Single parenthood can be tough, but rewarding. Just ask Fred, a yellow Labrador hailing from Mountfitchet Castle near Stansted, Essex. He recently took a brood of fifteen baby ducks under his paw … and on top of his head … and lined up aboard his back (aww!) according to The Sun U.K.
A 15-year-old labrador retriever has taken on the role of “Dad” to 15 orphaned ducklings, but it’s not his first rodeo. Fred is the resident dog at the Mountfitchet Castle in Essex, England where he’s lived for several years. Over the past 5 years, he’s had the opportunity to rescue not one brood of orphaned ducklings, but three!
Fred first rose to fame back in 2018 when he stepped up to foster a brood of 9 orphaned ducklings. The castle shared photos and videos of Fred and his ducklings on Facebook and people couldn’t get enough of the sweet dog.
He cared for the nine little ducklings by carrying them on his back, cuddling them, and keeping a watchful eye on them. Eventually, they were big enough to survive on their own and he had to set his little ducks free.
But the very next year in 2019, another group of seven ducklings became orphaned. The mother duck had 14 ducklings, but she abandoned seven of them and took the other seven to the pond with her! Fred once again stepped up to do his duties as foster dad and offered the seven abandoned ducklings a new chance at life.
Now, at 15-years-old, Fred is once again at it again. When 15 ducklings became orphaned on the castle grounds, they weren’t parentless for long because the sweet dog was there to comfort them, dot on them, and make sure they’d be ok.
A series of pictures show the tiny ducklings huddling between Fred’s front legs and resting proudly on his back, as they lay together in the sun. The bright yellow balls of fluff appear to be happy and comfortable, tucked up closely to their new parent.
Owner Jeremy Goldsmith said: “Our doting 15 year old Fred has become a Foster parent for the second time in 5 years. But this time to 15 orphaned ducklings. Well done Fred.”
The ducklings were left orphaned after their mother “mysteriously disappeared” from the castle’s grounds overnight. No one is sure what happened to the mother, but at least the ducklings won’t be without a father thanks to Fred. The ducklings are expected to remain with Fred until they’re old enough to survive on their own, just like the past two broods he cared for.