A 53kg rottweiler has farewelled an abandoned kitten he has protected since it was just days old.
Pinky will be rehomed to his forever family by the Bayfair/Papamoa Vets after his litter was dumped under the Sandhurst overpass last month.
The vets put a post on Animals of Tauranga's Facebook page asking for someone to take on the trio of kittens whose eyes had not opened and needed to be bottle fed around the clock.
Dog trainer Chelles McIntosh stepped up and from the outset her rottweiler Bear bonded with the tiny bundles of fur, licking them clean and lying outside the bedroom door where they slept in a heated cat cage.
"None of my other dogs were allowed near his kittens. Bear is an absolute mother hen when it comes to babies."
View video footage of Bear looking after the kittens here.
About two weeks ago the boisterous canine went into "panic mode" after Inky then Ponky started having seizures and had to be put to sleep, she said.
"He was gutted and definitely went through a grieving process and was really upset."
On Tuesday Ms McIntosh and Bear dropped Pinky at the vets so he could say goodbye without her having "to sneak him out the door".
"I will miss the little horror because I have actually grown really attached but it opens up space for me to foster some more."
Bayfair and Papamoa Vets' nurse Mel Bason said Pinky would be put up for adoption on its Facebook page.
So far this year it had rehomed about 20 kittens with the associated costs including food and treatments often picked up by staff.
"We are just trying to our bit really and have had some good donations from a couple of really cool clients."
Hannah Cobb from Tauranga SPCA said about 2000 animals were re-homed and put up for adoption in 2016 compared with 1500 the year before.
Cats, kittens, dogs, puppies and rabbits made up most of its animals although turtles had turned up as strays.
The SPCA encouraged new pet owners to consider all aspects of owning pets including feeding, time commitments and being in a financial position to provide vaccinations and veterinary treatments.
Alternatively fostering was another option, she said.