Bertie the Labrador became an unlikely father figure after his owner brought home seven orphaned kittens.
The rescue pup was given a forever home by head nurse Rachel, so when she was fostering the tiny bundles, he took the chance to help them just like he’d been.
Discovered at the side of the road, the kittens were brought to Battersea by a member of the public when they were around two weeks old.
Found without a mum, they were unable to fend for themselves so after the Battersea team checked them over and said they were very hungry but otherwise healthy, Rachel offered to take the litter home and act as a foster carer until they were a little older.
One-year-old Bertie was already on hand to help the kittens get stronger.
Rachel said: ‘As a former Battersea resident himself, there’s something particularly touching about seeing a rescue pet now helping to rescue other animals in need.
‘I’m incredibly proud of Bertie for the way he has cared for the kittens over the last few weeks. At less than two years old, he’s barely an adult himself, but you wouldn’t think it when you see how incredibly patient and nurturing he has been.
‘These kittens have certainly been a handful, from the early days when they needed bottle feeding round the clock, to when they first discovered the joys of climbing. Not only has Bertie helped the kittens become confident, sociable little cats, he’s also kept me entertained.’
Usually kittens spend eight weeks with their mum as she feeds them and teaches them survival skills.
When motherless kittens are brought to Battersea, foster carers like Rachel are found to regularly bottle feed them and help with toileting.
Once these seven were big enough, they were taken to one of the charity’s catteries and have now all found homes.
Rachel added: ‘Hand rearing kittens is such a wonderfully rewarding experience, you get to help them grow from tiny defenceless babies into unique characters ready for a loving home.
‘I was sad to see them go, but I can take comfort in knowing that Bertie and I helped give them the best start in life. I suspect Bertie may also have been enjoying the peace and quiet once his young charges had gone, he’d certainly earned it!’
You can find out more about other cats still looking for a home on the Battersea website.
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