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20 Unusual Animal Friendships That Will Amaze You

20 Unusual Animal Friendships That Will Amaze You

As humans, we try to be careful about who and how we pick our friends. We learn this at an early age, and try our best to make sure we’re choosing friends with the same values and goals, as well as someone who lift us up. You try hard to make sure you show your friends the best of who you are, and hope they let their true colors shine bright too. Overall, picking and making friends can be a hard affair.

For animals, given the right scenario, they get to skip all the games we humans play. They see straight to the greatness of each other’s hearts. Granted, just like finding your own best friend, animals have to be given the right opportunity to get to know each other and bond. When this happens, it’s one of the most beautiful things we can see. It provides hope and inspiration that maybe one day we’ll be able to be just as blind to what the outside looks like and just see the beauty within.

Here are 20 animal friendships to help brighten your day.

Tiger Labs

    This South African Labrador, Lisha, is well known for her mothering skills at the Oudtshoorn’s Cango Wildlife Ranch. Over the years, she’s bridged the trust gap between cheetahs, pot-bellied pigs, a pygmy hippo, a barn owl, and (more recently) these two tiger cubs.

    Pondi

      Meet Indigo and Poldi, a friendship which warms your heart to no end. Indigo, the shepherd, and her little owl friend were captured in this photo series by photographer, Tanja Brandt.

      Tiger and Pup

        The little tiger cub, Zoya, befriended a zoo employee’s dog after she was rejected by her mother. The duo is exactly the same age at three months old, and play together in a special enclosure at the zoo.

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        CHeetah

          Brought together in Busch Gardens when they were both three months old, Kasi (Cheetah) and Mtani (Labrador) have no idea they wouldn’t normally be friends. Raised together in a special environment designed just for them, the two have been happy siblings into adulthood.

          LIttle Family

            On a farm in Texas, this odd little family shows the true meaning of family, and how it can consist of all types of creatures – great and small. The Siamese Cat plays mama to her little flock of chicks, while she snuggles up with the pit bull who play the father figure to the small family.

            Roo and Penny

              Being a part of the same species doesn’t matter, especially when you’re the best of friends like Penny and Roo, a two-legged Chihuahua. Penny is a Silkie Chicken who met Roo when he was brought to the animal shelter after being abandoned in a local park. Cold and wet, Penny took it upon herself to help warm him up. The two have been together ever since.

              Lion Tiger and bear

                Leo, Sher Kahn, and Baloo–a lion, tiger, and bear trio–were raised together as cubs and later rescued together from a drug baron’s home. When they were moved to Noah’s Ark Rescue Center in Locust Grove, GA the keepers decided to keep them together. Now the three live and play together, regardless of the their differences – and happy as ever.

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                Elephant and dog

                  Meet Bubbles and Bella, a happy pair despite their size differences. Bubbles was brought to the US after being rescued from ivory poachers.

                  Giraffe

                    Bea and Wilma share a 65-acre enclosure at Busch Gardens. With enough space provided to them, they are hardly forced to spend time together, but the two are closely connected and rarely apart.

                    fox and dog

                      Tinni met Sniffer, a wild fox, in a forest in Norway. Now Tinni’s owner, Torgeir Berge, does his best to keep up and let the two play together as often as possible, allowing him to catch their happy moments on film.

                      lion and dog

                        Milo, the Dachshund, adopted Bonedigger when the lion was just a cub. Now, 500lbs later, Bonedigger is still spending his time with the little dog. Apparently, this little puppy’s heart is bigger than the little cub he cares for.

                        Bambi

                          No one really knows the story behind this wild pairing, they were captured on film by a wildlife photographer. Regardless, the real life images of Bambi and Thumper will warm your heart.

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                          hedgehog

                            Love knows no bounds. This mama cat took in this little hedgehog (and about 3 of his siblings), alongside her own kittens, when they were orphaned. The little family bonded and can be seen snuggled together on various blogs.

                            Blue Tick

                              Suryia and Roscoe are two you might recognize from last year’s Super Bowl Android commercial. Roscoe, though not endangered like Suryia’s orangutan brethren, lives with his best friend at an endangered species reserve in the US. Roscoe followed Suryia and her handlers home and, seeing as it appeared he didn’t have anywhere to go, they adopted him into the little family. The orangutan and blue tick hound have been fast friends ever since.

