Every Puppy And Kitten The Dog Meets She Adopts As Her Own


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Pirate frequently takes in puppies that have lost their mothers. The five-year-old dog not only pet them and cleans them, but she also makes milk that they may suckle on. Pirate’s owner, Gabi Vannini, never anticipated that she would take in a little, abandoned kitten.

Pirate was saved from a Michigan hoarder’s house in June of last year, when a total of 98 dogs and 3 cats had been discovered coated in excrement and urine. Three puppies, including Pirate’s two at the time, entered foster care with Vannini.

Credit: GABI VANNINI

Vannini ultimately adopted Pirate, and when Pirate’s puppies grew up, she helped find them loving homes. But it didn’t take long for Pirate to start mothering again, although she’s never had puppies of her own again.

Instead, Pirate started adopting the foster animals Vannini brought home from the Dallas Animal Services and Adoption Center.

Credit: GABI VANNINI

“The first time I took home bottle babies from the shelter, it was just for a night until a rescue was going to take them,” Vannini, who also serves as public information coordinator for Dallas Animal Services and Adoption Center, told The Dodo. “I thought, ‘Pirate is really sweet with puppies, so maybe she can clean them and keep them warm while I bottle-feed them.’”

But Pirate did more than keep them warm — she started producing milk for the puppies, despite the fact she stopped nursing her own puppies over a year ago.

Credit: GABI VANNINI

“Oh okay, you guys can start feeding. She said that right away. Vannini remarked, “You’re my pups.

Credit: GABI VANNINI

Pirate didn’t just do this once — so far, she’s adopted and nursed more than nine foster puppies, including three currently in her care. Then, last month, Vannini brought home a scrawny, filthy and very feisty 1-week-old kitten named Nebula, who’d been found living outside on her own.

“[Nebula] was covered in fleas,” Vannini said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many fleas on a kitten in my life. So I bathed her to try and get the fleas off … and the whole time, she was just throwing a tantrum.”

Credit: GABI VANNINI

Although Vannini intended to bottle-feed Nebula, she felt awful about the baby’s lack of a family. A kitten so young needs to curl up with her mother and other kittens.

Vannini said, “You know, I wonder if Pirate would take in this cat.

Credit: GABI VANNINI

She was around 5 ounces when she arrived, while the puppies weighed a pound and a half, according to Vannini. There is no chance she will nurse the puppies, I reasoned. Though she did. She was in there, on top of them, feeding by herself when I returned after a 20-minute absence.

Credit: GABI VANNINI

“She made it very clear very quickly that she had no problems with [the puppies],” Vannini added. “She seems to have no idea that her siblings are four times as big as she is.

And the puppies have been very gentle and very sweet with her.”

Credit: GABI VANNINI

Nebula and the puppies are developing quickly and will be available for adoption when they are old enough.

As for Pirate, Vannini wants to give her a much-needed respite because she is sure to be fatigued after feeding and caring for nine puppies as well as Nebula. However, Vannini is confident that it won’t be long until Pirate resumes aiding abandoned infants.

Vannini described the dog as “simply this incredibly cool, really unusual dog.” She desires to mother every situation. Without her involvement, we essentially can’t bring any baby animals into the house.


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