Flora, a 100-pound Alaskan Malamute is a big ol’ softie, and it’s not just because of her fluffy coat.
Rescued in 2013 by Jill Williams and her family from Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah, the shy and sweet Flora quickly became the matriarch in her new forever home.
Her motherly instincts kicked in with the family’s senior cat, Dexter, whom Flora adored. The two were the best of friends, cuddling, playing and spending every possible moment with each other.
“When Dexter passed away [earlier this year], Flora was beyond heartbroken,” Williams says. “She spent many weeks outside, howling and depressed. It was really sad.”
To try and ease Flora’s pain, Williams (the web content manager for Best Friends) adopted two new cats, but they did not really care about cuddling with Flora the way Dexter did.
Williams then came up with a plan that would not only help Flora, but help cats in need: she and her family would foster a litter of four kittens.
“Fostering kittens would be a win-win for everyone,” says Williams, who has two human children, aged 8 and 10, in addition to her fur kids.
“The kittens would have a safe, fun place to live until they were big enough to be spayed or neutered and ultimately adopted,” Williams says, adding that the plan also helped make room in the shelter for more at-risk kittens and would help teach her sons about responsibility.
This summer, the family welcomed the 10-week-old kittens, named Iggy, Bowie, Roxy and Glamour, with open arms … and paws.
“After two days of settling in, we slowly introduced Flora to the kittens,” Williams recalls. “All four of them immediately walked over to her, completely unfazed by her larger-than-life appearance.”
Flora allowed the kitties to sniff and get used to her while she sat still with a big smile on her face, Williams says.
Since then, the adorable quartet and their big new friend have been getting along wonderfully.
“Sometimes we enter their room and the kittens are nowhere to be found,” Williams says. “But when Flora comes sauntering in, suddenly we hear four sets of ‘plunks’ … each kitten slowly crawling out of a drawer or jumping down from a hiding spot so they can go right over to their dog mom and give her rubs and head bonks.”
While all four kittens have pending adoptions, Williams says she has no doubt that she and her family will continue with fostering.
Not only has it been a rewarding for her family to help the kittens grow in a healthy environment and get adopted, but it’s been an incredibly sweet thing to see Flora so happy again, she says. “I mean, really, is there anything cuter than kittens AND a big fluffy wolf-dog?”
Nope … not even close.
Images via Jill Williams