                              Tiger Monkey

                                Anjana, the Chimp, has helped her caretaker, China York, with more than a few orphaned babies. These two white tiger cubs were separated from their mother when the enclosure flooded. Luckily for them, they’ve been adopted by a US Animal Reserve. Her generosity of heart just shows how love is a universal language between not only humans, but all creatures.

                                Froggy Friend

                                  Every year in India, monsoons flood parts of the country. Thanks to a froggy friendship, this little mouse managed to keep his head above water. The little guy’s friend kept him safe when the rains arrived early that year.

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                                  Polar Bear

                                    It was a total surprise to photographer Norbert Rosing, when this polar bear arrived on the scene. Usually, a polar bear would mean the end to the sled dogs tethered nearby, but not in this case. After a friendly greeting was exchanged, the two spent the afternoon playing, wrestling, and cuddling.

                                    Sheep

                                      This young elephant snuggles up to his pen mate, a sheep. Themba, the baby elephant, lost his mother when she fell down a cliff. He was later rescued and taken to a reserve, but after he refused to nurse from a foster mother he was hand-fed in order to remain healthy. His first meeting with Albert the sheep was a bit over-zealous, forcing the sheep to take shelter in a special enclosure. However, the baby elephant’s curiosity and gentle trunk touch soon coaxed his newest herd mate out, and they’ve been together since. Exploring most days with Themba’s trunk across Albert’s back.

                                      Black Swans

                                        It’s a regular scene at Shenzhen Safari Park, where these black swans line up everyday to feed their carp friends. It didn’t take long for the carp to figure out what was going on, and now they line up to receive not only from the swans, but also the caretakers. The swans have taken care of their watery friends for over ten years.

                                        kitty bear

                                          No one at the Berlin Zoo knows the story behind the little black stray who suddenly showed up in the bear enclosure, but one thing is for sure, the two are the best of friends. At one point Maeuschen was separated from her kitty friend–nicknamed Muschi–and pined for her so much that the cat had to be returned to the elderly bear. While the bear was missing her friend, the cat was missing her just as much, until zookeepers took heart on the two and reunited them in the bear’s internal enclosure while the external pen was enlarged.

                                          Conclusion

                                          Even the years couldn’t separate most of these friends. The above example of animal friendships set a beautiful example of how friendship and love is a universal language. The beauty of the heart and soul shines through, despite how nature would label them.

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                                          Last Updated on November 11, 2019

                                          Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional?

                                          Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional?

                                          A dysfunctional family is more than disagreement or constant arguments. Anything from plain neglect, to abuse and even verbal and physical violence is the everyday experience of those who are part of a dysfunctional family.

                                          You know how this looks:

                                          • Parents constantly comparing children.
                                          • Siblings in conflict because of tolerated bullying.
                                          • Domestic violence.
                                          • Adultery…
                                          • And many others.

                                          For all the members, this will mean emotional pain and even trauma; which, in case it doesn’t get resolved, will have a detrimental effect on the individual’s personality and development.

                                          Needless to say, the younger members are the most vulnerable, but that doesn’t mean the parents are out of danger, as most commonly the parents play the roles of abuser-codependent, and in some cases, both parts inflicting pain on one another.

                                          Most like to think these problems stem from deep-seated issues, and that therefore it’s pretty much impossible to deal with them.

                                          This is only true for families not willing to do what it takes, for if only a single member is determined and knows how to do it, the whole family can do a lot of progress.

                                          In this article, I’ll break down for you the basic steps of fixing a dysfunctional family. Although it may seem hopeless, it is possible to turn things around.

                                          If you have ever felt in this position, or if you know somebody who is, this article is for you.

                                          How to fix a dysfunctional family

                                          In a few words the solution for a dysfunctional family lies in dropping the ego, focusing on the solution, switching blame for responsibility and doing the work as a unity, for the good of the whole family.

                                          And this will accomplish things you once only saw as a dream.

                                          Dropping the ego? Switching blame for responsibility? Doing the work? What does all this mean?

                                          It’s simple. In a nutshell, it’s that which will allow you to turn a dysfunctional family into a functional one.

                                          Let’s take a look at how exactly this can be done. And near the end we will also talk about what you can do in a dysfunctional family with cynical traits.

