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Leslie Goldman

Human Breast Milk Saves Puppy’s Life

PUBLISHED ON 02/12/2014

Woman Breastfeeds Puppy To Save Its Life.” It sounds like a headline dragged straight from the trashiest of grocery store checkout line gossip rags, but apparently, this one is true. A woman, who prefers to remain anonymous, told news outlets in her Colorado home town that she was fostering a litter of orphaned Lab-mix puppies and the runt of the litter, named Tubbs, was refusing to eat.

"I didn’t know what else to do, I was desperate and I just couldn’t bear sitting there watching it die,” she said of the pup who wouldn’t take a bottle or puppy formula. “I just felt like he just had an hour left. That’s how weak he was, he wasn’t moving and I just did it.” As the mother of a 15-month-old (human) daughter, she did what came naturally, but swears she only gave Fido the boob when she felt like she had exhausted all other options and his life was in peril. (Happy ending update: Tubbs is reportedly thriving and is no longer nursing.)

I have so many questions for this woman: What made her even think to try this? Was she concerned about passing an animal disease to her daughter, who is also presumably still nursing? Does Tubbs prefer the Boppy or the Brest Friend? According to the family's vet, "There are things that can be passed from puppies to babies," but in this instance, as far as medical professionals can tell, baby and puppy did not mix.

Seriously, though, this is hardly the first example of inter-species feeding: We’ve all heard the feel-good stories of the Cavalier King Charles who nursed the lost kitten back to health or the Dachshund who rescued three newborn piglets, or even this chimpanzee lovingly feeding a bottle of milk to a baby tiger.

And among humans, wet nursing – the act of a mother breastfeeding another woman’s child – goes back to Victorian times (and as recently as 2009, when Salma Hayek nursed a malnourished boy in Sierra Leone). We even have modern day milk banks where moms can help each other out. Obviously people are grossed out (and perhaps rightfully so) by the human-puppy ick factor .

Do you think nursing moms should just stick to nursing human babies?

PHOTO: The Nest