Meet Bertie, a gentle one-year-old Labrador retriever at Battersea shelter.
Not only is Bertie precious and kind, but he’s also got a heart of gold.
Shelter staff realized how big Bertie’s heart was when he stepped up to help them foster a litter of seven kittens.
The two-week-old litter of kittens was found on the side of the road, anxious and afraid.
Their mother was nowhere in sight.
Battersea volunteers were quick to arrive at the scene.
The kittens were rushed to an emergency vet where they were deemed healthy, but hungry.
After a thorough examination and a much needed meal, the kittens were ready for foster placement.
The little ones have since made themselves at home with the shelter’s head nurse, Rachel, and Bertie the rescue lab.
Bertie already had a reputation for being friendly and gentle, but his reaction to the foster kittens blew everyone away.
He quickly jumped into “mom mode” and became the mother the kittens desperately needed.
Bertie adored the kittens and they adored her right back.
The kittens would run to him for gentle kisses and snuggle close to his body for warmth and comfort.
“These kittens have certainly been a handful, from the early days when they needed bottle feeding round the clock, to when they first discovered the joys of climbing,” said Rachel.
As the kittens grew bigger and stronger, their rambunctious personalities started to shine through.
They’d climb on Bertie, excited to play with their loyal foster mom.
Bertie didn’t seem to mind! In fact, he seemed happy and entertained.
“Not only has Bertie helped the kittens become confident, sociable little cats, he’s also kept me entertained,” said Rachel.
After a long day of climbing, leaping, and tumbling, Bertie and his seven foster babies would retire for a nap in a big snuggle puddle.
“At less than two years old, he’s barely an adult himself, but you wouldn’t think it when you see how incredibly patient and nurturing he has been,” Rachel mused.
Bertie wasn’t a stranger to the pain of loneliness– he was a rescue dog himself.
Before Bertie was adopted by Rachel, he was a Battersea shelter resident.
It was as if he was paying it forward by taking the orphan kittens under his wing.
“As a former Battersea resident himself, there’s something particularly touching about seeing a rescue pet now helping to rescue other animals in need,” said Rachel.
Bertie was Rachel’s special helper!
“I’m incredibly proud of Bertie for the way he has cared for the kittens over the last few weeks,” said Rachel.
He was both the protective dad and loving, nurturing mother the kittens needed to thrive.
It wasn’t long until the kittens were eating and using the litter box without help.
Soon, they were independent with their own unique personalities.
“Hand rearing kittens is such a wonderfully rewarding experience; you get to help them grow from tiny defenseless babies into unique characters ready for a loving home,” said Rachel.
Rachel and Bertie raised seven happy, healthy kittens that were ready for adoption.
“I was sad to see them go, but I can take comfort in knowing that Bertie and I helped give them the best start in life,” said Rachel.
What started as a tragedy ended like a fairytale.
Thanks to Rachel and Bertie, these 7 kittens can look forward to a lifetime of love and happiness.