Fred the Labrador has spent his life in the company of creatures of all kinds and sizes. Fred has been a peaceful and loving presence to anybody who visits Mountfitchet Castle in Stansted, Essex, a recreated Norman castle, as the resident dog.
Fred’s parental instincts are finally being tested at the tender age of ten.
Staff at the castle discovered nine little yellow ducklings walking aimlessly across the crowded grounds on Thursday.
The ducklings’ mother was nowhere to be discovered, however it’s possible she was kidnapped by a fox soon after the chicks were born. The ducklings’ chances of surviving the treacherous voyage to water were limited without a parent to lead them.
“The crew was really concerned about the ducklings, but Fred… took to them right away and has been babysitting them ever since,” according to a Facebook post.
Fred may be a little bigger and furrier than the ducklings’ mother, but he’s been an excellent foster dad for the past week.
Jeremy Goldsmith, the castle’s owner, told The Dodo, “He has grown up with me and my wife Jo in the castle and our house with rescued animals.” “For six months, we even had a squirrel in the kitchen that we rescued off the side of the road.”
Since being introduced to the dog, the missing ducklings appear to have imprinted on Fred, following him around everywhere. “Fred took to them right away and has taken excellent care of them,” Goldsmith recalled, “even swimming in the castle moat every day.”
Fred and his duckling kids sleep in the same basket in the home at the end of each day.
Fred is entrusted with keeping the ducklings safe and warm, and the Labrador has grown accustomed to having nine little shadows.
“Fred has such a kind demeanor,” Goldsmith continued. “He’s a natural parent and father.”