This dog adorably adopted 9 ducklings after their mom left

In the storied tradition of odd but adorable animal pairings, we have a cute story from across the pond. And speaking of ponds, it involves ducklings. Nine ducklings, in fact.

Staff at Mountfitchet Castle, a tourist attraction in Essex, United Kingdom, found a flock of ducklings orphaned on the castle grounds last week. But never fear, Fred is here! Who is Fred? He’s the Labrador retriever owned by the castle’s director Jeremy Goldsmith, and now he finds himself the father to a flock of fowl.

“Fred the resident dog at the Castle stepped up to the challenge when nine little ducklings became orphaned last Thursday,” the castle’s staff wrote in a Facebook video post featuring Fred and the baby birds. “The ducklings’ mum had disappeared and a member of staff found them waddling around the castle grounds alone. The team were very worried about the ducklings but Fred, a 10-year-old Labrador, immediately took to them and has been babysitting ever since.”

The castle’s staff explained that Fred took the ducklings swimming in the castle moat and even lets the ducklings sleep in his doggie bed at night with him. Needless to say, Doggy and the Ducklings have been a smash hit both in the UK and all over the world, as the initial video on Facebook has been viewed more than 36,000 times and has been picked up by everyone from BBC to People.

Because, I mean, just look at Fred with those ducklings:

“They absolutely adore him and he has now resigned himself to being a stay-at-home dad looking after the nine baby ducklings,” Goldsmith told BBC.

Goldsmith explained that Mountfitchet Castle has a lot of rescue animals around, so Fred is used to furry friends.

Goldsmith said Fred will likely be on duckling daddy duty for another few weeks, when the birds will then be old enough to care for themselves.

I think we can all agree we hope the ducks stay on the castle grounds and keep Fred company, so we get a lot more of this:

[H/t Insider]