Meet Fred and Dennis, the most unlikely family in Essex

MEET the unlikeliest family in Essex: Dennis the duck and his “father” Fred, a golden Labrador.

Dennis was found abandoned next to the brook near Mountfitchet Castle in Stansted after his mother was killed by a fox.

Worries about how he would keep warm and clean on such a cold day were soon dispelled when four-year-old Fred immediately took over the situation and thoroughly washed him from beak to bottom which sent the orphaned duckling into a contented sleep snuggled up against him.

They have been inseparable ever since.

Jeremy Goldsmith, owner of the Mountfitchet Castle, said “Fred grew up with all the other animals and has such a loving nature that he always fathers any orphans, he even took over looking after Lupin a Fallow deer when she was tiny.”

Dennis will join the rest of the animals that already live at the historic castle where they are hand fed by visitors. Many of the resident animals have been rescued over the years and come from less fortunate backgrounds including Fallow deer, goats, sheep, chickens and of course ducks.

Mountfitchet Castle is open every day until November including all weekends and bank holidays.