Like humans, animals need to do more than sleep and eat to survive. They crave social interaction and friendships to live a happy life.
“Animals really respond to things, they find having friends entertaining,” Chris Murray, co-owner of Pennywell Farm in South Devon, England, told SWNS. “It’s part of animal enrichment.”
Murray saw this firsthand on his farm—when an unlikely friendship blossomed between two animals.
Pennywell is the home of Mr. Sparkles, a young miniature pig who was very tiny from birth. At 14 weeks old, the piglet was having trouble sleeping on the farm.
However, things turned around when Mr. Sparkles made a new best friend: Dainty the cow, who is also smaller than usual.
“Dainty was small when she was born, she was tiny, that’s why she’s called Dainty,” Murray said.
The cow and pig were born just two weeks apart, and were kept in pens right next to each other.
Mr. Sparkles and Dainty became inseparable friends, with the pig sneaking out to see his buddy.
“It’s funny that two small chaps have decided to pair up,” Murray said.
Their small stature gave these two adorable outcasts a common bond—and even made it an asset when Mr. Sparkles snuck out of his pen at night.
“He use to squeeze under the bars of the gate and sleep with Dainty,” Murray said. “He was the only one small enough to get through.”
When Dainty goes to sleep, Mr Sparkles will happily join her, and they eat together as well, he said.
Murray said this kind of cross-species friendship is a first, but he’s happy to see it.
“We haven’t had one of our pigs and cows being firm friends and [wanting] to be together before but it’s good for them,” he told SWNS.
“I’m very happy, they are both doing well.”
He added that since pigs are clean animals, they can’t contaminate the cow pen, so there’s no harm in letting the two hang out together—especially since they seem to keep each other happy.
“Everyone needs friends, don’t they?” Murray asked.
Mr. Sparkles and Dainty have become a favorite attraction at Pennywell Farm. They’re an unexpected but inseparable pair who prove that even animals are just looking for a friend who understands.