When Tennessee dog George lost his long-term companion in 2014, his owners worried that he would never recover. In fact, the pooch missed his buddy so desperately that he appeared to have slipped into a deep depression. Two years later, however, his low mood seemed to lift – and all thanks to a very unique new friend.
For more than a decade, George had shared his life with a Labrador called Blackie. The two dogs were virtually inseparable and spent their time playing together and keeping each other company. What’s more, the best friends’ bond remained strong as they grew old in the same house.
So after Blackie passed away, George was understandably left devastated. Indeed, in 2016 his owner, Jacquie Litton, told WVLT that her grieving dog suffered severe depression after the death of his best friend. “He’s almost died twice,” she said. “He doesn’t eat. He starves himself, and he has anxiety.”
The heartbroken hound seemingly found life unbearable without his precious pal. George had once played happily and run about Litton’s house; now, however, he suffered from periods of deep sadness without Blackie by his side. Naturally, Litton noticed the change in her pet too.
And in a 2016 interview with CBS News, Litton reiterated her concerns about George. There, she revealed that her beloved dog had been so upset after the loss of Blackie that he would starve himself of food. He was also seemingly so anxious without his sidekick that he would gnaw on his own skin.
So Litton may very well have been relieved when, after months of heartache, George took a turn for the better. In August 2016 – and almost two years to the day since Blackie’s passing – the maudlin mutt was in his usual slouch on the porch when an unlikely visitor approached: a duck.
The bird then waddled brazenly across the porch and settled down beside George, who seemingly became a nearly instant buddy to the other animal. But as Litton watched the precious moment from her window, she wondered from where the surprise savior had arrived.
In fact, Litton would later post on Facebook, “We have no idea where this duck came from.” However, according to George’s owner, one thing was more certain. She added, “But [the duck] sure does love George.” And from that day forward, the doting avian became a great pal to the depressed dog, with the unlikely pair teaming up to take trips around the yard.
When it’s time to take a break, though, George is more than willing to share his bed with his new buddy. He doesn’t even mind when his feathered friend rests his bill on him as the two settle down together for a nap. Perhaps understandably, however, the unusual duo’s bond has apparently bemused Litton.
Sharing the good news on Facebook, Litton wrote, “It is strange for a duck to just appear at our house and be attached to your dog – and even more strangely [for it to be during] the anniversary week of Blackie’s passing.” But even though there’s now bird droppings in her home, she is more than content for the duck to stick around.
It appears, then, that the bird has helped George on the road to recovery. Certainly, according to his owner, the duck has provided a new lease of life to the dog; his anxiety has seemingly subsided, for one.
Furthermore, George seems to have found some peace in himself; he no longer pines for company or looks for excessive comfort from his owners. The fact that his companion is a different species doesn’t seem to bother the dog, either, and he is more than happy to look out for him as a long-lost pal would.
And as may be expected, Litton herself is pleased with the change in her pet. “Since the duck has showed up, [George has] been fine,” she told WVLT. “He’s not whined. He’s not meeting you at the car, you know, looking sad.”
But given how George has taken to the duck, Litton has now found herself having to invite a new member of the family into her home. And certain accommodations may have to be made in the advent of the bird’s arrival – for example, a larger tub in which to bathe the winged visitor.
Furthermore, as the duck became a more permanent fixture in Litton’s house, thoughts turned to exactly what moniker the animal would be known by. George’s owner had an idea, though, and told her Facebook followers exactly what she had in mind. She wrote on the social media site, “As far as [the duck’s] name [is concerned], I am thinking Donald… after all, we are a Republican family!”
After news of George and Donald’s friendship hit the headlines, however, some contemplated exactly why the two animals had become so close. Perhaps, a number of individuals theorized, the bond between the pair was far from a coincidence – especially given George’s previous attachment to Blackie.
When the Daily Mail featured George and Donald’s story, for instance, one commenter suggested that Blackie was still very around his canine chum. “I would remind all that those who believe in reincarnation might consider the duck to be George’s old pal come back to comfort him,” they wrote.
And yet another person brought up the possibility that the late Labrador may have returned to George. They said, “So strange that a duck just turns up like this. Maybe it’s the friend reincarnated?” For the most part, however, commenters expressed their delight at the uplifting tale of the unusual friendship.
“I love stories like this,” one individual wrote of Donald and George’s tale. “This is quite adorable.” And another person seemingly agreed with that sentiment, writing, “That’s got to be the cutest thing I’ve seen in a long time!”
But whether or not it’s possible that Blackie has been reincarnated, there’s perhaps a lesson for all of us to learn from the companionship that Donald has brought George. A good friend can be found anywhere – even if, in many ways, they’re very different to us.