Surrogate PitBull Gives Foster Kittens Lots of Mama Love

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Ronda Layne said she saw a pit bull at a shelter and was told the dog was good with all people and all animals. Layne said that sounded like a fabulous dog, and when she went to her local Humane Society in 2006, she knew Zuca was different. Zuca didn’t jump around and bark incessantly, Layne said. Instead, she sat quietly and barely moved.

Last week I had the great honor of being interviewed by People Magazine (online version) for a story about my wonderful dog, Zuca. If you haven’t read the story yet, there’s a link in my bio. This video demonstrates what I talk about in the story, and what makes Zuca so magical. This was taken about 5 minuets after meeting this group of kittens (Tikal, Tulum, Coba, and Itza). They had been quarantined in my bathroom for a few days, so had been smelling her, and had seen her through the puppy gate the day before, but this was their first actual interaction. I’ve never trained her to do this or even asked anything from her. She’s laying there by choice. Obviously, the kittens are also doing exactly what they want to do. 😉 #bestdogever #thedodo #newfriends

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Layne had cats in her home at the time, so she took Zuca into the cat area of the shelter to see how she’d fare. Zuca’s tail immediately began to wag and she tried to make instant friends. Layne said that’s when she knew she was the dog for her.

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Once Zuca was home, she fell in love with one of Layne’s two cats, Stout. Layne says that for the next seven years of Stout’s life, they were always side by side–sharing food with each other and walking together. Layne said that when Stout came down with kidney disease and had to be put down, Zuca was so fiercely protective of her buddy, she guarded her against the veterinarian. Layne said that Zuca fell into quite a depression when stout died in 2013.

So Layne decided she’d bring some kittens she volunteered to foster for back home and see how Zuca interacted. Once she brought “Monkey” in, Layne said that Zuca instantly perked up and the two became thick as thieves. Layne said that Monkey tried to nurse on Zuca, to no avail of course, and that they were instant friends who curled up together whenever they could.

Previous foster Coba never did learn where the nipple was on a dog. 😳 #itsnotthere

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That foster situation went so well that Layne said she figured she could volunteer to foster more, including an entire litter that Zuca also helps ‘rear,’ while they are getting ready for their forever homes. Layne says that in the last four years, they’ve worked together to help foster nearly 100 cats and that Zuca could not be a better surrogate mama for the kittens.

Layne says that she seems to be able to read each kitten like a book, and the interactions between the kittens and Zuca are priceless. She and her husband Patrick believe it is because Zuca spent several months in a crate at a shelter that she can relate to these orphans, and show them how life can be. Even at 12-years-old and with a bionic knee, Zuca allows the kittens to jump all over, bite and scratch and basically do whatever it is that kittens feel they need to do to learn and grow.

Related: Common Health Issues in Kittens

And the payoff? According to Layne, aside from the obvious joy and contentment, the kittens bring Zuca, she loves to clean the kitties after they’ve eaten. Ever the dog, she recognizes when little ones spill milk and food all over themselves, and she’s quite happy to give them ‘baths’ to clean it all up!

The collective, “Awwwwwww….” may commence!