On the lonely plains of Alberta, a single mom was struggling to raise her kids, when one day a needy orphan appeared at her door.
The extraordinary dog couldn’t just leave the tiny kitten out in the cold, so she took him in and made some room in her litter of five pups to ensure the feline’s survival.
But what makes this story even more unusual is that the white Shepherd mix was herself suffering from a grievous injury.
Esperanza, as she’s been named, was discovered on a central Alberta reserve by Criss Gerwing, who runs a small animal rescue group.
The rescuer was amazed when the dog, whose leg had been mangled by a violent encounter with a car, led Gerwing to her nest — and her blended brood.
“I cried because she was in such bad condition with her leg, but she was obviously nursing her puppies and this kitten,” Gerwing said.
Gerwing took the little family to the Edmonton Humane Society, where veterinarians thought they’d have to amputate the mother dog’s critically injured leg.
But Edmonton veterinarian Dr. Milton Ness said Esperanza was a “special soul” and volunteered to do a complex surgery that kept the dog walking on all fours.
Shawna Randolph at the humane society agrees with Dr. Ness’s assessment.
“She is such a sweet, sweet dog. She has such a wonderful personality,” Randoph said.
And today, the tabby kitten with his dapper white shirt and mittens is enjoying the company of his adopted family and his now-healthy “mom.”
“It’s amazing when you think about it. You have this dog who is just so giving of herself, caring for these newborn puppies and the kitten, making sure they were cared for even though she was obviously in a lot of pain.”