Celebrating Mother’s Day with baby goats, kittens and puppies

What do a goat named Crow, a dog named Umami and a cat named Bayley have in common? They’re all moms, and we’re celebrating Mother’s Day 2018 with them at the Sanctuary.

Despite difficult pasts, these moms are incredibly loving and nurturing, and now that they’re at Best Friends, these mothers and their “kids” (17 baby animals in all) have much brighter futures.

A Nigerian dwarf goat named Crow and three kids

She may have the name of a large bird, but as far as goats go, Crow is rather petite, even if she’s still carrying a bit of extra baby weight. The little Nigerian dwarf goat and two others came to Best Friends from another rescue organization after they were impounded from their home by animal control.

Crow, who is about four years old, has clearly put her past behind her. She settled right into Horse Haven, and promptly gave birth to the first baby goats ever born at the Sanctuary. Crow is patient, nurturing and protective of Erin, Eli and Ethan, her three curious, climbing babies. When they aren’t nursing or cuddled up to their mom or napping, Erin, Eli and Ethan are exploring their world in the delightfully bouncy, playful way that only baby goats can play.

Erin the goat with two babies and licking the head of one of them

Umami the “mommy dog” and her eight puppies

​Mama Umami experienced a lot of uncertainty in the earliest days of raising her puppies. She and her eight babies were surrendered to a Best Friends Network partner when the puppies were only a few days old. Even in those turbulent early days, Umami took wonderful care of her puppies and loved every person who gave her attention and care.

Before moving to Dogtown, the family spent a few weeks in a Best Friends foster home. There, Umami was nicknamed “Sunshine” because she was such a happy mother who made her babies her number one priority. Because she is so sweet and social, Umami took her recent life changes in stride while doting on her roly-poly pups.

Umami the mother dog looking at the camera while her puppy Canape sniffs her mouth

When a litter of puppies arrives at the Sanctuary, Dogtown caregivers name them by using themes. Not only is it fun, but it helps distinguish members of one litter from another. That's how this litter became known as the gourmet litter. Umami’s eight pups (four boys and four girls) are named Amuse-bouche, Canapé, Ceviche, Gremolata, Hamachi, Pomodora, Tandoori and Vindaloo ― all for different dishes.

Besides having fancy food names, the puppies are playful, curious and ready to learn about the world. And because they have such a nurturing mother and they’ll soon be moving to Dogtown’s puppy preschool, they’re off to a great start in life.

A woman sitting on the ground with Umami the mother dog and her puppies

Bayley and her kittens

Bayley was practically still a baby herself when she gave birth to six kittens under a porch. While Bayley was doing her best to care for herself and her babies under the circumstances, she was struggling. But her life got a lot better when she arrived at Best Friends and settled into a safe and cozy room at Cat World.

Bayley the tabby cat looking at the camera with her kittens below her

Even though she is barely a year old, Bayley has been an amazing mom to her happy, healthy kittens: Brave, Bacchus, Bane, Bridgette, Baxter and Balor. Though she is sweet with people and seems to like other cats well enough, she is protective and attentive around her babies. In fact, Bayley seemed to enjoy being a mother so much that she continued to nurse them past the time that most cat mothers would have begun to wean them.

Three of Bayley the cat's kittens sleeping in a pile together on some blankets

Caregivers have begun separating her from her kittens at mealtimes so that the kittens can learn to eat solid food. Soon, the whole kitty family will be spayed, neutered and, like the goat kids, puppies and their wonderful loving mothers, on their way to forever homes. Although the families’ futures were once uncertain, they now have the very best chance at long and happy lives.

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Photos by Molly Wald and Kurt Budde