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Dogs aren't just man's best friend, these versatile and loving creatures are open to buddies from every species.
To show just how sweet these pets are, Jennifer S. Holland rounded up 37 stories about canines who got close to some rather odd animals in her book Unlikely Friendships: Dogs.
Meerkats, chickens, lions — they're all here! Take a look at some of the featured cuties.
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Poppy and Timone
This pair is part of a larger pack of animal amigos. Poppy the dog and Timone the meerkat live with Sallie and John Bent in Derbyshire, England. The couple has a collection of exotic animals, including ponies, kinkajous, pigs, skunks, armadillos and more that make up one wild family. While Poppy gets along with all the pets, she adopted Timone as her own and adores taking baths with her new friend.
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Beth and the Lions
Beth, a 100-lb. Mastiff and Rhodesian ridgeback mix, grew up on a private game reserve in South Africa. Among the reserve's other residents are several lions, which the owners raise to be released into the wild. Proving that cats and dogs can get along, Beth often befriends the lion cubs who come to the reserve, serving as a surrogate mom to the baby animals who need a mother figure to show them what's what.
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Boss and Contino
It was love at first sight when Contino the 13-year-old white horse was introduced to Boss the Doberman by their owner Leslie Stark. One quick sniff and the two became friends, so Stark started bring Boss to the Peru equestrian club where Contino lives every day. The pair now have their own ritual, where Boss lays down so Contino can massage the dog's back with her mouth.
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Mischka and Jerry
Size doesn't stand in the way of true friendship, and Mischka the 90-pound Bernese mountain dog and Jerry the ferret are a testament to that. Jerry sniffed out his large friend while on a walk with his owner through his Sydney, Australia, neighborhood. After a few sniffs, the two decided they liked each other. Now, Jerry and Mischka's moms set up playdates for the cuties, where they spend time cuddling, playing and searching out new adventures.
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Roo and Penny
Roo and Penny are similar in that they both have two legs. Roo the Chihuahua was born without his front legs, but he doesn't let it slow him down. And Penny, the luxurious Silkie chicken, is one of the few friends he has found that can keep up. Both pets belong to Alicia Williams, who rescued the animals from sad fates. Under her roof, the chicken and Chihuahua each found a companion in one another. Now, Penny shows her love for her canine friend by sitting on him like he was her egg.
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Laska and Tirza
Laska's owners, biologists Frank and Katrin Hecker, are devoted to helping orphaned animals find a full life, and their dog is just as dedicated to the cause. The Harzer fuchs, a German sheepdog breed, takes a shine to many of the animals his pup parents bring in. One of his favorites is Tirza, an orphaned fawn. Laska, which is Czech for love, and her sweet nature helped this baby deer come to trust her new family. With Laska's help, the Heckers bottlefed the deer and raised her to maturity. Thanks to the dog's playful and protective watch, the fawn has grown into a healthy deer that now lives in a wildlife reserve.
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To learn more about the amazing stories dog lover Jennifer S. Holland discovered about canines and the company they keep, check out Unlikely Friendships: Dogs.