Published: 00:01, 12 July 2016
An orphaned baby bird looks set to become an internet sensation after being taken under the wing of a two-year-old boxer dog called Rusty.
The chick, believed to be either an abandoned thrush or a blackbird, has been dubbed ‘birddog’ after falling out of its nest at Minster on the Isle of Sheppey.
Jurgita Peciulaityte, 34, who runs Heart Woodcraft from her home in Waverley Avenue, said: “The pair have become inseparable.
Video: Rusty and his new pal have become inseparable
“The chick has taken to hopping on Rusty’s back but that infuriates him because he can’t see where his new friend is. It drives him mad.”
A video of the pair playing soon turned her Facebook page into one of the Island’s most-visited sites.
She has since set up Rusty’s own Facebook page Rusty The Gentle Giant.
Jurgita, a Lithuanian who moved to Britain 15 years ago and has set up home with tree surgeon Leon Butcher, said: “I was in my workshop in the garden when I realised Rusty had found himself a little mate.
“I heard him barking excitedly, like he had found a cat, and discovered he was looking at this little bird which had fallen out of its nest.
“As soon as I approached, the bird opened its beak so I found some earthworms which it gobbled down.”
At first the bird was kept in a shoe box but it now lives in a temporary nest in a potted tree indoors.
Jurgita said: “It was hopping about the house and looked up at the plant so I built a little nest for it.
“When it gets hungry it jumps down. It is still too young to fly but it hops onto Rusty’s back when he’s lying down. When he stands up to see the bird he ends up going round and round in circles searching for it. It’s hilarious.”
The former dental nurse added: “Rusty is very gentle and caring and doing a great job of being a daddy but sadly is no help with digging for worms. He will be one sad puppy when the birdie flies the nest.”
She said: “The bird is eating us out of house and home. We give it meal worms, boiled eggs and earth worms but you wouldn’t believe how difficult it is to find worms in the garden when you need them!
“Leon was going to put the bird back in its nest but all the other birds have flown and there is no sign of its mother.”