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Unlikely friendship in the wild: Dog befriends wild deer after sneaking away from home

Dogs are such playful and inquisitive creatures that they can spend hours and hours exploring and playing outdoors. Koda, Rachel Howatt and Clinton Subbik’s two-year old husky, was no different, and immediately disappeared when she got loose one day in December.

Living in Manitoba, Ontario, Canada, the couple devoted a lot of time searching for Koda, particularly near the woods around their home.

They scoured the neighborhood and even appealed for help on Facebook. While the search was unsuccessful, Rachel and Clinton felt sure that Koda would find her way back home.

True enough, the pup eventually showed up three days later, as if nothing ever happened. Rachel said, “We definitely searched for her, but in the end she just came back. She is really smart, so I didn’t doubt she could find her way home.”

While the couple were worried sick, Koda, however, had a great time away from home. Rachel and Clint were pleasantly surprised when Garry Suderman, a hunter in the area, reached out to them with photos of Koda in the woods.

Garry had caught the images on a hunting camera. The footage showed a dog and a wild buck meeting each other in a snowy field.

They seemed quite close and in 24 hours, they sniffed and followed each other, and at nighttime curled together on a patch of grass for warmth.

Rachel and Clint couldn’t believe their eyes. “It’s pretty hard to believe at first, you know, that’s what she was doing all that time, and we had no idea,” Rachel said.

“In my opinion, I think she’s just such an outgoing dog. She just wants to be everybody’s friend.”

Garry, on the other hand, thought that the dog was acting as the deer’s protector. “Will I ever get pictures like that again in my lifetime? Nope,” he said. “That is definitely the weirdest thing I’ve seen before.”

These days, Rachel is careful not to let Koda run off, although she has a feeling that the dog is eager to go back into the woods to see her wild friend.

To keep her company, the owners decided to get another dog. And appropriately enough, they named the new dog Buck.

“Huskies have such a free spirit,” she said. “It doesn’t surprise me at all that Koda was trying to make a new friend.”

This incident is actually not new, and wild deer have been known to befriend wayward pets and livestock. When they meet in the woods, deer have taken in cats and runaway cows, and treated them as their own!

In fact, in the Florida Keys, a biologist had camera footage of wild deer interacting with different kinds of animals!

Michael Cove was studying the effects of free-ranging cats on endangered small animals and used hidden cameras for his research.

The footage revealed wild deer being friendly with cats, raccoons, and even a fox! The interactions between the deer and the other animals seemed unconcerned, and actually quite pleasant.

The unusual footage showed a cat licking the deer, the deer grooming raccoons, and the deer actually petting a fox’s head.

Michael explained that the animals may have gotten used to each other and have let their guard down in the absence of predators. They were probably curious about the other animals.

But in most cases, Michal added that animals, like people, have different personalities. They are also likely to do something unusual or bizarre — maybe even a friendship.

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