GENESEO, New York — Doberman Pinschers, which originated in Germany and were bred as guard dogs, don't have a warm and fuzzy reputation, and are frequently depicted as highly aggressive and even vicious in popular culture.
While each dog is unique, Dobermans are fun-loving family creatures with "big hearts," according to the American Kennel Club. According to dogtime.com, they're also nice with other dogs and pets.
Ruby, one of six Dobermans owned by Brittany Callan of Geneseo, New York, epitomises this.
Callan discovered a baby cat, probably abandoned by its mother, at a job site where her husband was working in the Livingston County hamlet of Retsof about a week ago.
Ruby, who is also caring for a litter of six puppies she gave birth to two weeks ago, took the tiny, stray puppy home and is now feeding it.
Ruby, who is 4½ years old, “was destined to be a mother to anything,” Callan said.
It was obvious even before the advent of the tortoiseshell-colored kitten, which Callen named Ramblin' Rose.
Callan explained, “We've got baby bunnies, guinea pigs, chickens, and ducks.” "She licks them like she's cleaning them, as if she's their mother," Ruby says.
Callan was hopeful that Ruby would accept Ramblin' Rose as her own because of the dog's history of caring tendencies.
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Callan took the kitten in her hands and held it up to Ruby for her to smell. That went smoothly.
Then, according to Callan, "she started cleaning it as a mother would." “After that, I set it down and attached it to her nipple.”
And there you have it: a Facebook moment.
Ruby could breastfeed the kitten for another three to four weeks. Callan has been supplementing the natural feedings with servings of kitten formula purchased at a Tractor Supply store to ensure she gets enough nourishment.
Ramblin' Rose has gone from 4.37 ounces to 7.27 ounces in a week, according to Callan, indicating that the dual technique is working.
Ruby not only nurses Ramblin' Rose, but she also drags the kitten around the home by the scruff of the neck like she would her puppies, who appear unconcerned by their stepsister's presence, according to Callan.
Ruby places the kitten in front of her own paws when she puts it down, “so she knows where it is,” Callan explained. “She looks after it as if it were her own children.”
Callan has no intention of keeping Ramblin' Rose. Ruby's Dobermans aren't all cat people, and a seventh dog, a husky-shepherd mix, doesn't like cats at all. As a result, Ramblin' Rose will be adopted by a family member.
Once the kitten leaves, Ruby likely will still have her paws full with her own high-energy offspring — three males and three females — but she might be able to carve out time to prey on the one animal she truly despises.
“If there’s a squirrel outside, it’s game on,” Callan said.
Follow Marcia Greenwood on Twitter @MarciaGreenwood.