Caitlin UltimoPet Parenting / Pet Stories

Valentine’s Day: Unlikely Animal Couples

Funny Animal Friends That Are Too Cute to Handle

There’s nothing more precious than animals from different walks of life expressing compassion and love for one another. These cute animal relationships serve as an inspiration to all by showing us that acceptance and tenderness doesn’t have to be confined by species; it should be spread amongst everyone.

This Valentine’s Day, get inspired to share the love with these stories of unlikely animal couples who found comfort in each other. Despite their unique differences, these funny animal friends developed a bond that is not only adorable, but truly heartwarming.

Esther the Wonder Pig and Shelby the Dog

Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter purchased Esther when she was a “mini pig” at just 4 pounds. They were told by the previous owners that Esther wouldn’t grow past 70 pounds, but much to their surprise, Esther reached a whopping 650 pounds just 6 years later.

unlikely animal couples

To help accommodate Esther’s obvious need for space, the duo took a leap of faith and opened a farm under the beloved pig’s name: Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary. Their goal was to not only ease Esther’s growing pains, but to help other animals who are in need.

unlikely animal couples

Esther immediately took to all the different animals and ended up forming a few animal relationships that could turn heads and melt hearts. The relationship that stands out among the rest was developed even before the farm was created, and that’s the friendship shared between Esther and Shelby the dog.

unlikely animal couples

Jenkins and Walter had Shelby since she was a puppy, which gave Shelby the opportunity to meet Esther when she still only weighed 3 pounds. “Esther’s constant companion is Shelby,” says Jenkins. “She has been a surrogate mom to Esther ever since we brought her home as a tiny piglet.”

unlikely animal couples

The love doesn’t stop there. Once Cornelius the turkey arrived at the Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary 6 months ago, he “immediately adopted Esther and Shelby the dog as his ‘flock.’”

unlikely animal couples

When these funny animal friends aren’t running the farm, “They enjoy sleeping together, going for walks around the property, and, on occasion, the three of them cuddle on Esther’s mattress,” says Jenkins.

Lily the Cat and Dogs Scrappy and Buddy

The perceived rivalry between dogs and cats is well-known and longstanding, but how real is it? When it comes to Lily the cat and her two companion dogs, Scrappy and Buddy, this notion couldn’t be further from the truth.

unlikely animal couples

When pet parent Sydney Villegas first spotted Lily at the local shelter, she knew almost immediately that Lily would make a great addition to her pack. At the shelter, “She was the only girl in a group of 5 other kitties, so I knew she would be able to quickly become the boss of our two pups,” says Villegas.

When Villegas brought Lily home, she kept her separate from the pups for the first few days. But, “On the third day, Lily was sticking her paw under the door, swatting at the dogs as they sniffed the door to her room,” she says. Lily was then officially introduced to the pups, “and they quickly became best friends. Lily sat on her cat tree, meowing at them for a solid hour, then came down one tier at a time, and, before we knew it, she was running around the house with them,” says Villegas.

unlikely animal couples

Ever since that day, the two pups and kitten became inseparable. “Wherever we are, we are guaranteed to have two pups and a kitten nearby.” According to Villegas, not much has changed since the introduction between the pups and Lily. “Lily loves to swat at them from under the couch or from the top of her princess castle, and when she’s done, she lies down and relaxes with them.”

unlikely animal couples

They do almost everything together, including napping and getting treats. The only exception is Villegas’ daily walks with the dogs. But even then, Lily can be seen faithfully watching the walks from every window until they come back inside. “When we get back, Lily is sitting in the entryway, waiting for us to walk in and expecting her chin rubs. Once we rub her chin, she jumps down and plays with her brothers.”

Mango the Parakeet and Gipsy the Cat

It is truly a rarity to find a cat and bird pair who get along. That’s why it is so touching to see a pet bird and cat living in harmony, and—in the case of Mango and Gipsy—becoming best friends.

When the two were first introduced to each other, it was hardly love at first sight. “Gipsy is the type of cat that is afraid of his own shadow, so at first he wasn’t too keen on going near Mango,” says pet parent Maxime Vanden Berghe. “Mango, on the other hand, is a little daredevil and was very much drawn to Gipsy from the start.” Little by little, Berghe says the animal couple got used to each other, “and now you would almost think that, secretly, they are best friends.”

unlikely animal couples

The two lovebirds enjoy spending their days with each other, especially around dinnertime. Mango is always hanging around when the cat is being fed, “trying to steal some bits and being a naughty bird.” When they aren’t eating, “Mango loves to sit on the floor next to Gipsy, telling him stories and showing his dance moves,” Berghe says.

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Like all best friends, the two do get into a tiff every once in a while. Berghe considers Gipsy to be a sweet, calm and lazy kitty in general, but there is the rare occasion that Mango will get on the cat’s nerves. When this happens, Gipsy will simply raise his paw at him, “but never in an aggressive way.”

unlikely animal couples

Despite their differences, it’s clear that the two truly do care for each other. Mango is often calling out for his friend (he pronounces Gispy as Gippy), and “Whenever Gipsy enters the room, Mango wants to be with him,” Berghe says. Sounds like true love to us!

Gable the Horse and Zoe the Pug

When it comes to friendship, size doesn’t matter. This sentiment rings true even in the animal kingdom. Take Zoe the Pug and Gable the horse, for example. Gable towers over Zoe, but they still make a great animal couple.

dog on horse

Pet parent Nicole Janiga adopted Gable this past September after riding her a few times and falling in love. At the time, Janiga had already had Zoe for about 9 months. “Zoe doesn’t like passing up on any of mom’s attention, but was happy to welcome Gable into the family,” Janiga says. “For the dramatic size difference, the two are very respectful of one another.”

According to Janiga, Zoe and Gable see each other at least six times a week. “Zoe is always happy to be out at the barn running around with the other dogs and horses, but will follow me into Gable’s stall as soon as we get there,” she says. When the two meet, Gable leans down and sniffs Zoe as her form of hello.

unlikely animal couples

In their free time, the two love going on trail rides and running around their big turnout field. “Zoe will sometimes ride Gable, though the rides are short-lived and enjoyed more by me than either of the girls,” she says. “But Zoe is never too far away when I’m riding.”

Janiga is proud of the relationship her Pug and horse share; she spoils them with affection and even got them a matching outfit so they can show off their partnership.

unlikely animal couples

Despite their size difference, the two have learned to look beyond their differences and find friendship within one another. Janiga says that “Gable is super patient with Zoe and understands the size difference.”



Samantha Schwab, Junior Editor
As an aspiring cat mom, Samantha Schwab can be found mining keywords, meticulously editing Pet Central blog posts or standing at her desk (usually all three!). An espresso shot and kitty cuddles are the only things that stand between Samantha and conquering the (pet) world!

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