Calando and Blueberry are best friends. At least as close to best friends as Blueberry can be with anything other than me.
I suppose I shouldn’t be so surprised that two animals that have almost nothing in common aside from being mammals and both being owned by me can be friends. After all, I’ve seen the pictures of the orangutan hugging the hound, the pit bull snuggling the rabbit, and the monkey petting the dove. Heck, the communication between humans and the (insert enormous number here) or animals we tame, work with, and love is really incredible when you stop and think about it. Unlikely friendships between different species isn’t so odd I guess.
But there’s something about a 15 pound dachshund who stands approximately 7″ at the shoulder walking side by side with a 1200 pound Holsteiner who stands 18h, that makes me smile.
Their friendship isn’t a recent thing either – the two of them have grown up together. My trial before buying Calando started within a month of Blueberry’s arrival. In fact, I got Blue the day before Calando’s first horse show, so her first full day as my dog was spent at a show with me and him – nearly ten years ago. Our lives have been pretty much the same from that point on – I ride, show, trailer, and work around the barn under Blueberry’s watchful eyes. For many years Blue would watch every ride on Calando and I’m confident she would be able to give me a lesson, coach at a show, or scrutinize my equitation like a mini George Morris.
I know what you’re thinking, but I assure you that her interest in Calando isn’t just because I am handling him. When I work at the barn I handle between 10-20 horses per day, and while I’m feeding, turning out, or working with those horses she’s content to lay on her makeshift bed. When I lunge horses, she doesn’t watch. But if I bring Calando out to lunge, ride, or work in the round pen, she insists on overseeing the exercise. If I’m grooming or caring for him on the cross ties, she is always overseeing the care he is receiving.
What does Calando think of his tiny manager/groom/trainer? Calando loves dogs, but he has a tangible respect for her. When she wanders out to his paddock to eat poop, he doesn’t chase her away like he does to the bigger dogs. When she uses him as a save haven and sits square under his belly because her big puppy brother is annoying her, he stands still as a statue. And when I’m cooling Calando out after a ride or he’s walking around on the lunge line/around the round pen, he is very conscious of where she is in relation to him so as not to step on her.
Although neither can tell me why they like the other, I imagine their relationship to be a working one. They don’t play together (Blue doesn’t allow Calando to touch her), but they seem to enjoy each other. Maybe they commiserate about how badly I sing or the supplements I make them eat. For them, it’s just another day at the office and they’re just working together like any good office mates do. Just like Tom “Silent Tom” Smith and Seabiscuit, no words have to be exchanged between them as they work toward their goal… which I can only assume is to get to the next show. Or the next treat. Whichever comes first.