(CBS) — It turns out Prince Harry and Meghan Markle aren’t the only public figures warming hearts in the British countryside this week. A dog named Fred, who lives in Essex — less than 100 miles from Sussex, the historic county of which Harry and Meghan were just named duke and duchess — has catapulted to internet stardom for starting a “modern family” of his own.

Fred, a 10-year-old Labrador, decided to “adopt” 9 little ducklings — and the brood is adorable. Fred is looking after the chicks at Mountfitchet Castle, a tourist attraction near the town.

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When the ducklings were discovered on the castle grounds, their mother was nowhere in sight. But then Fred took them in as if they were his own. Now, the 9 ducklings love to ride on Fred’s back and cuddle up to him. And because ducks need to swim, Fred often takes them to the castle’s moat for a dip.

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The ducklings love to ride on Fred’s back and he often takes them for a swim.  MOUNTFITCHET CASTLE

The castle is home to a number of rescued animals, but Fred is “the resident dog,” the BBC reports.

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“He’s got a lovely nature and has grown up around rescued animals,” said Fred’s owner, Jeremy Goldsmith. So, it was a natural step for Fred to take the ducklings under his wing — or rather, paw.