Fred, the Labrador retriever, has adopted a duckling after the baby duck's mother was killed by a fox. Jeremy Goldsmith was out walking with Fred when they found the duckling. He was only a few days old and probably would not have survived if Fred had not found him. Jeremy named the duckling Dennis.
"When we found Dennis he was quite frail and he clearly would not have survived another day on his own. Fred, who has always been extremely loving, went straight up to him and began to lick the little bird clean."
Their unlikely friendship has blossomed with Fred even allowing Dennis to sit on his head. "Since then Dennis has not stopped following him around and Fred has pretty much adopted him," said Jeremy.
Jeremy is the owner of Mountfitchet Castle, Stansted, Essex, where the duckling was found. Mountfitchet Castle houses hundreds of rescued animals within its grounds including goats, sheep, chickens and ducks.
"Fred grew up with all our animals and has such a loving nature that he always fathers any orphans, he even took over looking after Lupin a Fallow deer when she was tiny," explains Jeremy. "Though Dennis sees Fred more as mother - so I suppose he is a bit like of those modern stay at home dads."
The two friends spend day and night together. Said Jeremy: "Dennis snuggles up to Fred at night, he will clamber up on top of him and they even go swimming together - but Fred is a lot less graceful in the water!"
"I don't think the duckling would have made it without Fred - his loving nature really does make a difference. It is amazing to see the two of them together," said Jeremy. "He absolutely adores Fred so I am sure he will pick up some canine traits - I am expecting him to start barking and chasing cats."
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