Animals, like people, have an innate desire to protect their young. But when a dog was found protecting a litter of kittens from the cold night air in Ontario, Canada, it gave a whole new meaning to the term "foster mom."
A woman was driving down the road in Ontario the weekend of Nov. 16-17. The night was particularly cold and harsh, but the driver spotted something that made her stop: a dog curled up on the side of the road.
The dog, a female stray, was shivering and clearly very cold. Although she probably could have gotten to a warmer place to spend the night, it quickly dawned on the woman why the dog hadn't done so. Instead of looking for her own bit of warm shelter, she had curled up around five kittens to keep them warm.
Luckily, the woman sprang into action and called Pet and Wildlife Rescue. An animal control officer brought all six furry friends to the shelter.
The people who worked there were amazed and excited to hear about the incredible story of selflessness, because if the dog hadn't stayed to protect the kittens, all five of them surely wouldn't have survived the night. "Our staff sees many difficult situations on a daily basis and stories like this one make every heartache worth it," a representative from the shelter told The Dodo.
It is unknown whether the kittens and the dog knew one another from their previous lives or if this was just a chance meeting that evolved into a heartwarming tale. When the kittens were treated for fleas and worms, their proud foster mother visited and checked up on them regularly.
Eventually, the selfless dog, who was given the name Serenity, was placed up for adoption with a forever family. She is no longer available for adoption on the shelter's website, so it is likely she has found a home.
Although staff at the shelter were concerned a backlash would arise because they put her up for adoption without the kittens, this was a necessary step to get Serenity into a home as soon as possible. According to a statement in Serenity's "voice," it's always a priority for the shelter to place dogs in a permanent home as soon as possible, and the kittens weren't yet ready to leave the shelter.
As Serenity says on the shelter's Facebook page, "At the end of the day I am just happy that the kittens were found with me and are now resting peacefully in a warm foster home instead of outside in the cold."
No matter what, the story of Serenity's selflessness will resonate with the kittens whom she saved, the staff at the shelter and the many people who have read or heard her story.