Animal Photos Index
65. Dog who longed for puppies nurses kittens

64. Suki with Kittens
66. Mitchie

By Rebecca Belling, AP

EDWARDSBURG, Mich. (AP) � A Shih Tzu who, her owners say, longed for years to give birth � even to the point of going into false labor several times � finally is getting a chance to nurse some little ones: two stray kittens.

Kittens Dilly and Dally don't stray far from Geisha Girl, their wetnursing Shih Tzu.

Owners Jean and Bill Schirf said the dog, named Geisha Girl, used to take a toy dog, wrap herself around it in her basket and mother it for a week or two.

Now she's doing the same thing with the kittens that Jean Schirf found two weeks ago in the woods behind her Cass County home just north of the Indiana border. The cats � a gray male and a gray-and-white female � appeared to be no more than 2 weeks old at the time, she said.

"She wraps herself around them all night long," Schirf told the South Bend (Ind.) Tribune.

Rebecca Bellin, South Bend Tribunet Kittens founds in the woods have found a dog that has longed to be a mother, her owners say.

Not only did Geisha Girl start watching over and cleaning the kittens, which have been named Dilly and Dally, she started lactating within about a week � enough to provide them with some of the milk they need. Schirf helps out by bottle-feeding the cats 2% milk every four or five hours.

The dog, which the Schirfs bought from a pet store in 1991, never was spayed. She most recently went into heat about four to six weeks ago and never has been bred.

It's not unusual for such dogs to sometimes "have a false pregnancy and exhibit all the signs of being pregnant except for the fact of having puppies," said Dr. Michael Lampen, a veterinarian with the Bergman Animal Hospital in Cassopolis.

"They will come into milk and the whole bit. You have a dog with a false pregnancy and kittens who want a mother."

While the dog adores the kittens, the same cannot be said for the Schirfs' other pet cats, Demi Moore and Jasmine.

"They are jealous and sit back and watch them," Jean Schirf said.

She and her husband plan to find homes for the kittens after they are weaned from Geisha Girl.

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