AT&T technician David Baxter was out on a call in a remote part of Southern California last year when he found a severely malnourished dog bound up with twine.
"It was very sad to see a dog in that kind of condition," Baxter says.
The pup was frightened and...
La Boston terrier de Shannon Williams, Memory, solía tenerles miedo a los gatos.
Luego, Memory se convirtió en mamá subrogada de una camada de gatitos, a los que según se informa, comenzó a amantar, a pesar de no haber estado embarazada.
De acuerdo con la descripción de un video de YouTube en donde Memory alimenta a los gatitos, los pequeños fueron hallados afuera, fríos y mojados, cuando tenían alrededor de una semana de edad.
Y de inmediato, dice Williams, Memory, de 5 años, comenzó a acurrucarse con los pequeñines y a alimentarlos –dos niños y dos niñas, llamados Don Mickey, Luke, Whiskers y Mittens.
"Ha sido muy protectora desde el día uno", le dijo Williams a The Huffington Post. "En el segundo día que los tuvimos, mi hija tenía a uno de los gatitos en sus manos. Y mi perra Memory se lo quitó de las manos y lo cargó de vuelta a su cama con el resto de los gatitos".
"Los subía al sofá con ella. Si se paraban y empezaban a caminar por el borde del sofá ella se paraba, los tomaba con su hocico y los acostaba junto a ella".
Esto fue adorablemente inesperado por muchas razones, incluyendo que previamente Memory les tenía pavor a los felinos, le dijo Williams a WMBF, afiliado local de NBC en Carolina del Sur.
"Teníamos un gato y ella huía de él", le dijo Williams al medio. "Incluso sus antiguos dueños dijeron que Memory moría de miedo ante los gatos".
Luego las cosas dieron un giro aún más inesperado: Memory comenzó a alimentar a los gatitos huérfanos.
"Ella comenzó a producir leche", dice la descripción del video.
Suena loco, ¿verdad? Pero eso es totalmente posible.
"Existe una condición llamada pseudoembarazo, o embarazo falso", le dijo la Dra. Amy Welker, veterinaria de Union County Humane Society en Marysville, Ohio, a HuffPost.
En las perras, el embarazo falso puede aparecer debido a fluctuaciones hormonales, y los síntomas pueden incluir la producción de leche.
Las perras que atraviesan un embarazo falso también pueden desarrollar un "tipo de comportamiento de anidación", dice Welker, quien explica que los dos meses en los que en teoría Memory alimentó a los gatitos son generalmente tiempo suficiente antes del destete, aunque también puede hacerse antes, si eso es lo mejor para la mamá.
"O perra", dice.
Una vez que comenzaron a comer alimento sólido, Williams dio a tres de los gatitos a hogares locales, en donde los nuevos dueños prometieron mantener a sus nuevos y peludos miembros de la familia dentro de casa, y dijeron que dejarían a Williams y a su hija visitarlos.
Preocupada porque Memory pudiera deprimirse sin sus crías maullando, Williams decidió quedarse con Luke.
"[Memory] sigue actuando como mamá con el que nos quedamos", dice Williams. "Él sigue intentando alimentarse de ella. Ella lo deja durante un minuto y luego comienza a jugar con él".
¿Y cómo fue para Williams ver a su perrita temerosa de los gatos convertida en una mamá de gatitos? Bueno, ésa debe ser la única cosa predecible en toda esta historia.
"Fue maravilloso", dice la mujer.
--Esta nota fue publicada originalmente en inglés por Arin Greenwood en HuffPost Good News. La traducción es de Sonia Ramírez.
Shannon Williams' Boston terrier, Memory, used to be afraid of cats.
Then Memory became a surrogate mom to a klatch of orphaned kittens whom she reportedly began to nurse, despite not having been pregnant.
According to the description on a YouTube video of Memory feeding the kittens, the little ones were found outside, cold and wet, when they were about a week old.
And right away, says Williams, 5-year-old Memory began cuddling and nurturing the wee cats -- two boys and two girls, named Don Mickey, Luke, Whiskers and Mittens.
"She's been very protective from day one," Williams told The Huffington Post. "On the second day that we had them, my daughter had one of the kittens in her hands. And Memory my dog took it out of her hands and carried it back to her dog bed with the other kittens.
"She would carry them up on the couch with her. If they got up and started to walk to the edge of the couch she got up, picked them up with her mouth and laid them down with her."
This was adorably unexpected, Williams said to her local South Carolina NBC affiliate, WMBF, for lots of reasons, including that Memory was previously terrified of felines.
"We had a cat and she ran from it," Williams told the outlet. "Even [Memory's] former owners said Memory was deathly afraid of cats."
Then things took an even more surprising turn: Memory started feeding the orphaned kitties.
"Yes she did start producing milk," reads the video description.
Sounds crazy, right? But such a thing is actually possible.
"There is a condition called pseudopregnancy, or false pregnancy," Dr. Amy Welker, a veterinarian with the Union County Humane Society in Marysville, Ohio, told HuffPost.
In dogs, false pregnancy can come about due to hormonal fluctuations, and symptoms may include milk production.
Dogs going through false pregnancy may also engage in a "kind of nesting behavior," says Welker, who said the two months that Memory reportedly nursed the kittens is generally a sufficient amount of time before weaning, though earlier is also possible, if that's best for the mom.
"Or dog," she says.
Once they were on solid food, Williams gave away three kittens to local homes, where the new owners promised to keep their furry new family members inside, and said they'd let Williams and her daughter visit.
Worried that Memory would get depressed without her mewling brood, Williams decided to keep Luke.
"[Memory] is still acting like a mom to the one that we kept," Williams says. "He still tries to nurse from her. She lets him for a minute and then starts playing with him."
And what was it like for Williams, to find her cat-shy canine become a mommy to kittens? Well, that might be the only predictable thing in this whole tale.
"It was amazing," she says.
Do you know a dog who loves cats? Have another animal story to share? Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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