Caring dachshund adopts kittens
Duchess the dachshund was busy washing down her new baby Tuesday inside Sheila Hutson's western Ouachita Parish home. However, this baby wasn't much of a barker. It meowed instead.
For the third time in under a year Duchess has adopted a litter of abandoned kittens.
Duchess' recent litter of kittens was brought to her after Hutson's daughter's cat was killed by a motorist, leaving four little felines in need of a mother.
When her daughter, Katie, brought the kittens to Duchess, she immediately began licking them. By the next morning she was producing milk for the babies.
"Those cats are now gone. We gave them away to people two weeks ago, but now my sister's daughter found another kitten abandoned out at some rental property. It's been with Duchess now for two and a half weeks," Hutson said.
Duchess adopted her first litter of kittens last year.
"We took a cruise last year and Katie kept Duchess for us while we were gone. Her cat that got killed had her first litter of kittens. When we got back she said Duchess had nearly drove her crazy because she kept stealing the kittens from Kitty and putting them in her bed," Hutson said.
Duchess is about 7 years old. The Hutsons rescued her from a kennel. When they found Duchess, she was barely hanging on to life.
"They had bred her till she was almost dead. We've had her almost four years now, and we haven't let her have pups because of what she's been through," Hutson said.
But Duchess has shown her owners she wants to be a mother more than anything.
The Hutsons' cat recently had a litter of kittens, and she has to frequently hide her kittens from Duchess who will sneak out, pick them up and bring them back to her bed to nurture.
"Now she keeps trying to take our cat's kittens," Hutson said.
While not unusual, several local veterinarians said it's rare for a dog to adopt another species as its own.
Ouachita Pet Clinic's Dr. Joel Young said, "It's pretty rare, but it does happen."
Dr. Rick Lefebvre of Lefebvre Veterinary Hospital in Monroe said, "Dogs have been known to adopt orphaned animals of a different species. You see dogs on the Internet nursing a tiger cub or even a squirrel. It's a bit unusual, but not totally unusual," Lefebvre said.
Hutson's friends can't believe Duchess produced milk for her adopted kittens. Hutson said that's just nature and a motherly instinct at work.
"I'm a nurse, and I've taught breast feeding for 20 something years. Everyone kept saying she couldn't produce milk. Well, yes you can. All a woman has to have is a breast and brain to nurse a baby because the Oxytocin is let down from your brain and it produces the milk. When the baby nurses it stimulates the response, and that's how it happens," Hutson said.
Since Duchess has proven she wants to be a mother, the Hutsons have decided to let her have her own pups before she gets too old.
Hutson recently gave one of Duchess' kittens to a friend who also has a dog. She told Hutson the kitten now thinks her dog is its mother.
"It just wants to stay right up beside that dog," Hutson said. "Well all it's known all of its life was Duchess. She's just a great mother."
Source: The News Star