When Anderson County Animal Control Officer Michelle Smith got a call in May about a whimpering dog, she expected to find a lost pet or injured stray. What she discovered at the bottom of the South Carolina ravine was a perfectly healthy Shih Tzu nursing a kitten.
"I think it would have been okay for the dog to walk down the hill," she told Fox Carolina. "But it just didn't want to leave the kitten."
Smith took the unlikely duo to local animal shelter Anderson County PAWS where the animals were placed in an enclosure together.
Shelter director Jessica Cwynar said the dog was likely going through a "pseudo-pregnancy," which allowed her to produce some milk. However, it wasn’t enough to sustain the kitten, so shelter staff had to bottle-feed her.
When the story of the adorable pair broke, the shelter was inundated with offers of adoption from across the nation, but the Shih Tzu was well-groomed and had a collar so workers suspected she had an owner.
But after 14 days passed and no one claimed her, the dog and her adopted kitten were placed with a foster family.
Today, Goldie the dog and Kate the kitten are happy and healthy in their new home, and their unlikely friendship has touched many lives, including that of the animal control officer who found them.
"Good things happen all the time, but 'great' happens seldom," she said. "This is enough to keep me going the next six or eight months. This is one example of why I love my job."
Watch Goldie care for her kitten in the video below.
More pet stories on MNN:
- 16 unlikely animal friendships
- What to do if you find a stray kitten
- Dog nurses feral kitten back to health