Sometimes, the bond between humans and animals goes far beyond the conventional relationship of a man and his dog. Although kittens, puppies, bunnies and birds make excellent companions, the list doesn't stop there. For some, the comfort of a loving friendship with a pig, a cow or a chicken is just as wonderful, unforgettable and unbreakable. Farm animals are highly intelligent, loyal and loving - just as much as the dogs and cats we know so well.
Here are some examples of beautiful friendships between humans and non-humans. These animals exist as unmistakable proof that all life deserves love.
Esther the Wonder Pig and her dads
Esther is one inspirational pig. Alone, she helped her human companions not only to discover veganism, but also to open up their very own sanctuary for rescued farm animals. Originally thought to be a 'mini pig', Esther shocked her companions as she continued to grow to an enormous size! She has a strong social media presence and, with her beautiful smile and loving disposition, Esther the Wonder Pig has influenced people around the world to become vegan.
The unbreakable bond between Esther and her dads is often expressed through warm cuddles and heartwarming smiles, as demonstrated in the photo below. Esther also has an amiable relationship with her feline and canine companions - they're all just as enthusiastic about cuddles as her human friends!
|Esther with her loving family|
"The unbreakable bond between Esther and her dads is often expressed through warm cuddles and heartwarming smiles."
Gevan is a beautiful highland heifer with fur of ginger and spun gold. Her companion, Sharon, is the highly dedicated and loving owner-operator of C-A-L-F Sanctuary. Gevan is one of many beloved rescues. Together, the two make an inseparable pair. Gevan's name, an anagram of vegan, is fitting - she's a compassionate and loving girl who adores the company of her human and non-human companions.
Sharon first discovered Gevan alone in a field and was heart-wrenched with sadness and despair. She promised she'd do whatever she could to help the poor girl - and that she did. Sharon saved Gevan from a life of loneliness and suffering, and the adorable, fluffy cow is clearly grateful. Every time Sharon visits Gevan in her field, she raises her head in anticipation, and she gazes longingly after her friend every time she leaves.
|Sharon and Gevan|
Milkshake and Beth
Milkshake, a 544kg cow, spent almost the entirety of her life cruelly confined within a pen no wider than three metres long and three metres wide from only two weeks of age. Unlike the majority of these wonderful animals, Milkshake was lucky - she was rescued by the Grace Foundation, an organisation dedicated to saving the lives of abused and neglected farm animals.
Beth DiCaprio and Milkshake have an enviable friendship built on a strong foundation of love, trust and gratitude. Milkshake is eternally grateful for Beth's gentle care - she is known for following her all around the ranch! In a YouTube video by the Grace Foundation, Milkshake can be seen jovially skipping along, never straying far from her beloved caretaker and friend.
"Beth DiCaprio and Milkshake have an enviable friendship built on a strong foundation of love, trust and gratitude."
Opie was a treasured member of the Farm Sanctuary family for 18 years. Over twenty years ago, in 1990, Opie was saved from a short lifetime of commodification and suffering. When Gene Baur found Opie left for dead, shivering in the wintry breeze, he chose to save the innocent baby's life. Opie was treated by a veterinarian and went on to make a full recovery. Opie's peaceful spirit radiated around the sanctuary, bringing joy to all - especially Gene.
The time of Opie's passing was difficult for Gene, but his lasting impact and memories he left behind will live on forever. Their friendship remains strong despite Opie's absence in the living world. The love shared between these two kindred spirits is demonstrated perfectly in the image below.
|Gene and Opie share a memorable moment|
Hank, a 15-pound broiler rooster, was loved by all at Catskill Farm Sanctuary. His calming demeanor and loving attitude was infectious, and all who met him fell in love. Hank's love, however, was directed primarily towards one woman - Jenn Mackey, Catskill's Animal Care Coordinator.
Although Hank is no longer with us, his relationship with Jenn Mackey lives on through memories, photos and beautiful words. Every morning, Jenn would warmly greet the majestic bird, and he would call back every time without fail. Hank would softly bury his head in Jenn's arms, or rest his head on her chest and wrap his feathery wings protectively around her.
Here's a wonderful quote from Jenn:
"Hank has taught me so much more than any book or study ever could about the emotional capacity of chickens. I can't really find the words to express how much I love him."
Despite common belief, farm animals are just as capable of love and complex emotion as any other animal on Earth - including humans. As demonstrated in the above photographs, the friendships formed between humans and farm animals can be just as strong as the relationship you may have with your feline or canine companion. Cats, dogs, chickens, cows, humans, sheep, pigs and all the rest are all deserving of respect, freedom and love.
And how can we give these innocent, benevolent beings the happiness they deserve?