Mika's original name was Momma, a clue to the mothering skills she possesses

By Amy Jamieson
March 29, 2017 09:56 AM
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Credit: Courtesy Lauren Gaddis

Once a Momma, always a Momma — that’s definitely the case with Mika, a dog adopted from the Atlanta Humane Society.

Adoption manager Lauren Gaddis adopted the pup last March and knew very little about her mothering skills, until the dog was called on recently to comfort three very young kittens in desperate need.

“A patron came in to the shelter around 6:15 p.m. She had three very small (likely a week old) kittens that she had found outside,” Gaddis tells PEOPLE. “She cared for them for two days but could not keep caring for them. Because it was so late in the evening, we were unable to find a foster to take them, so my husband and I decided we would take care of them for the night.”

At first, Gaddis kept them away from Mika and their large brood of pets, but when the pooch heard the babies cry, there was no holding her back.

“We let Mika smell them,” Gaddis recalls. “She quickly stood over and ‘guarded’ them from everyone else, letting them know these were her babies. She continued to lick them, roll them over and clean them and guard them throughout the rest of the night. It was so amazing and sweet. It gave us insight to her life before us when she had been a mama dog.”

Mika’s original name was, in fact, Momma, which was a clue all along about her mothering abilities. And as it turns out, it was a blessing that Gaddis and her pup were available to care for those babies that night.

“Without foster parents and without people willing to step up and care for the kittens and puppies who come into our shelter, these little ones wouldn’t have a chance,” says Christina Hill, director of marketing and communications for the shelter. “Puppy and kitten season sounds cute, and it can be, but it is also an urgent time where we here at the Atlanta Humane Society, and at shelters across the nation, desperately need our communities to step up and help us care for these little ones. All shelters are in need of foster parents willing to save lives, but we’re also always in need for baby supplies like formula, bottles, blankets and toys.”

This trio of kittens — named Catherine, Tommy and Heather — are still in foster care. To help the Atlanta Humane Society get through kitten season and beyond, see its Amazon wish list.