CAMAGUEY, Cuba — Yeti the dog already had a litter of pups to care for when the piglets adopted her as a second mom.
Ever since then, the Cuban farm dog has been pulling double-duty, nursing not just her own young but also the 14 swine.
Farmer Mannorkys Santamaria said the piglets also take milk from their mothers, but when they see Yeti, they run to her for a meal. On a recent day the young porkers followed her around the farm as if she were their real mother.
“No one imposed this on the dog,” Santamaria said. “The piglets discovered this on their own and began nursing with her when they turned 15 days old.”
Santamaria, 35, and his wife Eida Fernandes, 40, raise pigs, chickens, doves and turkeys on their small farm in the eastern province of Camaguey. There are also several mixed-breed dogs who have showed up on the property over the years and stayed.
So far, Yeti is the only one to become an adopted mother to pigs. Fernandes said she doesn’t seem to mind. All but one of Yeti’s biological offspring have been given away, and the one pup remaining nurses alongside the swine.
“When the piglets ventured outside their pen, it seems they smelled the dog’s milk and began screaming at her,” Fernandes said. “In the beginning we didn’t think the dog would let them suckle, but they insisted so much they ended up nursing with her.”