Rescued Injured Dog (and Supermom) Was Found Taking Care of Her Litter and a Kitten, Too

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They say Christmas is a time for giving, but one shepherd mix in Canada really went above and beyond. According to the Winnipeg Free Press, this severely injured single mother found room in her heart to adopt an orphaned kitten -- raising the feline like it was one of her own.

Esperanza, a fluffy white shepherd mix, was discovered on a wilderness reserve near Red Deer in Central Alberta by animal rescue worker Criss Gerwing earlier this month, according to the Free Press. Esperanza had reportedly been hit by a car and her leg was badly broken.

When Gerwing approached the friendly pooch, this exceptional mother led her straight to a den where she was nursing a very unusual litter. "I cried because she was in such bad condition with her leg, but she was obviously nursing her puppies and this kitten," Gerwing told reporters.

Touched by Esperanza's generous spirit, Gerwing took the whole mixed-species family straight to the Edmonton Humane Society. According to the shelter's executive director, Stephanie McDonald, "She had a severe fracture of the femur," yet this extraordinary pup was still managing to nurse "five fat, healthy puppies and a kitten."

McDonald speculates that the kitten has probably been with its canine family all of his life. "This canine mom had taken the kitten in as her own, a living example of survival and the power of motherly love," McDonald writes on her blog. Thus, shelter workers named the dog Esperanza, which is Spanish for "hope."

The kitten, according to McDonald, has been temporarily separated from his canine family while he learns to eat kitten food. "Drinking the dog's milk had caused severe stomach problems for the little guy," she says. They will all be together again soon.

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