Inter-species friendships are always adorable. Think about it, there really are no exceptions. Even if it’s two less than cuddly creatures – like a Wildebeest and an Oppossum – it’s still heartwarming. Some factors can make these unlikely pairings all the more endearing, including 1) when one or both have a disability and 2) when they are especially mismatched. Prepare to melt, because this love story has both of those factors!
Alicia Wishart and her husband adopted Jack Russell Mix Beans from a shelter in 2009. The Wisharts’ Ontario, Canada home already contained two Dachshunds – Molly and Bailey. Beans’ transition into the family was difficult at first. Molly especially had trouble accepting a new pup on her turf. One day a scuffle broke out between Beans and Molly resulting in a small cut beneath Beans’ eye.
The Wisharts’ veterinarian found that the retina had been punctured, and while it was still intact, the chances of it rupturing were high. A few days later the vet’s worst fears came true, and surgical removal of the eye was determined to be the best option. Beans recovered well from the procedure and quickly adapted to living with impaired vision.
About a month later, Alicia Wishart attended a reptile expo and fell in love with a Sulcata or African Spur Thigh Tortoise. She had always considered having a Tortoise and decided to bring Waffles home that very day. Beans was instantly fascinated with the baseball-sized reptile, but the Wisharts cautiously kept them separated.
One day, as Alicia Wishart was getting out of the shower, Beans trotted into the room carrying something in her mouth. She gently placed the object – which Wishart believed to be a pine cone – at her feet. It was Waffles the Tortoise! After a close inspection, Wishart found that not only was Waffles unharmed, he wasn’t the slightest bit stressed by the interaction with Beans.
Little by little, Beans was allowed more access to Waffles. The Tortoise’s pen was kept gated off to prevent unsupervised visits, but the Wisharts found that both Waffles and Beans were gentle, courteous and completely without fear in each others’ company. Cold-blooded Waffles appreciated Beans’ warm, furry body during naps; and food-hound Beans benefited from Waffles’ sloppy eating habits. They were the perfect match!
3 years have passed and teeny Waffles isn’t so teeny anymore. In fact, he is about the same size as his BFF now. Waffles used to ride on Beans’ back and in a few more years he may be able to return the favor! Sulcata Tortoises end up being about 30 inches long and up to 200 pounds when full grown. But for now these two are content to walk side by side.
The Wisharts’ two Dachshunds, Molly and Bailey, have no interest in Waffles. They tend to give the strange reptile a wide berth. Thank goodness these two special outcasts have each other!
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