You're My Best Friend

| 8/1/2018 3:30:00 PM

farm signIn the beginning of time when God created the animals, He gave to them a "herd" instinct that drew them together. Sheep and birds "flock" together. Other animals form a herd or colony or pack. Baboons even come together as a "congress." (That gives food for thought...) Sometimes, animals form bonds with others outside their species. And a farm is the perfect place to find such odd friendships.

My first experience of this was as a teenager. I've mentioned my horse, El Blanca, who was my dearest companion for many years. Shortly after he came to live on our farm, a small black kitten was dropped off at our barn.

Farms are the perfect place for people to "dump" unwanted animals because they know that they will probably be adopted and cared for and a barn is a magnate for stray cats. El Blanca discovered the kitten first and was nosing him around when I arrived.

I am a cat person so I immediately took in the little stray and named him Shandar after a character in a Disney nature documentary about black leopards. Shandar lived at the barn and he and El Blanca formed a fast friendship. At first I would carry the kitten around on my shoulders, but one day he jumped from me to El Blanca's back. The horse didn't seem to mind, so Shandar settled down in the middle of his back and went to sleep.

From then on, you would find him curled up there at all times of day or night while El Blanca grazed or rested. When I would take a ride, Shandar was right there riding along too. He even went when we took the cows from pasture to pasture.

After a few years, the hazards of living by a road won out and Shandar was hit by a car. I was grieved, but didn't realize how this would effect El Blanca. Soon I noticed him searching around the barn and making whinnying noises. Finally I realized he was searching for his friend.

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