Do Animals Have Friends?

Animal caretakers, zoologists and farmers have often noted that animals can form significant emotional bonds with one another. Dairy cows, for example, show definite preferences when it comes to associating with other cows, as do female Bechstein's bats, which, despite frequent comings and goings from their habitat, seek out unrelated friends to spend time with. These observations show significant similarities between the social behavior of humans and animals.

More about animal friendships:

  • Some researchers have noted that animals will not only do favors for their friends but will also mourn for them after deaths.

  • The observation about friendships between dairy cows has led some agricultural experts to advocate minimizing separation between bovine friends so as to not create unnecessary stress for the animals.

  • Researchers have observed female bats assisting other female bats during and immediately after childbirth.

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Discussion Comments


My sister had a blind calf named Bumper. Bumper would carry the dog -- a shepherd mix -- around in her mouth. They were very good friends.


I remember one such case where my mom's uncle died of an accident where he got sandwiched between the pillar of the bus station gate and the bus entering into that bus station.

He had a cow at his home and he was the one to take care of her for all her needs. That cow did not eat from other family members nor would allow to milk her. She just wanted that uncle to be there! It was such a painful reality those family members witnessed.


We had two male West Highland Terriers, father and son. We were in our country home when one day I observed the always ravenous son had not eaten his breakfast. Shortly after, we went on a search. In the early evening, the son's body was found by our son and placed in a closed bin away from the immediate house until the next daylight when we could have the burial. Neither of these dogs ever howled. It is not their nature.

The father began a desolate howling on the terrace, under the moon and the many trees. He howled pitifully for a good hour. He cried. Yes, another dog may have had the scent, but the old father was losing his sight and scent. He just knew his son and companion whom he loved was gone with no one conveying this fact.

After the mourning, he took up the nightly round of the property that he had not done in years as his son had taken that on. He marched down the path on his short legs, retaking his duty as if it had never been any other's duty. I was amazed. Our animals are no different than us. They have feelings, compassion, and are gifted with distinct personalities and yes, very individual souls.


That is why we should stop eating animals.

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