Like humans, animals need to do more than sleep and eat to survive. They crave social interaction and friendships to live a happy life.
“Animals really respond to things, they find having friends entertaining,” Chris Murray, co-owner of Pennywell Farm in South Devon, England, told SWNS. “It’s part of animal enrichment.”
Murray saw this firsthand on his farm—when an unlikely friendship blossomed between two animals.
Pennywell is the home of Mr. Sparkles, a young miniature pig who was very tiny from birth. At 14 weeks old, the piglet was having trouble sleeping on the farm.
A very good morning to all our Pennywell Farmers on this glorious sunny day!
However, things turned around when Mr. Sparkles made a new best friend: Dainty the cow, who is also smaller than usual.
“Dainty was small when she was born, she was tiny, that’s why she’s called Dainty,” Murray said.
The cow and pig were born just two weeks apart, and were kept in pens right next to each other.
Mr. Sparkles and Dainty became inseparable friends, with the pig sneaking out to see his buddy.
“It’s funny that two small chaps have decided to pair up,” Murray said.
Their small stature gave these two adorable outcasts a common bond—and even made it an asset when Mr. Sparkles snuck out of his pen at night.
“He use to squeeze under the bars of the gate and sleep with Dainty,” Murray said. “He was the only one small enough to get through.”
When Dainty goes to sleep, Mr Sparkles will happily join her, and they eat together as well, he said.
Murray said this kind of cross-species friendship is a first, but he’s happy to see it.
“We haven’t had one of our pigs and cows being firm friends and [wanting] to be together before but it’s good for them,” he told SWNS.
“I’m very happy, they are both doing well.”
He added that since pigs are clean animals, they can’t contaminate the cow pen, so there’s no harm in letting the two hang out together—especially since they seem to keep each other happy.
“Everyone needs friends, don’t they?” Murray asked.
Mr. Sparkles and Dainty have become a favorite attraction at Pennywell Farm. They’re an unexpected but inseparable pair who prove that even animals are just looking for a friend who understands.
Dog and Duck
Mr. Sparkles and Dainty were not the only unusual parings.
In Essex, UK, when a poor duckling’s mother was killed by a fox, a Labrador came to its rescue.
After Dennis’ mother was mauled to death by a vicious vixen, the future of the little baby duck was looking grim.
When the less than a week-old duckling was found by Fred and its owner, Jeremy Goldsmith, the Labrador immediately displayed its affection to the duckling.
“It is amazing to see the two of them together. When we found Dennis he was quite frail and he clearly would not have survived another day on his own,” said Jeremy to The Daily Mail. “Fred, who has always been extremely loving, went straight up to him and began to lick the little bird clean.”
After the 44-year-old owner took the pair back, the two were inseparable. The two animals played together, slept together, and went swimming together in a nearby pond.
“Since then Dennis has not stopped following him around and Fred has pretty much adopted him,” said Jeremy. “Dennis snuggles up to Fred at night, he will clamber up on top of him and they even go swimming together—but Fred is a lot less graceful in the water,” said Jeremy.
Jeremy thought Fred made a difference in Dennis’ life.
“I don’t think the duckling would have made it without Fred—his loving nature really does make a difference,” said Jeremy.
The duckling was found in Mountfitchet Castle in Stansted. Jeremy was not only the owner of Fred, but hundreds of other rescued animals that were housed in the castle, and Fred didn’t just take up the role of a parent for Dennis.
“Fred grew up with all our 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,” said Jeremy.
For the past 40 years, Jeremy and his family have been the owners of the castle and its grounds.
“It will be interesting to see the duckling as he grows up,” said Jeremy. “He absolutely adores Fred so I am sure he will pick up some canine traits—I am expecting him to start barking and chasing cats.”