A new mom to a litter of puppies, the pooch nurses the orphans that fell out of a tree

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March 31, 2010 08:00 PM

With their long, long tails and hand-like paws, the three babies nursing on Pixie the poodle definitely didn’t look like they belonged to her, but Pixie acted like they did.

The babies were orphaned squirrels, brought to Gail Latta three weeks ago after a neighbor chopped down a tree and inadvertently rendered them homeless. Latta, a nursing assistant in North Carolina, loves animals and has something of a menagerie at home, so he said, “If anybody can give them a chance, she can do it.”

Latta tried feeding the babies puppy and kitten formula using kitten bottles, but the squirrels didn’t take. Afraid she would lose them, Latta put them on Pixie, who had recently had a litter of puppies. The poodle accepted them right away, nursing them as though they were her own. Latta, fascinated, would spend each morning just watching Pixie and the babies.

“All three of them had their eyes shut,” Latta tells PEOPLEPets.com. “They were in a velvet stage, didn’t really have their fur yet. Gorgeous.”

As the squirrels got stronger and their eyes opened, they grew very affectionate, climbing over Latta and her grandchildren, snuggling with them and getting tangled in their hair. Afraid she would grow too attached to the squirrels, which she hoped eventually to release, Latta didn’t name the creatures.

But she was soon told that she would be breaking a law if she kept the squirrels any longer, so Latta turned them over to a wildlife rehabilitation center. She has since learned that the female squirrel is no longer doing well, and has not been able to keep her formula down.

“It’s really upsetting because they were doing good on Pixie,” Latta says. “You would’ve thought somebody would have called asking to bring her back.”

Pixie missed the squirrels at first, going over to their box to sniff and whine for them, but she’s since been diverted with a few dog biscuits.

“She seems to have gotten over it okay,” Latta says.

Meet more surrogate moms on PEOPLEPets.com:
Nursing Siamese Cat Takes on Six Orphaned Puppies
Nearly Frozen, Abandoned Baby Meerkats Bounce Back from Brink

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