Sweet Elderly Dog Adopts Third Set of Orphaned Ducklings: 'He Took to His Role Like a Duck to Water'


Labrador retrievers are known for their affinity for waterfowl — but generally it’s in a sporting sense as working dogs are bred to work alongside hunters, finding and returning downed fowl.

But Fred doesn’t know about that. Fred is a 15-year-old lab who certainly has the breed’s interest in ducks, but in a heartwarming, different sort of way: He has adopted and helped care for three separate groups of abandoned ducklings.

Fred lives in England, at the historical site and tourist destination known as Mountfitchet Castle in Essex. Owner Jeremy Goldsmith said that the dog has a way with other animals.

“Over the 15 years of owning him, Fred has spent a lot of time at the castle with the animals, and it has become second nature to him to be amongst the various rescued animals,” Goldsmith told SWNS, according to People.

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The first recorded interaction between the dog and ducklings was in 2018 when an abandoned group of nine babies was found on the castle grounds. Fred immediately took to them, being very gentle with them and “helping” care for them until they were big enough to fend for themselves on the grounds.

In 2019, he got another chance to foster more ducklings when a mother duck abandoned half her brood, leaving seven tiny babies behind to fend for themselves.

“Fred, the famous Labrador dog is not ducking out of his duties as he again steps in to foster seven day-old ducklings,” the castle posted on Facebook in May 2019. “The mother, a Muscovy duck, had fourteen babies but for some reason left half of them behind in the nest when she wandered off to the nearest pond with the other half of the ducklings dutifully following along behind her.”

“So only this morning, as soon as Fred was shown the little ducklings all huddled together, he instantly lay down around them to keep them warm much to the delight of the Castle’s owner and staff, who breathed a huge sigh of relief when they knew that dear old Fred was willing to step in.

“‘He took to his role like a duck to water.’

“Within minutes the ducklings accepted their odd looking new mum and were climbing all over him.”

But this year, the castle announced that aging Fred has just found his biggest group of orphans yet.

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“Our doting 15 year old Fred has become a Foster parent for the second time in 5 years,” Mountfitchet Castle posted on Tuesday. “But this time to 15 orphaned ducklings.”

“Well done Fred.”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking