CLEVELAND – It’s not unusual to find an abandoned pet on their doorstep, but the Animal Protective League staff wasn’t quite sure what to do when they discovered a baby pit bull this past week.
“We knew this puppy, who was just one day old, needed some kind of immediate intervention if he was going to survive,” said Ayse Dunlap, director of operations at the Cleveland APL.
Dunlap was one of the team members who tried to devise a plan to help the black-and-white puppy, found just a day after birth.
They decided to try something new: get a cat, who gave birth a couple days before, to see if she’d take the puppy under her wing.
“We just held the puppy up to her,” Dunlap said. “She started sniffing and immediately nuzzling and licking and just accepted the puppy as one of her own immediately. It was remarkable to witness it.”
The cat, Lurlene, is a young mother of four kittens, who spend about eight hours a day with the pit bull puppy, Norland.
“It’s adorable, right? They don’t know one is different from one another,” Dunlap said.
However, as much as Lurlene tries to keep up with the puppy, she is not able to produce enough milk for the dog and her kittens – Espa, Rivette, Zixi and Tallysdab. A foster family takes the puppy home to feed him, as often as eight times a day.
APL president Sharon Harvey said foster volunteers are vital to the adoption process.
“We desperately need foster volunteers who are willing to take these animals into their homes temporarily and give them this second chance,” Harvey said. “This is not a common thing is to be able to find a mother cat to take on another species.”
Yet, thanks to the most unlikely of moms, the pit bull pup and his feline siblings are heading towards a bright future. The puppy, kittens and mother will eventually be adopted out at the APL.
“We are just so happy that a cat named Lurlene who has no idea how special she is has made a lot of people smile – including us,” Harvey said.
Cats at the Cleveland Animal Protective League can be adopted for $5 every Friday in June. The APL is located at 1729 Willey Avenue in Cleveland.