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Continuing on the theme of friends, I want to share about some friends I’ve had of the non-human variety.

But first I want to note that this post was inspired by nine and half hours ahead’s The hounds of mescall

There have been more such friends than I can recount here – below are just three of my stories.

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Shannon was a male shepherd/wolf dog. The runt of the litter, he grew to be the biggest of all his brothers and sisters.

Even when full-grown at about 120 pounds of lean muscle, Shannon was still my beloved puppy.

He was a free-spirited animal and my most loyal friend.

We walked together for hours each day.  I loved him with all my heart.

When I was happy, he was happy too.

When I was sad, he’d rest his head on my lap and whine sympathetically.

When I was nervous or scared of something he was on full alert.

He was also an excellent judge of character – I learned to be wary of anyone he growled at.

Once when tobogganing down an icy hill, I became frightened. The sled was going too fast and I was headed straight for the road.

Shannon placed his body right in my path to save me. I was afraid he would get hurt so I threw myself off the sled and came to a stop just a few short feet from where he stood.

Shannon was my loyal friend and my protector.

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Every Wednesday night, my best friend would come over and we would sit and talk until the early hours of the morning.

When it was time for her to go home I would walk her home because she was uncomfortable walking alone at night.

The truth is I was scared of walking alone too, but I was too proud to let on.

I would drop her at her door and then brace myself for the mile-long walk back to my place.

I perceived every noise, every dark shadow as a threat to my safety.

More often than not, a white dog would appear, his white coat gleaming in the moonlight.

He always stayed close enough to make me feel safe, but far enough that I couldn’t reach out and touch him.

He would lead the way in front of me and take me all the way to the top of my driveway.

I would thank him and wish him a goodnight. But if I tried to pet him, he backed away.

He would watch me walk down my driveway and open my door, and would leave when I turned around to take one last look.

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On one of my trips to the Dominican Republic I got up very early one morning so that I could walk on the beach to watch and photograph the sunrise.

As I stepped onto the beach the sky was still pitch black. I could barely see my hand in front of my face.

It was deathly quiet save for the waves crashing on the beach.

As the light began to break through the blackness, even before I could see the sun on the horizon, I sensed that I was not alone.

Matching my speed, a short distance to my right, was a dog.

I squatted down and called to her. She scrambled over to me, her tail wagging as I petted her.

From that moment on she walked with me at my side, my silent companion.

When I stopped to take a picture, she stopped.

When I started walking again, she walked.

As it became brighter out, other people started showing up on the beach.

Whenever a person got too close to me, Amiga, as I called her, would bark and growl and wouldn’t stop until I spoke softly and reassuringly to her.

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These friends, although not of the human variety were there when I needed them. And these moments were no less significant to me than when my human friends have been there for me.

My sunrise shots below

Have you ever had this type of experience with an animal?

If so, please share your story below.

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