By ALICE COWDREY – The Nelson Mail
Been and kittens, COLIN SMITH/Nelson Mail
TO HELL AND BACK:
Shooting victim Been the dog is self-appointed dad to four motherless kittens, bathing them and putting them to bed.
A dog who survived being shot in the head three times has fully recovered, and now spends much of his time playing doting dad to a litter of kittens.
When Been was found, he was 10 kilograms underweight, but now the mongrel weighs a healthy 27kg and enjoys tending to four kittens who are being bottle-fed after being rejected by their mother. After the three-week-old kittens are fed, Been licks them clean. If they are not locked up at night, he picks them up and puts them in his basket.
“He’s just a big sook,” says his new owner Jaine Reynolds, a Nelson SPCA administrator. Been may have been alone for days before being found in Marlborough’s Wairau Valley by a pig hunter in February with bullet holes in his head. The only thing that reflects his sad past is a small pink scar. Ms Reynolds said she fell in love with Been after taking him home to recover from an operation to fix the large wound.
He quickly slotted into life with his new family, becoming great mates with Ms Reynolds’ other dog Max and her two adult cats. “He’s just a big gentle boy and doesn’t do anything wrong. I was surprised with how quickly he bounced back and how trusting he is.” Been is deaf, but Ms Reynolds believes he was born with the impairment. She said nobody had contacted the SPCA to claim him, and he had no microchip.
It is unclear what the circumstances around the shooting were, but Ms Reynolds said it was likely that Been was shot after his previous owner got sick of him or their circumstances had changed. After he was found and taken to the Nelson SPCA, the obedient pooch gained his name because he had “been very lucky”.