Offbeat Video

By Kim Reader


This is the adorable moment a baby girl disappears under a stampede of PUPPIES.

In the delightful footage, gorgeous giggling tot Lucy Raper becomes the centre of a puppy pile on as seven tiny pooches try to steal her biscuit.

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Mum-of-four Natalie Raper, 34, said her 16-month-old daughter was in her element as she was gently bowled over by the beautiful pups.

Lucy loves nothing more than spending time playing with the six-week old Dogue de Bordeaux puppies and crawls into their pen as soon as she comes downstairs in the morning.

And the toddler’s mum Natalie, who shows and breeds Dogue de Bordeauxs, says she has to bribe Lucy with toys and treats to get her out of the puppy pen.

Natalie, of Hartlepool, Co Durham, said: “I’m so glad we managed to get the video, it was so funny. All the puppies just piled on top of Lucy and knocked her back so she disappeared underneath them.

“It was a proper puppy pile on and Lucy was in her absolute element. She loves the puppies, she is never happier than when she is with them.

“The first thing she does when she comes downstairs in the morning is go into the dining room and climb into the puppy pen.

“She is always in there playing and having cuddles. Now the pups have got their little teeth coming in they like to hang off her babygrow.

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“Lucy adores them so much, it’s a struggle to get her out of the pen. I have to bribe her to get her out of there.

“And she is so good with them. She never pulls their tails or ears like you would expect a baby too.

“Because she was grown up around the dogs and the pups she really respects animals at such a young age, it’s brilliant.

“One of the main things you have to work on when you’re raising a litter of puppies is to make sure they’re well socialised and with Lucy on the job that box is definitely ticked.”

After falling in love with the breed when she watched Turner & Hooch as a child, Natalie got her first Dogue de Bordeaux eight years ago.

Not content with just one Natalie, her hubby Neil Raper, 37, and kids Jordan Harrisskitt, 17, Luke Raper, 13, Joel Raper, 10, and little Lucy now have three of the ‘gentle giants’.

Grand-dogs Rock, five, and Missy, seven, and mum to the latest litter Piper, five, share the Raper’s family home with four-month-old bulldog puppy Ethel.

As the breed is fairly rare, Natalie started attending dog shows to socialise her pooches with other Dogue de Bordeauxs and realised how much she would enjoy getting involved.

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Five litters later, Natalie said seeing the puppies leave to their new homes is still sad but that knowing they joy they bring other families makes all the hard work of rearing them worthwhile.

Natalie said: “I have always wanted a Dogue de Bordeuax, ever since I was little and I watched Turner & Hooch. They are such beautiful dogs.

“And they are absolutely fantastic with the kids, they are real gentle giants.

“After going to a couple of shows to meet other dogues, I liked the look of it and thought I would enjoy it. I have just taken it from there and now we’ve been to Crufts and everything.

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“It is brilliant having the dogs and the puppies around. All the kids have learnt so much about respecting animals and about the responsibility involved.

“It is really hard work and takes a lot of dedication raising the pups. It starts from during the pregnancy with the worry and then the birth can be traumatic.

“With the latest littler, Piper was in labour for quite a while and one of the pups wasn’t breathing when she was born so I gave her mouth-to-mouth. Neil said he’d never kiss me again.

“I was a bit unsure what it was going to be like having my own baby to look after while raising these pups but it has been lovely seeing them grow together.

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“Luckily Lucy was really good at sleeping through the night so it was just the puppies I was waking up for. I always help the mums with the feeds.

“I think Lucy is really going to miss the puppies when they go to their new homes. It is definitely sad and we’ll all miss them but it is bittersweet.

“I always tell people when they buy a pup that they have to stay in touch and they do.

“To see those updates and seeing how much joy the puppies bring to other families makes it worth it – it’s like they’re all still a part of our lives.”