Baby animals provide many opportunities to bring out the nurturing nature of a dog. While out doing chores one day I discovered our young farm cat Tiger had picked a cold and uninviting wooden bushel basket as the place to have her kittens. When I found them two were already dead and three others were cold and lethargic. Tiger didn't seem too concerned so I gathered the babies up along with her and moved them into the house. They were too chilled to nurse so we tucked them into a baggies and submerged them up to their heads in a sink full of very warm water. That revived them enough so they could get a belly full of warm milk. We tucked them into a laundry basket with their mother for observation. The presence of kittens in the house attracted both children and dogs and I captured these pictures of Rudy, Ivy and my young son faithfully attending them. They responded well to the rescue attempt and grew up fine and healthy.
This kind of acceptance and responsibility toward the small and helpless is something that is fairly commonplace in the ES breed especially if attention is given to encouraging the nurturing instinct. We followed our standard protocol and each kitten was introduced individually to each dog as "a baby" (spoken with an appropriate cooing tone). The dogs were told to "be easy" and allowed to sniff them thoroughly. That's usually all it takes to communicate the idea that no harm is to come to the kittens.
Ivy helping wash the kittens. Tiger didn't mind at all. Ivy even tried to get into the laundry basket!
Rudy checking out the babies.