Aww of the Week: Shih Tzu Saves a Kitten, Nurses Her Until Help Arrives
Last week, animal control officer Michelle Smith of Anderson, SC, got a call about a dog in a ravine behind a Home Depot. She figured it was a local dog who got stuck -- she's seen that before. She followed the dog's bark through some heavy foliage and down steep embankment. Then her jaw dropped. A little Shih Tzu was curled up in some bushes, but she wasn't alone.
She had a little kitten with her. And the kitten was suckling milk from the dog.
"I didn’t know what to think," she told 10 News. "I was shocked and surprised and then of course, awww."
Smith collected her precious cargo, amazed at what she'd found, amazed at what the dog had done to save the kitten.
"I think it would have been okay for the dog to walk down the hill," she told Fox Carolina. "But it just didn't want to leave the kitten"
Yep, the dog had been barking to alert someone to their location. And once they were safe at the shelter, the Shih Tzu's mothering behavior didn't stop. If anything, it intensified. The pair eat together, nap together, stare into each other's eyes. When the kitten strays to the edge of the opened cage, mama picks her up by the nape of her neck and tucks her back into bed.
And the dog is producing milk. She's going through a pseudo-pregnancy, doing all she can to take care of her little kitty.
"She’s producing some, but not all that (the kitten) will need nutrition-wise," said Jessica Cwynar, director of the shelter. Staff members have been supplementing her diet.
Adding to the bizarre mystery of the whole thing is the dog's condition: freshly groomed, with clean fur and a collar. She's someone's pet -- a pet whose duty to a wayward kitten superseded that of her duty to her owner. This is a pretty amazing pet.
As for the animal control officer who saved the pair, the little dog made a huge impact in a sometimes trying profession.
"Good things happen all the time, but 'great' happens seldom," Smith said. "This is enough to keep me going the next six or eight months.
"This is one example of why I love my job."
The animals are now at Anderson County P.A.W.S., and the group will hold them for 14 days, waiting for the owner of the dog to come forward -- and hoping that person will adopt the kitten when collecting the dog.
If no owner comes forth, don't worry: Plenty of people are lining up to take them home.
"We have inquiries coming in from across America," Anderson County P.A.W.S. wrote on its Facebook page. "When they are available to be adopted, we will be carefully selecting their new family.