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Staffy Adopts & Raises Baby Magpie as Her Own

Unlikely friendship warms hearts worldwide

By: Isabelle Orr

Last Updated:

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Photos Juliette Wells

Everyone knows opposites attract, but two entirely different species? Not so much. In the case of Molly the Magpie and Peggy the Staffordshire Bull terrier, however, the two animals have formed an inseparable mother-daughter bond.

Queensland, Australia couple Juliette Wells and Reece Mortensen were out walking Peggy when they found a baby bird on the ground. “She was very weak and very, very tired,” says Mortensen. They tried to reunite the baby bird with her parents, waiting hours, but were unsuccessful, so they brought the bird home to nurse her back to health.

Initially, Peggy didn’t know what to make of the baby bird, whom they named Molly. While her owners kept a watchful eye, Peggy worked up the courage to get closer and closer. “They’d just lie next to each other, not touching,” Wells recalls. “And then one day I looked down, and they were both snuggled down on the floor together. From then on, it was just always snuggling together, and they were never apart. It was so beautiful.”

Peggy took Molly’s care into her own paws—and then some. “Two weeks later, Peggy was producing milk for this baby magpie and the magpie was drinking the milk,” Wells told 7NEWS. Their vet said this is the result of a “phantom pregnancy” and not uncommon in female dogs taking on a nurturing role; Peggy thought Molly was her baby and was producing milk in the same way as if she’d had puppies despite not being pregnant.

From there, Peggy became very protective of Molly. Sunbathing, rain-watching, grooming, or just grabbing a nap, the duo does it side-by-side. Even chew toys are shared between the two! “Wherever Peggy goes, Molly is chasing behind her. Peggy’s brought her up, and she copies everything Peggy does,” says Mortensen. Molly has even begun “barking” like a dog to mimic Peggy.

“We thought it was Peggy barking, but when we looked over at her, she was fast asleep, says Wells. “Then we saw and heard it coming from Molly. We started laughing so much because it sounded so much like Peggy. I couldn't believe it.”

Wells and Mortensen have created an Instagram account @peggyandmolly to show their friendship. “In these times, especially in Melbourne and Sydney where they’ve been in lockdown for quite a while, people are looking for something positive,” Wells says.

While Molly is uncaged and free to make a family of her own, the couple—and Molly, of course—would be happy to house her forever. Although they leave doors and windows open, it seems Molly isn’t going anywhere—even with changes to the family dynamic.

Peggy gave birth to a litter of six puppies on August 6th. Molly refused to leave her side throughout the pregnancy and quickly became an “aunt,” playing with the puppies and keeping them out of trouble whenever Peggy needed alone time. While nearly all the puppies were adopted, Molly remained—best friends forever.


Last Updated:

By: Isabelle Orr
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