Big Dog Meets Tiny Orphaned Kittens And Instantly Adopts Them All
"She is obsessed and won't leave them alone. She wants to keep treating them like they're her babies."
When Kendal Benken saw a post online about three kittens who needed round-the-clock bottle feeding, she offered to help right away.
"The COVID-19 outbreak hit, and I was sheltering at home," Benken told The Dodo. "I was looking for something to do. Who doesn't enjoy cute little kittens? I saw it as a great opportunity."
Jelly's Place animal rescue in San Pablo, California, approved Benken to be the kittens' foster mom. But the moment Benken brought the kittens home, it became clear her 105-pound Lab mix, Truvy, wanted her job.
"It's so funny, when I brought them in she was immediately like, 'Let me at 'em,'" Benken said. "She took to them immediately. They're her babies."
Truvy won't let the kittens out of her sight. She sits next to their carrier, watches their every move and cleans them constantly.
When Benken tries to bottle-feed them, Truvy isn't pleased that someone else is handling "her kittens" and attempts to push her aside.
"When I was trying to get the feedings done I'd have to put her out of the room, she would try to manage me," Benken said. "When I'd let her back in, she would run over, check them, clean them and smell them. She has taken such ownership of them. She takes that role very seriously."
Truvy makes it very clear to Benken's other dogs that the kittens are off-limits. "She tries to keep the other dogs away," Benken said. "She will guard them, stand in front of them and push the other dogs out of the way. If another dog gets their nose in there while she's cleaning the kittens, she will snap at the other dogs. She will give them a stern warning they are hers."
Truvy apparently decided she was sick of Benken and the other dogs interfering with her kittens, so she started hiding them. "She was taking them from the crate and putting them behind the dresser in my bedroom," Benken said. "She is obsessed and won't leave them alone. She wants to keep treating them like they're her babies."
Benken wonders if Truvy is paying it forward, because the 2-year-old dog knows what it's like to be young and in need of a lifeline.
When Truvy was 5 weeks old, she ended up in a shelter in Texas, where Benken lived at the time.
Benken fostered the pup and nursed her back to health after she got parvovirus and was then bitten on the nose by a copperhead snake.
Benken ended up adopting Truvy and is amazed at how loving she’s been to other rescued animals. "She's always been good with the fosters I've brought in. She's extremely patient," Benken said. "I find it interesting she has such a strong motherly instinct [since] she's never had puppies, she was spayed at 6 months old. For whatever reason, she has it. I think it is sweet."
Truvy now has an extraordinary relationship with one of the kittens, Ed. "If I let them, they will snuggle together all day," Benken said.
The three kittens, Ed, Prissy and Louie, will be up for adoption soon.
Benken worries about Truvy's reaction the day the kittens leave for their forever homes, but Benken’s promised her more will come.
"Truvy will be sad when they do go, but I hope to replace them with a new litter we can foster,” Benken said. “It's win-win: Truvy gets to be a mama, and the kittens get exposure to dogs. It makes them more adoptable. They're not afraid of her. She's always gentle and kind.”