For the past seven years, a rescue dog named Raylan has had a very important job. The energetic shepherd mix acts as a foster dad to dozens of kittens — taking care of each one as if they were his own baby.
Raylan has always been a dog who likes to be busy, and taking care of kittens gives the senior dog the purpose he needs.
“Raylan is always so happy and so excited when a new foster arrives, and he spends so much time watching them, cleaning them and winning them over,” Laura Tindal, Raylan’s mom, told The Dodo. “They play, cuddle and amuse each other, which is so important for [Raylan’s] mental stimulation.”
“He’s not the kind of dog to just lie quietly on his bed for hours,” she added. “He gets bored quickly and needs things to do.”
Recently, Tindal took in a kitten brother and sister named Ron and Hermione. The kittens were found in a garage all alone, underweight and dehydrated.
They clearly missed their mom — especially Ron. And that’s when Raylan stepped up to the plate.
While Tindal focused on getting the kittens healthy, Raylan immediately fell in love with Ron — and Ron with Raylan.
“Both kittens love Raylan, but Ron was especially taken with him,” Tindal said. “[He] immediately wanted to constantly be crawling on him and touching him and be as close as possible to him.”
Ron especially loves when Raylan picks him up and carries him around in his mouth. The simple act seems to bring Ron comfort, and Raylan is happy to oblige.
“Raylan often carries our foster kittens around in his mouth like a mother dog would, and Ron not only was the perfect size but he absolutely loves it!” Tindal said. “You can’t get much closer than inside his mouth. So Raylan’s just constantly carrying Ron around.”
“When Ron wants to be picked up, he’ll come over and stand under Raylan’s head and meow and look up at him, circling back and forth,” she added. “If Raylan’s lying down, he’ll literally rub up against his mouth until he gets picked up … Then Raylan will usually bring him to his bed or the couch and start cleaning him, or they’ll just curl up for a nap. It’s adorable.”
Raylan knows what it’s like to have a rough start to life. He was dumped at a shelter in Northern Ontario by his former family when he was 2 years old. As an active, curious dog, he hadn’t received the care or attention he needed — but he was a fast learner.
“He was swiped out of that shelter hours before he was going to be euthanized,” Tindal said. “He showed up to my place and he had absolutely no training — didn’t know how to sit, couldn’t walk on a leash, didn’t respond to his name, but he was so smart and interactive and just eager to learn and completely chill about every new experience.”
Now, Raylan and his mom are on a mission to help homeless kittens get the care they so desperately crave. And thanks to their love, Ron and Hermione have grown fast and recently found a home — together.
The big dog will always have a special place in his heart for Ron, but he can’t wait to meet the next batch of special little kittens.