                                          Dysfunctional families where not only problems are well-known, but also nobody seems to want a fix or openly decide to perpetuate the harmful behaviors. Such as the case of abuse and physical violence.

                                          There is also a solution for these, it’s just not what you are expecting…

                                          Dysfunctional… Or just average?

                                          Most families are dysfunctional, though at varying degrees of dysfunctionality.

                                          The milder cases, are just marked by “typical” comically-shrouded bullying or lack of interest in other members’ development or wellbeing.

                                          You can know a family is dysfunctional if their interactions are anything different than cooperation, solidarity, care and support. But let’s get more specific…

                                          A dysfunctional family is one in which members directly or indirectly suffer emotional and/or physical harm inflicted by other members of their family. Most commonly, perpetrated by the parents.

                                          Even harmful actions as “passive” as neglect, which is inflicted by inaction rather than action, signifies a dysfunction within the family.

                                          Dysfunctional families have conflicts such as:

                                          • Unrealistic expectations
                                          • Lack of interest and time spent together
                                          • Sexism
                                          • Utilitarianism
                                          • Lack of empathy
                                          • Unequal or unfair treatment
                                          • Disrespect towards boundaries
                                          • Control Issues
                                          • Jealousy
                                          • Verbal and physical abuse
                                          • Violence and even sexual misconduct or abuse

                                          You may think a dysfunctional family has very little or nothing to do with personal productivity, but you would be wrong in thinking this way…

                                          If a person is not emotionally well, she will not be able to perform as desired, as the emotional harm that has been inflicted will hinder everyday performance in the way of inability to concentrate, lack of mental clarity and low levels of inspiration, motivation and discipline.

                                          Having a functional family does exactly the opposite: It creates productive members with no emotional baggage.

                                          How to turn it around

                                          When you’re part of a dysfunctional family you know it. You can quickly identify in other members the behaviors and conflicts that create the dysfunction.

                                          But just in case you’re having trouble telling functional from dysfunctional I will tell you the following:

                                          One of the easiest ways you can recognize if you are in a dysfunctional family is to survey your won feelings.

                                          We often overlook this, but have you stopped to ask yourself how you feel?

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                                          As cheesy as it may sound it really sheds a lot of light on the subject.

                                          What behaviors, actions and attitudes in your family you wish were better?

                                          Do you think certain behaviors and actions from your family marked you in the past?

                                          Sadly, we cannot go back to the past to correct it. But we can do a lot in the present…

                                          Correction is possible

                                          In order to fix a dysfunctional family, you must start by putting an end to the behaviors and actions that are affecting you.

                                          Verbalize it.

                                          All members of the dysfunctional family have one issue in common: They don’t put a stop to the harm.

                                          Whenever you feel your boundaries being overstepped there is just one single word you have to remember: STOP.

                                          This is the door to a better, more functional family, because after this, comes the fix.

                                          But first you have to identify and make others know where exactly lies the problem.

                                          So go ahead and fearlessly start with “Stop”, followed by your expression of dissatisfaction.

                                          Putting it to work in real life

                                          In real life it would be something like this:

                                          “OK, stop! Every time you belittle me I feel you don’t care. I need attention and respect, and it is your responsibility as my family to provide them to me”

                                          Or:

                                          “Stop. When you compare me with my cousin it hurts, I feel like I don’t matter and that’s not ok. I ask you to stop doing it.

                                          Or:

                                          “Please stop. When you start yelling all respect is lost and it turns into a battle of who can do it louder. Don’t raise your voice and let’s work this out the way humans do”.

                                          As you can see, here you start by putting a stop to the toxic behavior when it arises. And afterwards you verbalize why it’s wrong and what needs of you need to be fulfilled.

                                          This is what you have to remember:

                                          1-Stop.

                                          2-Why it’s wrong?

                                          3-What you need.

                                          And this will also work well in case you need to do it for another family member.

                                          It’s a family thing

                                          A dysfunctional family cannot be fixed by one member alone.

                                          Yes, a single member can initiate progress and be the leader of the change. But in order to completely become functional all members must contribute to the solution.

                                          In other words, you will need cooperation…

                                          So don’t be afraid of asking for it!

                                          Approach your family member and ask to be listened.

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                                          We sometimes feel our needs are “not that important” or we simply believe they won’t listen. But thinking like this would be like being defeated at an unfought battle.

