Dog becomes nanny to kittens at AHS shelter

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX – A dog that survived Hurricane Katrina is now helping those who rescued him.

Boots was rescued by the Arizona Humane Society's emergency animal medical technicians after the hurricane nearly a decade ago. When he was found, his paws were all shredded and he had to wear bandages on them, which is how he got his name.

Now, the 12-year-old chow/golden retriever mix serves as a dog nanny in the shelter's new kitten nursery, which provides critical care to kittens 5 to 8 weeks old until they are ready for adoption.

The woman who adopted Boots after his arrival in Arizona fosters a lot of kittens for the Arizona Humane Society and knew that Boots was perfect for the nanny job.

"We already knew that he was really good with kittens so as soon as I said, 'I want a dog in the nursery,' his mom said, 'I have the perfect dog for you,'" said Liz Truitt, AHS' feline welfare specialist.

The idea is to show families that cats and dogs can live together in the same home.

AHS spokeswoman Bretta Nelson said the need to expose kittens to aspects of the more typical "home life" is critical in an effort to make the transition to that life easier.

"By increasing our kittens' comfort level with dogs, we increase the adoptability of our kittens, since they'll be more likely to adapt to homes with dogs in them," Truitt said. "This also decreases the chances that the kittens/cats will be surrendered later in life due to problems between the cats and other pets."

Truitt wants to eventually get a couple more dogs in the nursery.

"We're going to have this entire generation of cats that we can adopt out through the Arizona Humane Society that we already know are good with dogs and have had that exposure and are going to make great pets because of it," she said.

"Everybody wins with this, especially Boots," Truitt said. "He loves it."