Take Asia, for example. The Shar Pei-pit bull mix became a first-time mother after giving birth to a puppy last Sunday, KCBD reports. Shortly thereafter, her owner, Shannon Torrez of Lubbock, Texas, took in three abandoned kittens -- and Asia's new maternal instincts kicked into high gear.
"When I got home Asia was kind of throwing a fit that I had the kittens and she wanted to see them," Torrez told KCBD. "I put them up to her and she didn't want me to get them out of her sight."
Asia took over care of the kittens, cleaning them, nursing them, and protecting them from harm. Dr. Lane Preston of Lubbock's Animal Medical Center told KCBD that though she's aware they are not her babies, she'll care for them just as fiercely as she would her own pup.
"They don't smell like dogs, but the urge to mother and nurse is greater than all of those things," he said.
The three-and-a-half-week-old kittens will stay with Asia and Torrez for a month until they've weened. Torrez then plans to find them adoptive homes.
In May of this year, a South Carolina policer officer found a dog protecting a kitten that had gotten trapped in a ravine. After the pair was rescued, they were adopted together so as not to break up their bond.
A month later, a pit bull named Nena adopted six Shih Tzu pups after their mother had been killed in a car accident.