In Anderson, South Carolina, animal control officer Michelle Smith thought she was just rescuing a barking Shih Tzu from a ravine.
Smith responded to a call about a yelping dog at the base of a steep embankment behind a Home Depot.
Upon approaching the small dog, however, she discovered the black and white canine, tangled in briars, was nursing an abandoned 5-week-old kitten. She had been barking to alert help to their location.
"I think it would have been okay for the dog to walk down the hill," Smith told Fox Carolina. "But I'm thinking that it just couldn't get back up with the kitten and I don't think it was willing to leave the kitten."
"It would be like one of us seeing a neglected or abandoned child and taking it under our wing," she told Fox News 10.
The dog and kitten were both taken to the Anderson County P.A.W.S., a shelter where the dog continued to care for the kitten as though it were her own. Volunteers bottle-fed the kitten to ensure she was getting enough nutrients, as the dog's milk was not enough.
They've since moved to a loving foster home — together.
"Good things happen all the time, but great happens seldom," Smith said. "This is enough to keep me going the next six or eight months."