It was the morning of July 3, and Banner the service dog knew something was very, very wrong. She insisted her handler, Whitney Braley, follow her into the woods for a reason that Braley couldn’t at first understand.
Braley, from Menlo, Georgia, said her service dog’s behavior is normally impeccable. So when Banner became visibly distressed, urging her to follow her, she figured she’d better listen.
It’s a good thing she did.
As Braley followed Banner’s full-throttle pace, she came upon a cardboard box, closed, and abandoned in the woods.
Peering into the box, she found seven tiny reasons why Banner had been so insistent.
“She raced into the woods and began circling this cardboard box,” Braley said. “I had no idea what would be in there.”
“But when I opened it up, Banner dived straight in and pulled out this tiny white kitten.”
Braley said she thought the kittens were dead — they were freezing and laying silently at the bottom of the box. She estimated the kittens to be around one day old.
Braley was heartbroken to realize the kittens had been intentionally removed from their mother and abandoned to die a callous death.
“Someone must have just put them into a cardboard box, closed the lid tight and left them there to die,” she said.
“They probably thought that no one would ever discover them.”
Braley is now raising the seven kittens, under Banner’s constant supervision of course, until they are old enough to move to forever homes.
She says Banner is the hero of the story — without her, these kittens likely never would have made it.
“She just knew somehow,” Braley said. “She is a true hero.”
Braley said her dog has become a surrogate mother to the kittens, staying by their side constantly. Banner watches their every move, making sure all seven are accounted for.
Braley is disgusted by the coldhearted human who would dispose of an entire litter of kittens in such a heartless manner. But when she looks at Banner’s motherly gaze, her heart softens.
“But I’m so happy that now because of Banner, these kittens will go on to live their lives with loving families,” Braley said. “It warms my heart.”
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