Roscoe the kitten would almost certainly not be alive today, were it not for Opie the dog. The pup sniffed out the newborn kitten, injured and covered in maggots, and refused to leave his new buddy's side until Opie's dad, James Roode, scooped up the feline and ran him to a veterinarian.
It's been a year since their paths first crossed, and Roscoe is not only doing well, he's now the best of friends with his canine savior.
"James and Opie were taking a walk out in the field behind where we live" in Ontario, Canada, says Roode's partner, Lia Spilka. "They heard a squeak coming from in the bushes. Opie ran toward it, and James followed. That is when James found Opie beside a log, with Roscoe pinned underneath."
Roscoe cried and whined until "James took his shirt off his back -- this was last August -- and carried Roscoe inside with his shirt. He tried to clean him up, and then took him to the ER vet in the city. He called me just before he went, and I told him to get whatever we needed in order to keep this kitten alive," she says.
Despite a grim initial prognosis, the kitten did live. Photos of his thriving, milk-drinking little self went viral after Spilka posted them online about eight months ago. (It's easy to see why -- would you just look at this little one?)
The kitten's now a great, big (neutered) cat, and loves palling around with Opie.
"Both are healthy and happy. Opie is especially enjoying the summer and spends a lot of his time outdoors," says Spilka. "Despite this, it is evident that he doesn't like to be away from Roscoe too long. When he gets back inside, one of the first things he does is check on Roscoe."
Roscoe has "learned some dog-like behaviors from Opie, like running to greet us at the door," she says. The pair "enjoy each other's company very much. They like to play with each other just like brothers do. They love to chase each other and bat at one another. If they don't both decide to play at the same time, one is always instigating the other to play. It is clear they were meant to be brothers."
But Spilka says that seeing these animals fall for each other, while also enjoying the occasional televised sporting event, isn't the only upside to this story.
"The best part about it is spreading awareness about rescuing animals," she says. "Whether you take a stray in and give it a loving home, or adopt from a shelter. It is so important! You never know, your next furry family member might be out there just waiting for loving human parents to come along and save them."
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