An oversimplified view of animals might lead you to think all animals operate in a world focused on survival, without any instinct for friendship or love. But the bond between one dog and a fawn serves shatters that stereotype (video below).
Pippin, a young deer, was abandoned by her mother. Without an older deer to protect her, the fawn was rudderless and looking for love wherever she could find it. Fortunately, she found a new mother in a Great Dane, named Kate, according to Shareably.
They met when Pippin wandered into Kate's yard one day. The two are no virtually inseparable. Whenever Pippin comes out from the woods and frolics around in the backyard of Kate's owner, her adoptive mother is right by her side to provide equal doses of play and nurturing.
It is a heartwarming sight to see Pippin hopping on the grass, tail wagging with happiness as Kate bounds along right beside her. The two spend their time playfully running around and nuzzling, with the Great Dane wrapping her neck around the fawn as if giving her a motherly hug.
Kate's owner, Isobel Springett, says she is constantly amazed by the deep bond between her dog and the fawn.
"When they greet each other, I've never seen anything like it," Springett told PBS. "It's not a deer greeting a deer. It's not a dog greeting a dog. It's definitely something they have between the two of them."
Kate is not the only dog who has adopted an orphan from another species. There have been documented cases of dogs becoming parental figures to goats, cats, sheep, owls, monkeys and even kangaroos, according to The Dodo.
Animals that take it upon themselves to care for babies that are not their own can strike humans as strange because they do not have the same social structures and cultural norms.
While biologist George C. Williams theorized that female animals without their own young adopt children simply to exercise their maternal instinct, it could also be that the desire to help the helpless is a universal trait, according to the BBC.
Behavioral scientists suspect humans can learn a lot from observing interspecies friendships among animals.
"There's no question that studying these relationships can give you some insight into the factors that go into normal relationships," Gordon Burghardt, a professor at the University of Tennessee, told The New York Times. "Even one example raises the possibility that there's something interesting going on here."