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Posted on Sep 10, 2015

Shelter pup makes purr-fect mother

They say a mother’s love is blind.
Dedicated mama Louise, who has called the Quincy Animal Shelter home for the past month, is a shining example of the boundaries the maternal instinct can cross.
Louise has taken care of her adopted brood – little Sassy, Zazzles and Mufasa – since the day she was transferred from the Warden shelter to the Quincy shelter. As luck would have it, the energetic but needy trio also came in that same day.
Louise nurses her new babies around the clock, carries them by the scruff of their necks and makes sure no harm comes to them. She puts up with their shenanigans as they nibble her ears and swat at her tail. There’s no doubt Louise calls these babies her own.
Did we mention that Louise is a dog and her adopted babies are kittens?
When shelter manager Rachel Lewis found herself with an engorged female dog as well as three weeks-old kittens, she asked herself if it was possible the four were meant to be together. Lewis knew that barn cats typically nurse whatever kittens are around. But for a mammal to go across species is uncommon, she said.
“It’s amazing,” said Lewis, who documented the furry family’s story on the shelter Facebook page. “We kind of took a shot and it worked out. It worked out for us and it worked out for them.”
Louise, a dachshund mix, is about 3 years old and already has had a few litters of her own, Lewis said. Louise’s previous owner, who was not taking care of the adorable pooch with big sad eyes, chose to turn the dog over to Warden authorities rather than pay a fine, Lewis said. It is not known what happened to Louise’s puppies.
As for the rambunctious kittens, the tiny tabbies were found in town, near a warehouse by the railroad tracks. Their eyes were open when they arrived, so Lewis knows they were at least 3 weeks old.
While shelter staff can bottle feed puppies and kittens, feeding the three kittens would have been a big strain on the small staff, Lewis said. Kittens not only require a feeding every two to three hours, but they also must have their bottoms stimulated several times a day to encourage them to go to the bathroom, she explained. And a shelter volunteer already was fostering six kittens in her home, Lewis added.
That’s where Louise stepped up. Lewis introduced the new family to one another in a crate. The kittens immediately took to the patient Louise, who also started licking the kittens, Lewis said. Staff kept a close eye on the new family for five days. After that, they knew they had something special.
“They are your babies, aren’t they?” Lewis cooed to Louise while petting her.
The makeshift family was separated this week so the kittens could be weaned before they go up for adoption. As for Louise, this is the last litter she will call her own. Louise will be spayed soon and then put up for adoption as well.
“And then we will find her a new home,” Lewis said.


— By Jill FitzSimmons,

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