And they called it duck love: the dog and the duck become unlikely friends – sharing food and rolling together


A rescue duck and a cocker spaniel have become an unlikely pair of best friends – sharing meals, cuddling, and even rolling together on the ground.

When Sarah-Jayne Little and Sam Leadley brought their new puppy Fern to their home in Whitby, Yorkshire in February, they feared their bird Dennis was territorial.

Fairly quickly, it became apparent to the couple and a growing fern that the two-year-old duck wasn’t going to bite her and that they’ve been playing together ever since.

Now every morning the first thing Dennis does when he comes out of his hutch is run around the farm looking for his puppy pal.

Not only will six-month-old Fern roll on the floor with her bird pal and share his food, but she watches him as he swims through their small pond to “make sure he’s safe.”

Account manager Sarah-Jayne, 26, said: “They love to chase after all day. When Dennis walks into the pond, Fern watches over him.

Rescue duck and cocker spaniel have become an unlikely pair of best friends (Image: Kennedy News & Media / David Keane)

“She’s not yet brave enough to come in with him but she stands to the side and watches him to be safe.

“They’re now rolling around on the floor together every day. She’s going to lay down and let Dennis jump on her while playing. We were worried he was territorial, but he’s definitely playing now.

“Dennis was the boss from day one, but they’ve become best friends ever since. Now it’s all game for them.

“The first thing Dennis does in the morning is pick up Fern. If she’s not with us later today for whatever reason, you can tell he’s disappointed. “

Sarah-Jayne and carpenter Sam, 27, rescued Dennis with another duck called Dorothy earlier this year and now have four ducks, four chickens and a rooster with Fern.

Sarah-Jayne said: “Fern doesn’t care about any of our other three ducks and they don’t care about her. It was only Dennis who made the cut.

“I think she realized she had to fit in with him, which helped her. As she has known him since she was a puppy, she knows how to play with him rather than chase him.

“He’s very daring and the first thing every morning when we take Fern outside to see all the animals, Dennis will run towards her.

Rescue duck and cocker spaniel have become an unlikely pair of best friends (Image: Kennedy News & Media / David Keane)

“What’s even funnier is that Dennis isn’t interested in any other dog. If our family brings their dogs, he’s not bothered by them at all.

“Since she is a working dog, Fern will always hunt other birds when we go out, but because she has had Dennis there since she was a puppy, that hunting link has never been made.

“Some people have suggested that Dennis might be a bit confused and like Fern, but it’s definitely a friendship relationship.

“When Dennis started chasing her, Fern wasn’t quite sure what was going on and I think she was a little scared, but when he let her come close and he didn’t wasn’t going to hurt her, she started chasing after him too. “

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