                                          You will be amazed by how much people listen when you voice your needs, especially if it implies showing yourself open, vulnerable and in need.

                                          It’s not a free-for-all battle

                                          In order to get your family to cooperate, first you must fix your individual relationships with every member of the family. Remember: Relationships are always between two people, and two people only.

                                          No matter how complex, the quality of a multi-member relationship (like a family) will always depend on the quality of the individual relationships.

                                          Once you have straightened the relationship with every member of the dysfunctional family you will be able to better communicate with other members and help in the betterment of their individual relationship.

                                          And this is where we will talk about the fix itself. The one I mentioned in the introduction…

                                          The method

                                          1. Drop the ego

                                          Wherever there is conflict there is ego.

                                          You cannot fix a relationship where there is ego, because the ego will want to win. Always. Yours and the other person.

                                          Ego craves control and satisfaction, and in many cases, to establish dominance.

                                          What does this have to do with a dysfunctional family? Everything. Ego will interfere with every plan you have to fix it.

                                          It will make people suborn and defensive. And it will also make them drop responsibility. This is why, the first step is to drop the ego.

                                          After you make sure you are not going to allow your ego to interfere you must work to make the other person do the same. How? By speaking from the heart…

                                          Tell the other person how important all this is to you.

                                          Tell the other person that it’s not a matter of arguing, but just working things out together.

                                          Point out how it is not possible for you to do it alone.

                                          And ask for sincere attention without any desire of opposition, because what you are doing is by no means in the hopes of harming the other person, but just to better the relationship and stop the damage being dealt to you.

                                          You will have to point out the mistakes you need corrected, that’s for sure. And that leads me to the next point…

                                          2. Not blame, but responsibility

                                          When talking about others’ mistakes we often use an accusatory tone. And that’s natural, it’s what things should be like if ego was not present.

                                          But since we are all creatures of ego, this immediately brings the shields up. And then unsheathes the swords…

                                          When we blame others they automatically enter a defensive state, and this only leads to a failed negotiation.

                                          What you need to do is to shift from blame to responsibility. And even that will have to be done carefully!

                                          Instead of telling them off or demanding change or complaining, calmly point what the problem with their behavior is.

                                          As much as this feels contradictory, also make them feel understood. You know how difficult it is to accept a mistake, so just make them feel it’s no big fuzz… which does not mean it’s ok, but it takes tension off.

                                          You will do something like this:

                                          “Hello dad. Can I talk with you for a minute? I really need to tell you something.

                                          I have been feeling pretty sad lately and I know this is something you do care about.

                                          You see, whenever I talk about my accomplishments you mention something else that makes my achievement pale in comparison.

                                          I know you don’t do this intentionally and I know you might have not realized this until now, but I want to let you know this really brings me down.

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                                          It would mean a lot to me if you could stop doing it, and it would help better our relationship, because this has already forced me to distance myself from you. And I don’t want that, I want a good, healthy relationship with you”

                                          What happened here?

                                          We started off with making it something important, something that needs both time and attention. Then we openly show ourselves vulnerable, just as we are.

                                          We also mention why he should listen, and shove our feelings there again, because they are important.

                                          We describe the issue with no attachment and with no hostile intention. It’s just a description.

                                          And then we take the blame off. Just before we assign responsibility without actually saying it.

                                          You are not blaming him directly, but you are pointing out the inevitable fact that his actions are causing a dysfunctionality. He is now responsible for changing.

                                          This is what “switching blame for responsibility” means. What comes next? Doing the work!

                                          3. Doing the work

                                          What would any of this mean if, in the end, nothing changes? Exactly, nothing!

                                          This is why you must follow up with every change that needs to be done.

                                          Do so in a manner that is not hostile. Bring it up in a casual manner, and emphasizing how you both reached an agreement and how that is important to the family.

                                          If the person doesn’t follow up don’t hesitate to bring it up again, and tell them you feel disappointed that your honest try at it was not listened.

                                          It may even be a subject in itself, and therefore the need for another conversation.

                                          “When you go back to old habits it shows that you didn’t really care about what I said. But back in real life you just reinforce how much contempt you show towards me and my feelings.

                                          I talk with you because I care. Because although it would be easier for me to just distance myself from you I rather do my part in nurturing this relationship.

