ‘tail’ of 16 puppies goes global!

Nick Rabbitts


Nick Rabbitts


Limerick women's ‘tail’ of 16 puppies goes global!

The birth of 16 puppies in Crecora has made headlines across the world PICTURE: Brendan Gleeson

MARY Killing could not have imagined she’d be taking calls from as far afield as Scotland and Ontario in Canada when she told her story to the Leader.

But that’s exactly what happened after news of her heartwarming arrival of a litter of 16 puppies at her home in Crecora was reported by this newspaper.

The Killing clan had planned a trip to the vet to give their puppies the snip – Covid-19 saw the neutering appointment chopped.

It meant Archie, an Irish-setter/English springer-spaniel and Bella, a labrador/border collie produced a brood of 16 puppies.

While one baby dog sadly died, the incredible birth equals the second largest number of puppies in a single delivery – and is understood to be the largest in Ireland.

After the Limerick Leader carried photographer Brendan Gleeson’s fabulous images on its front page in our edition of September 5, the story gained legs!

Newspapers across Ireland, then Britain and further afield cottoned onto the story, and carried the pictures, with Bella’s litter of puppies appearing in a huge number of publications  – from Hello magazine to the Times of London! British tabloid staples, the Daily Mirror, the Daily Star, the Daily Mirror and the Metro freesheet published the story.

Even a Dutch news web site has carried a literal translation of the Limerick Leader’s feel-good story on Archie and Bella! Good Morning Britain, the flagship ITV breakfast show​ fronted by Piers Morgan even sought to use a video. Mary, who works in the president’s office at the University of Limerick, has fielded calls from all over the world from people looking to own a critter.

“It just shows the power of a good story,” Mary said this week, “I had a letter from a lovely man in Scotland, I had a lovely letter from someone in Galway. It’s mostly messages, people wanting a pup. They do their research, they see I am a University of Limerick employee, and they see me there!”

One communication, from a man in Scotland, reached Mary’s doorstep. All he had written on the envelope was: ‘Mary Killing – the lady with the 16 puppies, Crecora, Limerick, Ireland’.

Despite Crecora being home to around 400 people vastly spread out, the message reached her safe and sound.

The Limerick Leader has also fielded a number of calls from people interested in adopting a dog – including from a doctor in Leeds, England.

But, sadly, all of Archie and Bella’s dogs have been spoken for, with the final one of the litter – minus Archie, who will stay in the Killing household – heading off to Wales last weekend. One of the dog's new owners came over on the ferry to collect their bundle of joy.

Mary – who says she’s been “mortified” by all the attention – says she cried buckets when the litter left home. But their new owners have been sending her pictures of their new surrounds, where they are being treated like little kings and queens!