Nursing Shih Tzu helps stray animals survive
Wednesday, August 03, 2005By Steven Hepker
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A Blackman Township dog that has never given birth is nursing her third litter of kittens.
Ellie Lu provides milk to two abandoned kitties named Lucy and Sam I Am.
"Every stray in the world seems to end up at my house," said Kathy Snuggs, who lives in a secluded neighborhood on River Road.
That's fine with Ellie Lu, a 4-year-old Shih Tzu that has helped raise injured birds, a rabbit and kittens, Snuggs said. Snuggs was astounded two years ago when the dog began to lactate and nurse some orphaned kittens.
"She just started washing them and nursing them," she said.
Even a grown cat she nursed last year as a kitten is allowed an occasional nip.
"In 30 years I have never seen a dog that has not had puppies be able to nurse," said veterinarian Patrick Gorzcyca of the Blackman Animal Clinic. "This particular dog appears to have a hormone imbalance that allows her to produce milk, and she has the opportunity to act maternally."
In fact, Gorzcyca said it is rare that a lactating dog will nurse kittens even after it has given birth.
"She is such a loving dog," said Snuggs, a nurse for Hospice of Jackson. "If she could be certified, she would be a hospice dog."
Snuggs has nine cats, two dogs and a rabbit.
© 2005 Jackson Citizen Patriot.