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Couple adopts one dog, ends up with 14

David Martin and Tracy Quackenbush Martin call themselves animal lovers, but the Crystal Hill couple went beyond the call of duty recently becoming “grandparents” to 13 puppies, courtesy of a “dumpster dog” they named Penny. 

They discovered Penny on Father’s Day, collar-less, abandoned, infested with ticks, worms, and, by the way, she was also pregnant.

How pregnant they found out in July when Penny, who the couple said appears to be a mix of terrier and lab, gave birth to 13 puppies.

“She was very, very bony and malnourished, but she’s become very responsive and just a sweet dog,” recalled David Martin.

“She was very frightened of people and cowered at the slightest movement.”

Twelve puppies survived, including three males and nine females, and the couple bottle-fed the pups for a time after the first week, two hours, three times a day.

“The vet said to supplement mom after the first week,” explained Quackenbush Martin.

“After four weeks we stopped bottle-feeding them and introduced them to regular food,” she added, a mixture of canned puppy food and cottage cheese, before regular dog food was added.

The couple has become accustomed to having a lot of dogs around, noted Quackenbush Martin, whose dog Chelsea, adopted from an animal shelter, had a litter of nine puppies. One of the puppies, Bear, still lives with the couple along with mom.

One wonders how someone as busy as this couple can afford the time to care for 15 dogs.

David Martin serves as administrative captain for the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office, while Quackenbush Martin is a well-known Halifax attorney.

“It takes a lot of focus, attention and love,” explained Quackenbush Martin, as she and her husband rounded up the group after an early afternoon romp.

“The time demands are enormous,” said Martin, adding, “Tracy coordinates the schedule effectively. The rewards of these guys make it really worth it.  We’re really going to miss them a lot when they’re gone.”

“They want love and attention…and lots of food,” said Quackenbush Martin, who added the mother is extremely young herself.

“She’s a sweet dog, and the vet told us she’s barely a year old,” noted Quackenbush Martin. “We forget that.  It’s funny when we started to get toys for the puppies, she wanted to play with them, too.”

The Martins have found homes for some of the litter but are looking for homes for several more.

“Just call my office at 476-1128 if you’re interested,” she said.