Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Mothering and friendships between different species

Interactions between animals have always interested me, and over the years I've seen evidence of tenderness, friendship and mothering between different species.

Our German shepherd Del fell in love with her calf friend Bailey, licking the milk froth from around her lips during and after the calf sucked her twice-daily milk feed. Afterwards, they played chasey around the paddock, taking it in turns to chase. Major Mitchell, my 60 kg German shepherd gives big slurping kisses to Katie Siamese and Stego my stumpy-tailed lizard.

Great Dane, Gem, mothered an orphaned lamb, letting the lamb sleep nestled close to her, and even letting it suckle. Our Irish setter dog Albert, mothered many orphaned lambs, and wouldn't let any other dog near his lamb. Years ago when I reared orphaned kangaroo and wallaby joeys, our Irish setters licked them clean and let the joeys snuggle up in their soft, silky feathering.

Our Irish setter bitch Karli had a delightful friendship with our pet budgie, who lived free in our home. Shamrock rode on Karli's back like a jockey and preened the feathering around our setter's ears -- even scolding our Irish if she dared move.

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