ORPHANED kittens rescued by a Hounslow charity are in the capable paws of an exceptional male dog.
The three little ones, born on St Patrick's Day, are snuggling up to unsual mother figure Rockne Young who is working hard to see them through the delicate first few weeks.
The aptly named Seamus, MacPanda and Shamrock were found in the bins of the Karmarama Cafe in Twickenham.
Carol Atkinson, trustee and treasurer of the Hounslow Animal Welfare Society, said: "They (staff) said the kittens seemed cold so they scooped them up and we went down there with a trap to find the mother but to date we don't know where she is. They were taken straight to our vets because they needed to be warmed up and fed and then we wondered who was going to rear the little orphans."
Luckily for the new arrivals a friend of the society offered to take them home to look after them, her dog Rockne has a history of taking good care of young creatures.
Since they arrived, the 12-year-old canine has taken responsibility for them, letting them nest in his fur to stay warm.
Ms Atkinson said: "He is doing all the things that have to be done. Very young kittens can't go to the toilet and they have to have their tummies licked to remind them it is time to go or they will die, so he is doing all of that apart from the feeding obviously. I think it is a fairly unusual situation. We have had times where orphaned kittens have been taken on by a female cat. He is just absolutely adorable, I believe he was a rescue dog as well."
The society hopes the kittens will survive in the care of Rockne and his owner Barbara Young who kindly offered to take them on, but Ms Atkinson says it is early days.
She added: "Normally we don't name them at this stage because it can be touch and go, but so far so good. It is so sad that we haven't found the mother."