When nine adorable ducklings were left without a mother, a kind-hearted dog stepped up to take on the responsibility.
Fred, a 10-year-old labrador, started to care for the ducklings after staff at Mountfitchet Castle in Essex noticed them wandering around the grounds alone last Thursday.
Fred belongs to one of the owners of the tourist spot, Jeremy Goldsmith, and has been taking his new parenting role very seriously.
“We brought the ducklings into the house as they are too young to fend for themselves, and Fred just took them under his paw - rather than his wing,” Jeremy told BBC Essex. “He’s got a lovely nature and has grown up around rescued animals.”
Staff at the castle do not know where the ducklings’ mother has gone and she seems to have disappeared from the site.
But the little ones are doing well, sleeping alongside Fred in his dog basket, dutifully following him around the grounds and clambering up on his back and head.
A video of the new family, posted on Facebook by Mountfitchet Castle, shows the ducklings sitting at the pooch’s feet quite contently.
Could they be any cuter?