DUTCH VALLEY, N.B. -- A tiny duckling left behind by its mother has found an unlikely friend in a 12-year-old border collie.

Twelve ducklings hatched Saturday, on Allyson Mitton’s farm in Dutch Valley, N.B.

However, one struggled to break free from its shell.

“I went in to clean up the shells and everybody was running around, there was one shell with a hole, with a beak coming out, a bill coming out,” says Mitton.

Mitton left the egg where it was, hoping the duckling would make it out on its own. However, after a few hours, it became clear that wouldn’t happen.

The mother duck had moved her ducklings out of the nest, leaving the unhatched egg behind in the cold.

Mitton and her husband decided to help.

“It took over an hour. We picked piece by piece by piece until we finally got him out,” says Mitton.

Mitton could immediately tell the duckling was in distress.

“He had a twisted neck, his head was twisted right back around and his feet were atrophied. They were pulled in tight so he couldn’t walk, he kept falling over,” says Mitton.

The farmer contacted a friend, who knows a thing or two about ducks, and they got to work building a tiny neck brace and taping the duckling’s feet.

The duckling, named Eggbert, is a runner duck. That means, rather than waddle, he runs.

“By the next morning, his neck was straight and his little feet were out straight,” says Mitton.

Still, something was missing. Eggbert was in need of companionship, which is where Breya the border collie enters the story.

“My dog was going crazy and jumping at my feet, so I put the duck down and she just went right to it and cuddled right around it and he just snuggled right underneath of her and the rest is history,” says Mitton.

“As soon as he got in with her the peeping would stop and he'd settle right down.”

Eventually, Eggbert was reintroduced to his duck family, but Breya still keeps a close eye on her feathered friend.