Dogs are such caring, compassionate animals. They have great protective instincts, and will often take an animal under their wing if they sense they need a helping hand.
That was the case for one rescue dog, who became a guardian and best friend to an orphaned foal.
Karla Swindle is the owner of S & K Quarter Horses in Fayette, Alabama. A few years ago, one of her horses, a 22-year-old mare named Sandy, had to be euthanized due to declining health.
The death was especially heartbreaking for Sandy’s foal, Tye, who was left orphaned at only 9 days old.
But an unexpected friend quickly took to comforting the orphaned baby horse: Karla’s dog, Zip.
“Zip stayed with me in the alley of the barn all night — the foal was laying in the alley, and he just lay there beside the foal,” Karla told The Dodo.
Sensing Tye’s heartbreak, Karla says the dog stayed with the foal all night, comforting him with a sympathetic paw.
“[Zip] was laying there by his neck and the dog was whining, like crying,” she told the Lewiston Tribune, per IHeartDogs. “It just broke my heart.”
While Tye lost a mother that night, he gained a best friend: Zip quickly took on the role as the foal’s friend and guardian.
“I think he’s adopted it as his baby,” Karla said. “He’s letting him know ‘you’re not alone.’”
Dogs are emotionally intelligent animals that seem to be able to sense when someone has passed away, and it definitely seemed like Zip understood the situation and reached a helping paw to this lost foal specifically.
“We raise foals every year, and he would kind of look in the door and just look at them,” Karla told The Dodo. “You could tell Zip knew something was wrong that night.”
“This is the first time he has ever just licked on one, nudged one, laid on one,” she told the Tribune.
Zip continued to look after Tye every day for weeks, and was eager to see his friend every morning.
“Every time I would take off to the barn, Zip would run to the stall, and stand in front of the stall and wait for me to get there,” Karla told The Dodo. “He would beat me to the barn every time.”
“As soon as I opened the door, he would about knock me down before I could get in there. If the foal was laying down, he would go over there and lay his head on him.”
Tye has since grown up to be a happy, healthy horse, no doubt thanks to Zip’s care and friendship in his early days.
Tye now spends most of his time with his fellow horses, and he’s had to “leave the nest” so to speak, getting more independent from his doggy dad.
“You could tell that when the foal needed Zip, Zip was there for him,” Karla said. “And now Zip knows that the foal is OK, so they kind of went their separate ways.”
While they don’t rely on each other anymore, we know these two will always be friends and have a special place in each other’s hearts.
What a beautiful story. We love seeing stories of unlikely friendships between animals.
It’s so sweet to see dogs take heartbroken animals under their wing and give them the love and friendship they need.