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May 22, 2018 01:53 PM

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 nine baby ducks under his paw … and on top of his head … and lined up aboard his back (aww!) according to The Sun U.K.

 

This posh senior pup — Fred is 10 years old, a little long in the fang for fatherhood but here we are — adopted the miniature waddlers after their mom went missing last Thursday.

Geoff Robinson Photography/REX/Shutterstock

While it’s possible she high-tailed it to Windsor for the royal wedding, Jeremy Goldsmith, director of Mountfitchet Castle and Fred’s own human dad, tells The Sun, “We knew the mother duck was nesting and then suddenly these ducklings appeared but she was nowhere to be seen … We think it was possibly a fox.”

Geoff Robinson Photography/REX/Shutterstock

Meanwhile, the precious photos of Papa Fred and his adopted ducklings are making the viral rounds on social media.

Many are tweeting about what a good boy Fred is, obviously.

Plus, this Good Dog Samaritan even cared for an injured squirrel in the past, reports the BBC.

Goldsmith further gushed about his dog and grand-ducklings to The Sun, stating, “Fred has got an absolutely wonderful nature. They absolutely love him.”

Geoff Robinson Photography/REX/Shutterstock

The castle staff tell the BBC that the tiny quackers follow Fred everywhere, including into the moat for a swim. The babies also sleep alongside and on top of him in his dog basket.

Geoff Robinson Photography/REX/Shutterstock

“He has now resigned himself to being a stay-at-home dad looking after the nine baby ducklings,” Goldsmith tells the BBC.

Although the castle staff only expect Fred’s “babysitting services” to last a few weeks, they say the ducklings are free to stay at the Essex castle or venture out into the world on their own.

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So, what’s the moral of today’s story? If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck … it could still have been raised by a dog.

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