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Sparkles the pit bull is surrogate mother to African painted dogs at Kansas zoo

Updated: 2013-11-07T16:17:54Z

By Deb Gruver

The Wichita Eagle

The Sedgwick County Zoo got a heckuva Halloween treat – a litter of African painted dog pups.

But the pups’ mom, Mica, couldn’t produce milk. So a pit bull named Sparkles stepped in as a surrogate mother.

The 4-year-old Mica gave birth Oct. 31 to 11 puppies. Eight survived and are under veterinary intensive care.

After confirming that Mica was not producing milk, zoo staff removed the puppies from their nest box. The zoo then put out a call for lactating dogs who were close to weaning their own puppies, a news release from the zoo said.

Sparkles began her side job on Sunday.

“Using a surrogate provides a continual canine maternal presence that zoo staff could not provide. The presence provides sustenance and comfort,” the release Wednesday said.

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