Meet Floyd, the Adoptive Dogfather of Five

Floyd the farm dog has never turned a stray away.

Editor’s Note: America’s Best Pet Pals is a nationwide search for the animal friendships that make you laugh, cry, and purr. Reader’s Digest honors the best in pet friendship in print, online, and on social media. This is the winner in our “Animals to Animals” category. To see winners in other categories and our full list of finalists, go to rd.com/petpals.

A few winters ago, my dog, Floyd, found a tiny, sickly kitten with her paws in a milk pail. We saw her curled up in a hutch, keeping warm with a calf. Then when we fed the calves, she’d stretch up on her tip toes to dip into a milk pail. She wouldn’t let me touch her at first but would rub against Floyd and let him lick her face as a mama cat would.

A friend gave Floyd to me a few years ago, he was the runt and only puppy left in his litter still unclaimed. He has such a nurturing personality and ended up being so perfect for me. Eventually, I was able to befriend his kitten. Our farm hadn’t had a cat in years, and we needed a good mouser, so I named her Mousetrap and brought her into where we store the milk. It’s much warmer and she could get as much milk and food as she wanted. She made herself right at home. Traipsing across the computer keyboard in the barn office and sending the computer into fits was the only issue we ever had with Mousetrap. We learned to stand the keyboard on edge at night. Problem solved.

dog and cat curled up togetherCourtesy Elizabeth Miller

Mousetrap loved snuggling up with Floyd while I milked the cows. She started following him everywhere. Floyd loved having a little buddy, and Mousetrap eventually grew from a scrawny, sickly kitten into a beautiful tortoiseshell cat, who did indeed turn out to be a great hunter.

The following year, I found Floyd gazing under a broken floorboard in the barn delightfully, and discovered Mousetrap was now a mama. I had a hard time getting him to budge—he wanted to lay there at the opening of the hole all day. He was right there to greet the kittens as they began emerging from their comfy birthplace, lovingly licking them head to toe as he had their mother.

Floyd would check on them multiple times a day, and as they grew up, canine and felines alike would share bowls of warm milk and food together. Floyd even lets Mousetrap share a steak bone or an occasional scoop of ice cream. The kittens saw Floyd as a second mother and followed him around the farm just like Mousetrap, and when mama had enough of nursing and started leaving them on their own for longer stretches of time, they had the world’s best babysitter.

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dog and three kittensCourtesy Elizabeth Miller

The kittens are all grown up now. It’s always a sight to see Floyd trot by with several cats keeping step alongside him. When one of the cats catches a mouse, Floyd gets in on the excitement, too. They’ll play together for hours. Floyd will sometimes snatch the prize from right under their noses and run off for a good game of “catch me if you can.” When I let Floyd out every morning, there are at least three cats laying by the backyard who jump up to greet him. He’ll sniff around the yard, then head over to the barn with the cats trotting after him. At night, they all crowd the back door and try to come inside the house with Floyd.

Last summer, there was another litter of kittens, and of course, Floyd fell in love with them, too. Several of the folks who adopted the kittens were thrilled that their new pet was already more than comfortable around dogs. There were even a few from that litter that I had to bring into the house for extra care, and Floyd was happy to let them live in his crate. He was a wonderful surrogate mom, letting them snuggle and never complaining when they ate from his bowl or climbed all over him.

dog and cay vying for a chipmunk in the grassCourtesy Elizabeth Miller

Witnessing the sweet relationship Floyd shares with these cats has truly been an heartwarming experience for me and everyone else on the farm. They’ve brought so many smiles, laughs, and love into our lives. This is joy we never would have known had that first tiny kitten not found her way into our calf hutches that winter, and met the gentle farm dog who accepted her as family.