                                          But there is just so much I can do, if you refuse to do your part I can do nothing else.”

                                          You need very clear and positive communication in order to make this work.

                                          Love is all you need

                                          You must remember that in order for a dysfunctional family to become functional, all the work needs to stem from love.

                                          That is the single one requirement for all this to work: Love.

                                          And what happens if it simply is not there?

                                          What happens if, nobody is willing to do what it takes?

                                          What happens if a member of the family refuses to change and is happy with the harm he or she is dealing?

                                          There is only one thing you can do:

                                          To break away.

                                          Let’s be honest, people, especially adults, are very difficult to change.

                                          There is a Jewish proverb that I love, which sums it up like this:

                                          “We spend the rest of our lives trying to unlearn what we learned before we were 7”

                                          If you find it very hard to change the very traits that make your family dysfunctional or if it’s simply impossible, you still have a card up your sleeve…

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                                          Although nobody likes to beak away from family members, we must remember we have a responsibility with ourselves as individuals, before any relationship with anyone.

                                          You have the responsibility of making yourself happy and free. Because you matter as an individual, regardless of any relationships you have, be it family, friendship or romantic.

                                          Putting distance

                                          So in case you are dealing with a family member who is simply unwilling to change take both physical and emotional distance.

                                          What do I mean?

                                          Learn, first, to take their damage in a detached manner.

                                          Don’t let it hurt you further. Instead take a deep breath and distance yourself emotionally.

                                          Don’t be attached to feelings such as “Why doesn’t she love me?” or “What did I do to deserve this?” or “If he wasn’t like that my life would be perfect”.

                                          Simply refuse to keep participating in the emotional downward spiral and accept, even if it’s painful” that there is nothing you can do. Accept that even without that relationship you are whole, you are worthy of love and respect.

                                          They are their responsibility and you are yours. So decide what is best for you.

                                          Realize it only comes down to two possibilities:

                                          I keep the relationship and therefore accept the abuse. Or…

                                          I choose my peace of mind.

                                          And don’t let your mind fool you. We often think that since we all are imperfect, we must take the good and the bad behaviors of people. And we are especially forgiving towards our family…

                                          Well, guess what? We are also responsible adults who are aware and must own to their acts. Never excuse abuse or violence or transgression towards you or anybody else.

                                          Choose your happiness and if possible, also distance yourself physically, as it will increase your peace of mind tenfold.

                                          How to prevent it

                                          There are two key concepts you must bear in mind in order to prevent the dysfunctionality of a family:

                                          • To be completely aware of one’s own mistakes and not allow them to impact others and…
                                          • To make sure our SO’s are also on the same channel before creating a family (i.e. having children)

                                          Dysfunctional families are the product of irresponsible paternity, for the decades-long unresolved emotional conflict ends up surfacing in the family inevitably, and it will for sure harm those who least deserve it: Innocent children.

                                          You may notice we went from talking about family, to talking about individual relationships, to talking about you. We went from “them” to “us” to “me”.

                                          Why? Because in the end you have the power to fix a dysfunctional family. To correct the mistakes you have in yours and to prevent dysfunctionalities if you don’t have a family but plan to create one.

                                          Priorities and clear thought

                                          You may be part of a dysfunctional family, but that does not mean you are powerless or that you have to suffer the consequences.

                                          You learned today how it’s all a matter of priorities and thinking clearly.

                                          You learned that, if love exists, everything is possible. You learned that even when there is no love and no fix for your dysfunctional family, there are still things you can do. It’s a matter of choosing your peace, because you deserve it.

                                          Everything will be better if you apply this knowledge. If you talk to that problematic family member. If you help them see the harm they are doing. If you make sure they do change and treat you the way you need to be treated…

                                          If you choose yourself over that toxic family member. If you refuse to justify the harm that others can do to yourself. If you realize the most important relationship you have is with yourself.

                                          And lastly, that you also have to be aware of your actions and be open to criticism. Because we might be unknowingly harming others. And that would be us creating a dysfunctionality. Don’t allow it to happen.

                                          Dysfunctional families are not impossible to fix. It just takes love, cooperation and responsibility.

                                          But if you tried and those elements are not present, just choose yourself instead.

                                          Featured photo credit: Xavier Mouton Photographie via unsplash.com

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