Friendship Across Species

     I hope you will click on the orangutan and the hound at the bottom of this posting.  You will be taken to a video that depicts a beautiful friendship.  Not a friendship we would readily imagine, between two people, or even between a human and a beloved pet.  This unlikely-seeming friendship unites an orangutan and a dog!  And it is fascinating to behold.  According to the video’s narrator, orangutans and dogs are not normally interested in each other.  But when Suryia the orangutan met Roscoe the hound dog, it was love at first sight.

     I am fascinated by friendships between animals of different species.  I have read numerous accounts of what seem to be genuine and loving relationships between mammals of very different species.  Are particular species naturally compatible with certain other species?  Or is there just something in the personalities of the two individual animals that draws them together?  Or is it loneliness, a separation from others of one’s kind that drives two very different types of mammals together for some needed companionship? 

     And I wonder how similar animal friendships are to human friendships.  Are animal friends like human friends in that there is a special spark each feels for the friend that just isn’t there with most others?  

     I have watched this video several times, and I am moved by the great joyfulness of the orangutan.  He seems made for pleasure.  His every move conveys happiness in being alive.  He rolls over and over in the grass;  he splashes with abandon in the pool;  he hugs his arms behind his head and throws himself backward onto the grass;  he grabs a railing above his head and swings himself around and around from it.  He hugs the dog close, and, I swear, appears to be smiling! 

     When I watch Suryia, I feel a kinship with him.  How alike we are, I think, we humans and the orangutans.  I too have felt all I see  him express.  I am thankful that he is so happy, that he has a cherished friend with whom to play and share his natural exuberance on a daily basis.  And these two friends are fortunate to be cared for by a human couple who obviously love them and treat them kindly.

     I may tend to anthropomorphize, to attribute human qualities to animals who don’t actually have such feelings.  But with our fellow primates, I feel sure that I am looking in a mirror.  These animals truly are our close relatives.  They love, and they exhibit a wide range of feelings we humans know very well.

     When I watch this video, and I look into the eyes of Suryia, this close relative of mine, I wish him well.  I want the best for him and his fellow orangutans, these endangered species who love life so much.  I want them to be able to live in the joy that seems to be their birthright. –April Moore

Please click below:

The orangutan and the hound


6 Responses to “Friendship Across Species”

  1. Tanya Says:

    What a lovely story!!! Thanks, April. I’m smiling and smiling~

  2. Cindy Says:

    I love this video! Thanks for sharing April. Just makes me want to go visit so I can play too!

  3. Elizabeth Says:

    Wonderful! …and the gentle reminder that we are ALL made for pleasure (not in a hedonistic way, but in a joyful/appreciation-for-our-life way).

  4. mczilla Says:

    It’s not anthropomorphizing. Neuroscience and brain physiology tells us that at least some of what we actually have in common with the rest of the mammals are our feelings. They (usually) don’t have our abilities for reason or abstract thinking, but they sure have their personalities, and anyone who has ever had a beloved pet knows they are, for better or worse, essentially all unfiltered emotion.

  5. Barb Pequet Says:

    I keep coming back to watch this repeated times, to smile, to appreciate the spontaneous joy of the orangutan who has found a friend. That drop-over-backwards glee is mesmerizing.

    But each time in the back of my mind I wonder how these compassionate, thoughtful people could keep only one animal of each species with them. Aren’t most creatures social beings who seek to belong to a couple or a group of similar creatures? Surely this orangutan, the elephant and even the dog, members of species known to live in multigenerational groupings, herds or packs, would benefit from communicating with other animals like them.

    That issue aside, the video is a treat to behold. Thanks April!

  6. Todd Says:

    Orang loves dog. Another sign of how close they are to us! Sweet. Thanks, Todd

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