It’s not uncommon to hear of a dog taking in and mothering an animal of another species. Dogs are known to be nurturing and kind foster parents. That proved to be the case when a German Shepherd named Sandra, who was living at a Russian wildlife park, took in two lion cubs who were in need of a foster mom.
The cubs were born to a first-time lion mother at the White Lion Park in Vladivostok, Russia. However, their mother, Sirona, began to display worrisome behavior that caused the staff to question her ability to parent. The staff wrote in a post on Instagram that the cubs had become “extremely emaciated and dehydrated.” They noted that they were afraid Sirona wouldn’t be a great mom, though they gave her a chance to prove them wrong. They were then faced with a hard decision and chose to take the cubs and give them to Sandra to see if she would mother them instead.
Not only did Sandra immediately take the cubs in as her own, but she went as far as to nurse them with her own milk.
Removing the cubs from their mother was not an easy decision for the staff. The staff were worried for the cubs safety and questioned if they could survive without intervention. The behavior Sirona displayed was far from normal and was quite concerning. DailyMail even noted that the lioness actually bit her own cubs, resulting in a small injury.
The timing worked out perfectly, however, because Sandra had recently given birth to her own puppy, and was expecting to have several puppies to care for. As such, she was in full maternal mode and had plenty of milk to spare. According to DailyMail, park director Viktor Agafonov said that dog milk is perfectly suitable for lion cubs and has all the nutrients they need to thrive. He further shared that both cubs were latching and taking the milk without issues.
Sandra and the cubs share a strong, natural bond, though it’s not expected to last forever. Once Sandra runs out of milk, she’ll actually go home to her owners, as she was only staying at the park temporarily. The park announced that the female cub is named Sandra in honor of their foster mom, and the male cub is named Vector.
Maternal love truly knows no bounds.
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