One of the most mystifying regular news reports I see is when scientists “discover” some animal or another “exhibits emotions” or “clearly communicates” or “establishes relationships resembling human friendship”.

Millions of dollars and years of somebody’s valuable time to come to the same conclusion that any even remotely clued in caretaker of creatures has known for millennia. 🤦‍♀️

Like these old girls: Tori and Raven can tell ya all about animal emotions, communication and friendship. They have been best friends since they were 1 and 2 (now in their late 20s), respectively, and have no problems showing it. They are all about the public displays of affection, are never found more than 5 feet apart and if they do get out of sight from each other, they yell and holler until they link back up.

Tori had a stroke a few years ago and for quite some time, had partial paralysis and vision issues. During that period, Raven was always willing to slow down and wait for her friend. She found them the choicest grass, helped swish flies and even when Tori couldn’t lift her head high enough to groom her, she still groomed Tori. Even at grain time, Raven took care to not move too fast or otherwise push on her less mobile friend. I firmly believe it was Raven’s care that helped Tori recover as quickly and as well as she did.

And now Raven is having age-related sight issues that are slowing her down and making her more timid in certain situations and it is Tori who is making time for her—slowing down in new territory so Raven can follow nose to tail, being more vocal even in short distance separations so Raven can find her and generally being more present for her friend. Their bond is deeper than even before.

Their friendship is so deep and so meaningful to each other that we struggle with what we will do when one of them passes, I’m not sure either could emotionally survive without the other. I can’t bear the thought of the sadness of one of them alone and pray they somehow pass together. I can only hope to have a friendship as close as theirs is.

Emotions, communication and friendship—it’s not just for us humans, it’s for us all.

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