A huge dog with a lot of love to give has become a father to a rather unusual child – an orphaned piglet on the farm. Duke the English bullmastiff has adopted a baby pig and now dotes on his every need, even washing the tiny creature after it plays in the mud.
Duke’s breed has been known to attack squealing pigs, so they’re often kept apart, but this giant pooch has become one lucky porker’s unlikely groomer. An adorable video shows three-month-old Ivan lying on his side while the gentle giant licks his stomach to clean him – and Duke doesn’t appear to miss a spot.
Brightside Farm Sanctuary posted the adorable video on Facebook where it’s been viewed more than 90,000 times.
The sanctuary added a warning to the video urging people not to test this bond with other animals as “most bull breed dogs would have no hesitation in killing the piglet’.”
Saddleback pig Ivan was given to the sanctuary in Tasmania, Australia, after his mum rolled over and crushed his shoulder and leg.
Since meeting Duke, sanctuary director Rebecca Holmes says the dog has taken over as the piglet’s parent.
The 36-year-old has hailed their “special bond” and says the video is incredible to see as “the laws of nature don’t appear to apply”.
Rebecca, from Tasmania, Australia, said: “It’s rather disconcerting at first because Ivan is just lying there.
“You think there’s a terrible accident, but when you look at his face he’s really enjoying it. They’d been out running around and Ivan had been a bit dirty so Duke decided to clean him. We think it’s just to groom him.”
“It’s incredible to see. There’s animals you see that have a great relationship that just shouldn’t and this is one of them. It’s like the usual laws of nature just don’t apply. Duke looks happy to look after him. He’s a lovely dog that just wants to love and be loved, so having a buddy like that is really nice.”
“He’s taking on a parent role after Ivan was separated from his mum, they’ve got a special bond.”
Brightside is a 50-acre sanctuary that rescues and rehabilitates all sorts of animals, from cats to camels.
Ivan and Duke live in sanctuary founder Emma Haswell’s on-site home, where she keeps animals that require a higher level of care.
Duke only has 40 percent of his vision and needs regular medication so he can live pain-free, while the sanctuary are trying to aid Ivan’s growth despite his crushed side.
They hope Ivan will grow to be as big as Duke but for now he enjoys spending time sitting on his adoptive parent’s back and being groomed.
The video of the bullmastiff washing him racked up more than 2,500 likes and more than 100 comments.
Brightside’s Facebook post reads: “This beautiful weather meant it is extra hard work washing a pig. Duke decided to wash Ivan yesterday. Ivan loved every minute of it. The Brightside animals never cease to amaze me.
“It’s not a good thing to try at home. Most bull breed dogs would have no hesitation in killing the piglet. In fact most breeds full stop. Especially if they squeal.”