Adopted Dog Saves Orphaned Kitten

Rigby the kitten was struggling to survive. Then Indy took matters into her own paws.

Kelsey + Indy

An adopted dog pays it forward by helping a tiny kitten survive.

"The phrase ‘who rescued who?’ usually applies to rescued animals and their adopters. But in our household, we commonly use this to refer to Indy and Rigsby."

Recently engaged, with a new apartment and wedding planning in full swing, we walked up to the Coastal German Shepherd Rescue adoption event ready to add a little more chaos to our freshly started life together. Instead of choosing wedding colors or menu options, I was ten browser tabs deep in dog research. Indy, a 5-year-old German Shepherd, sat patiently right in front of us. With chaos erupting with the youthful energy of adoptable puppies, this wise 5-year-old viewed the scene as if to say “really guys, you’re thinking about taking one of those home with you?”

Indy the German Shepherd

We brought Indy home. We found out she digs holes, gets covered in dirt and also loves to sleep on the couch while covered in said dirt. She adores rolling in grass, most likely because she’s never had a yard of her own. As this beautiful dog was settling into our home and starting to change our lives for the better, we got a call from a friend. Her cat had a litter of kittens, the momma cat had died from complications, and the kittens were on their way to the pound. She knew I was the right person to call, but at the exactly wrong time. We had just welcomed a 65-pound German Shepherd rescue into our home. We had just begun to get to know her, create healthy boundaries, and show her what a loving home is all about… and we welcomed four 3-week-old bottle baby kittens into our bathroom.

Indy the German Shepherd with Family

We were beyond thrilled with Indy’s reaction. She was so curious and loving toward the kittens. We successfully adopted out three of the four kittens out to loving homes, and were left with the runt of the litter: Rigby, severely dehydrated, underweight and struggling. Indy the wonder dog swooped in to save the day. She cared for the tiny kitten, helping her walk, licking food from her face, and giving her baths. My fiance and I bottle fed Rigby every two hours, with Indy’s nose just inches from her at every moment. We were struggling to find ways to keep her warm, and Indy let Rigby snuggle up in her warm fur. After an unsuccessful attempt to wean Rigby off bottle feeding, we were at a loss to show the kitten life skills that her momma cat would have taught. The very next day, Indy gently took the kitten to the water bowl and began to teach her how to drink. We were astonished.

Indy the German Shepherd sleeping

The phrase “who rescued who” usually applies to rescue animals and their adopters. But in our household, we commonly use this to refer to Indy and Rigby, because honestly, who rescued who? To this day Indy and Rigby are inseparable. They’ve survived moving across the county with us, and moving again into our new home. Our lives have been truly enriched by Indy and the joy she brings to our family. She’s a goofball, a stoic saint, and the kitten whisperer all rolled into one.

Each year, the Petco Foundation invites adopters to share the story of how their adopted pet changed their lives during the annual Holiday Wishes campaign, giving the organization that they adopted from a chance to receive a grant award. This story by Kelsey won Coastal German Shepherd Rescue in California a 2018 Holiday Wishes award.