Labrador 'adopts' abandoned duckling after mother is killed by fox

Gaby Leslie

Did they meet down the dog and duck?

Well, not quite.

A bizarre friendship has been struck up by a Labrador and a duckling after the tiny waterbird was found abandoned when its mother was killed by a fox.

Dennis the duckling was just a few days old when its mother was mauled by a vixen. 

Somehow Dennis survived the attack and would have perished had it not been found next to a brook by Jeremy Goldsmith while out with his dog Fred.

Surprisingly, the Labrador took a shine to the duckling and began to clean it with its tongue. Since then, their unlikely friendship has blossomed with Fred even allowing Dennis to sit on his head.

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Mr Goldsmith, owner of Mountfitchet Castle, Stansted, Essex, where the duckling was found, said: “It is amazing to see the two of them together.

“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.

“Since then Dennis has not stopped following him around and Fred has pretty much adopted him.

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“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!”

Mountfitchet Castle houses hundreds of rescued animals within its grounds including goats, sheep, chickens and of course - ducks.