(ANIMAL PICTURES/ANIMAL FAMILIES) We often hear stories of people adopting abandoned baby animals, but how often do you hear of a tiger who adopted piglets, or a gorilla who adopted a kitten? This beautiful photo gallery showcases the special relationship between inter-species families. From MSNBC’s Today, meet furry, four-legged moms who adopted, nursed and nurtured animals of completely different species. — Global Animal
1. Shar-Pei & Tiger Cubs
The first mom up is Cleopatra, a Shar-Pei dog who ‘adopted’ two baby tigers in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia on June 4, 2012. The tigers, whose mother refused to feed them, found an unusual wet nurse, a wrinkled, sand-colored Shar Pei dog named Cleopatra. The cubs were born in late May in a zoo at the October health resort in Sochi.
2. Cat & Puppies
Smaigel the cat nurses her kittens and four puppies at her owner Mohammad Al-Hamoury’s house in Amman, Jordan in February 2009. Smaigel took it upon herself to care for the puppies after their mother died in a car accident.
3. Golden Retriever & Bengal Tiger Cubs
Isabella, a golden retriever in Kansas who adopted three white Bengal tiger cubs and nursed them as her own. The tiger cubs — Nasira, Anjika and Sidani — needed somewhere to turn because their mother stopped nursing them 15 hours after their birth. Zookeepers Tom and Allie Harvey brought the cubs home, and their dog Isabella stepped right up.
4. Dog & Wild Boar
Laska the Alsatian immediately viewed it as her mission to nurture two tiny, abandoned wild boars who were close to death when they were found in Hamburg, Germany in March 2010. The baby boars — dubbed Alice and Emma — were brought to the home of the Heckers, Laska’s owners. Because of their small size, baby boars can’t stay warm enough alone at night to keep alive. Laska focused on snuggling up against them to keep them warm, cleaning them with her tongue and picking them up whenever they toppled over.
5. Siamese & Puppies
A Siamese cat named Amanda, owned by Debbie Girting of Beaver, Pa., is shown here nursing her two newborn kittens along with an orphaned litter of puppies in March 2010. Lucy, Girting’s Maltese Pomeranian dog, gave birth to seven pups on March 7, and Amanda’s kittens were born on the exact same day. Sadly, four days later, Lucy had a seizure and died. Amanda stepped right up and adopted the puppies as her own.