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Your morning adorable: Australian shepherd nurses orphaned kittens

June 2, 2009 | 11:48 am

Lakota, a 7-year-old Australian shepherd, looks after and nurses a litter of four kittens

When a mother cat was hit by a car and killed last month in Snohomish County, Wash., north of Seattle, her four kittens were orphaned. Fortunately for them, they happened to be living in the barn belonging to Colleen and Robert Nesseth -- and they had a willing surrogate mother in the form of the Nesseths' Australian shepherd, Lakota.

Lakota took an immediate interest in the kittens, whom the Nesseths brought inside in a box. She began caring for them, grooming them and even letting them suckle (although the Nesseths aren't sure whether  she's actually producing milk for them -- they bottle-feed the kittens just to be sure they are fed).

Lakota gave birth to her own litter of puppies once and has even cared for a kitten in the past.  "It just shows you don't have to give birth to be a mother," Colleen Nesseth told the Everett Herald.

Lakota, a 7-year-old Australian shepherd, looks after and nurses a litter of four kittens

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photos: Dan Bates / Associated Press

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