Flora and Dexter made an unlikely couple. At somewhere around 100 pounds, Flora the malamute towered over Dexter the cat.
The thing is, Flora didn’t do much towering. She was usually seen cuddled up to her best friend. They were inseparable.
But eventually, Dexter took a road that Flora couldn’t follow. At 22 years old, the grand old cat died.
And Flora’s family, the Williams’ of Kanab, Utah, thought the dog might never recover.
"Flora was beyond heart-broken," mom Jill Williams says. "She spent many weeks outside, howling and depressed. It was really sad."
You couldn’t blame Flora for having attachment issues. Her first home was a bad situation. She was rescued by Best Friends Animal Society — and then adopted by the Williams family.
"She was extremely shy but over time, became the matriarch of our family," Williams says. "And her calm, sweet disposition was just what our family needed."
And Dexter, also a rescue, was a big part of that family.
When the cat died, the Williams family wasted no time trying to patch that cat-shaped hole in Flora’s heart.
They adopted two young cats from Best Friends Animal Society. The trouble is, they weren’t quite the cuddling kind — at least not cuddlesome enough for Flora.
The giant malamute still ached for her old friend.
The solution was to think small
It turned out that hole needed to be filled not by cats, but four kittens.
Almost from the moment Williams brought home the kittens — Iggy, Bowie, Roxy and Glamour — there was a connection.
The feline foursome had been saved by Best Friends — and they needed a foster family.
Or, as it turned out, a foster dog.
The humans had prepared a special place in one of the children’s bedrooms — filling it with cat beds and toys and bowls. And the children, as you might expect, were eager to host them.
"We've instilled in them the importance of rescue work — and that by fostering kittens — they would be preparing these little fuzzballs for a happy and bright future," Williams says.
But Iggy, Bowie, Roxy and Glamour had other ideas. One by one, they ambled up to the big, lonesome dog.
"Iggy was the first brave boy," Williams says. "He went right up to Flora and sniffed her nose. She gently brought her face down to meet his and got a huge smile on her face."
Seeing their brave sibling nuzzle up the the great furry behemoth that was Flora, the others quickly scampered into the scene. Flora hardly stirred, letting the kittens warily approach and edge right up to her nose.
There was the expected mutual sniffings. Occasionally a kitten would back off. Too big.
But then … kittens.
"Glamour climbed up Flora’s side, sniffing her ears and eyes," Williams recalls. "Flora just laid there with a big, squinty smile on her face. It was so cute."
And then, at last, they all came together.
"I truly think Flora is the kitten whisperer," Williams says.
As for Iggy, Bowie, Roxy and Glamour, well, they will eventually have to move on when they find a permanent home. If you’re interested, get in touch with Best Friends here.
But Flora won’t pine for them for too long. Williams says the kitten whisperer can probably expect another batch of rescued babies in the future, all looking for the kind of loving start in life only she can offer.
Watch a video of Flora and friends below: