I’ve written several posts about dogs that have adopted a variety of helpless baby animals, including a human baby. One of the most unusual adoptions happened several years ago at a zoo in Belgrade, Yugoslavia.
A mother tiger gave birth to three cubs. Whether because of post partum stress caused by captivity or a serious case of the munchies, she tried to eat her babies. Zookeepers quickly stepped in and rescued the cubs, but now what to do with them.
Enter Rea. When the police heard the story, they sent Rea, a police dog that had recently had a litter of puppies, to take over the mothering duties. Rea stepped in and took her new responsibilities quite seriously.
The tiger cubs didn’t grow up to follow their surrogate mother into police work, but the story reminds me of a time when I was a child and our mother cat got run over while she was off on a rodent hunting expedition. My family took over the huge responsibility of raising the three kittens on bottles and keeping them clean. It required all of us working many hours to do what the mother cat does so effortlessly.
Although our family dog, Mickey, did not like cats, she wasn’t sure what these little creatures were since they smelled like humans and shampoo. She nuzzled them and played with them. When they started walking around, they followed her everywhere. The dog became the role model for the kittens.
They were the only cats I’ve ever been around that would come to us every time we called them by name and always performed a doggie dance of joy when any member of our family came home.