If the animal kingdom was to appoint its own ambassador, the dog would surely be it – sociable, fun-loving, friendly and versatile. Dogs have lived alongside mankind for millennia, supporting and enhancing our lives in a virtually limitless range of ways.
However, us humans aren’t the only species that dogs provide a helping paw to. When it comes to weird animal friendships, the dog probably has more exotic buddies than most. Anyone who keeps a cat and a dog together will know all too well just how amazing it can be to see them playing, cuddling up and actively seeking each other out for company.
However, cats and dogs are only the beginning when it comes to weird animal friends. In this blog post, we’ll share six of the most unusual animal friendships involving dogs to demonstrate just what our favourite companions are capable of.
1. Dogs and Cheetahs
We’ve already mentioned the surprising friendships that can blossom between dogs and cats, but what about when the shoe is on the other foot and it comes to big cats. Cheetahs are a great example. It turns out that despite their size, speed and strength, cheetahs are actually very nervous animals, who don’t always thrive in captivity without a little help.
Puppies and cheetah kittens placed together while still young form strong bonds, which enables the cheetah to take the lead from their more outgoing canine companions. This allows them to relax and explore their worlds with a trustworthy pal close by to provide support and reassurance.
2. Bubbles the Elephant and Bella the Dog
Weird animal friendships can blossom in the most unlikely of places, and often produce amazing results. As is the case with funny animal friends Bella the Labrador and Bubbles the elephant at South Carolina’s Myrtle Beach Safari. Bubbles has lived at the safari since 1983, and first met then-puppy Bella when a contractor was called in to build her a new swimming pool in 2007.
Bella and Bubbles quickly formed an unlikely friendship, and when the contractor who introduced the two animals abandoned Bella at the park, their bond only grew stronger. Bella remains firm friends with Bubbles to this day.
3. The Fox and the Hound
Much as we usually think of dogs and cats as being natural enemies, traditionally there is no love lost between dogs and foxes either. Of course, foxes were historically hunted with dogs both in the UK and across the world.
However, in the frozen North of Norway, a dog called Tinni and a wild fox called Sniffer decided to redress the balance after a chance meeting while Tinni was out for a walk. Tinni’s owner Torgier Berge was right there to witness it, and take plenty of cute snapshots too!
As a result of seeing the ways in which Sniffer and Tinni interact and built up a firm friendship that endures to this day, Berge has become a leading campaigner against the fur trade. Berge has even published a book about these two unlikely pals, the proceeds from which will be used to support conservation and anti-fur campaigns.
4. Duggie the Dolphin and Ben the Dog
Labrador retriever Ben from Ireland helped lone dolphin Duggie to find happiness again after she lost her dolphin companion, and began to swim closer to the harbour of Tory Island in County Donegal seeking companionship.
Ben was ready to meet the challenge, and now swims straight out to meet Duggie on his daily walks, sometimes gathering some of his local dog friends up along the way to get in on the act as well! Duggie even helped Ben safely back to shore one day when he swam too far out and was too tired to make it safely back to land.
5. Mabel the Hen and her Adopted Puppies
Finally, there are plenty of stories out there about dogs making the first overtures of friendship across the species divide. Mabel the hen decided to reverse the roles when she became the unlikely instigator of a beautiful friendship between herself and a new canine family.
When Mabel decided that a litter of pups on her farm in Shrewsbury weren’t getting as much attention from their dam as she thought they deserved, Mabel stepped into the breach and took the pups under her wing – literally!
The litter’s canine mom, Nettle, was a little unsure about this development at the start, but ultimately realised the advantages of having free childcare on tap. This unusual co-parenting arrangement certainly helped to give the pups the best possible start in life.