Few things symbolize spring as sweetly as a brood of fuzzy baby chicks. Let’s celebrate the beginning of spring with a visit to the Department of Unexpected Interspecies Friendship where we’ll meet Los Angeles-based photographer Candice Sedighan’s amazing dog Champ. Champ is an 11-year-old Golden Retriever and the primary subject of Sedighan’s photographs.

After Candice became the temporary caretaker of a box full of chicks, she decided to introduce them to Champ:

"Initially I was unsure about how Champ would react to them," Candice says. "I carefully introduced him to just one chick in my hand to see how he would react while I was petting it. He didn’t mind the chick at all and just curiously and gently sniffed it. I think one of the biggest reasons he didn’t want to hurt the chick was the way I introduced it to him. He is also much more obedient after years of training and getting used to me photographing him. In 2012, I photographed him with live butterflies on his nose and I’m sure that photoshoot helped prepare him as well.

"Senior dogs are also just undeniably sweet and full of wisdom. One of my biggest goals, through my photos, is to show others that senior dogs can be cute, too! It seems that puppy photos and videos are quite popular these days, and, of course, puppies are adopted much more quickly in shelters and rescues. I hope these photos help people have a change of heart and give seniors a chance!"

As for the chicks, Candice is donating them to the teaching farm at a local college. Follow Candice and Champ on Instagram, Facebook and Flickr.

[via My Modern Metropolis]

Today the Department of Unexpected Interspecies Friendship presents a cornucopia of interspecies camaraderie courtesy of the Rocky Ridge Refuge in Midway, Arkansas (previously featured here). Refuge founder and lone operator Janice Wolf rescues and cares for a variety of creatures, big and small, common and exotic.

"Up to 60 animals call the refuge home at any given time, although a few of those are long-term residents. These include Cheesecake the capybara, Crouton the African Sulcata tortoise, Barcode the zebra, Butterbean the bull terrier and Bazinga the miniature horse."

These overwhelmingly heartwarming photos demonstrate that all of these different animals, warm and cold-blooded alike, don’t just get along well with each other, they appear to care for each other too. Now please excuse us while we go find a furry friend to hug.

Click here to learn more about Rocky Ridge Refuge.

[via Neatorama and Bored Panda]

The Department of Unexpected Interspecies Friendship has featured all sorts of animals over the years, but this may be the first time we’ve found a relationship involving a hippopotamus. Meet Douglas the baby hippo and his two terrier friends, Molly and Coco.

Douglas was abandoned by his mother and discovered by workers from Conservation Lower Zambezi when he was only two weeks old. They flew him to Chipembele Wildlife Rescue in South Luangwa, Zambia where the two little dogs immediately took to him as though he were just a great big terrier. While the Chipembele staff feed Douglas bottles of milk and teach him to swim, Molly and Coco are his constant companions. The staff hope that Douglas will eventually be able to join the wild hippo population in the Luangwa River. In the meantime we can be sure that he won’t be lonely.

If you’re interested in helping Douglas, you can adopt him to help fund his care via the Born Free Foundation.

[via 22 Words and Dailymail.co.uk]

Cake is awesome. No matter where you are, what day it is, time it is, what you’re wearing or what the weather is like, it’s always a good time for cake. And besides just eating it ourselves, giving cake to someone else is also awesome. You can use it to wish them a happy birthday, congratulate them, cheer them up or simply say, “I think you’re swell.” But giving someone cake isn’t always that simple. Perhaps they’re far away. Cake doesn’t generally make it through the mail unharmed.

But wait, Sandra Denneler of SheKnows.com has come up with an amazing way to send a mouthwatering slice of cake to anyone anywhere - or at least anywhere the mail goes. And thanks to her DIY recipe tutorial, you can do it too. Sanda calls these creations Cake Postcards. They look just like the real thing, but they’ll never get crushed or spoil:

"Imagine how happy and excited you’d be, if you went to your mailbox one day and pulled out a slice of cake. Now you can surprise friends and family (and probably even your mail carrier), with this three-dimensional, mailable postcard, cleverly disguised as cake. With only five ingredients in this crafty recipe — a large sponge, spray paint, caulk, spray adhesive and heavy paper — it’s a piece of cake. Literally. Postage is around $3 per slice, but the reaction from the recipient will be priceless."

Click here for the complete Cake Postcard tutorial.

[via Design Taxi]

It’s never too soon to pay another visit to the Department of Unexpected Interspecies Friendship. This story comes with the added bonus of providing further evidence of the awesomeness of beards:

Meet Brian, Brian’s beard, and their new duckling friend Peeps. Brian decided to try his hand at incubating clutch of eggs in hopes of raising chickens. Only one of the eggs hatched, but it wasn’t a chicken. Brian took this unexpected development in stride and set about carefully raising his new duckling friend. He played surrogate mother duck as best he could, which included sheltering peeps under his bear in place of a mama duck’s wing.

As you can see from the bottom photo, taken 41 days after hatching, Peeps has grown into a handsome young duck. Brian is now incubating 3 more duck eggs in hopes of hatching more friends for Peeps.

Click here for more photos of this awesome pair of interspecies pals.

[via Fashionably Geek]

There’s something weirdly wonderful about watching a Cheetah frolic in the snow, but watching a cheetah romp around in the snow with her BFF, who happens to be a dog, is much much better because then it’s a wintry visit to the Department of Unexpected Interspecies Friendship.

Meet Savanna the Cheetah and her dog friend Max. Savannah was born in June 2012 at the San Diego Zoo. She and Max were introduced in September 2012 and they’ve been fun-loving friends ever since. Because they share so many similarities, zoos have been pairing cheetahs and dogs like this for years. In fact, we shared photos of a another awesome pair last year.

Writing for Cesar’s Way, Nicole Pajer describes the San Diego Zoo’s "Animal Ambassador" program thusly:

"The pairing process occurs with the matching of a three-month-old cheetah and a six-month-old dog. Zoologists look for shelter dogs that have a good disposition and a naturally calm demeanor when selecting cheetah companions. The first step is to very slowly make an introduction, allowing the dog and cheetah to look at and smell each other through a partition in adjacent habitats. Next, they are given the opportunity for brief supervised visits where handlers allow them to sniff and investigate each other. "Pretty soon, when someone throws a ball, they both go after it and when the people go home for the night, the cheetah gets to cuddle up to his big ball of fur friend and use him like a pillow," says senior animal trainer, Carlee Westbrook. The dog keeps the cheetah calm and relaxed and the cheetah provides companionship for the dog. It’s a win-win situation."

[via io9]

What could possibly be even more awesome than a photo of Sir Patrick Stewart wearing a cotton candy mustache or lounging in a bathtub while dressed as a lobster? Here it is: a photo of Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen both wearing bowler hats while sitting together on Santa’s lap. This particular Santa might just be having the best Christmas ever.
However you choose to look at it - Gandalf and Captain Picard, Magneto and Professor X, or just two amazing actors and good friends - if this isn’t a magical moment we don’t know what is.
[via Neatorama]

What could possibly be even more awesome than a photo of Sir Patrick Stewart wearing a cotton candy mustache or lounging in a bathtub while dressed as a lobster? Here it is: a photo of Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen both wearing bowler hats while sitting together on Santa’s lap. This particular Santa might just be having the best Christmas ever.

However you choose to look at it - Gandalf and Captain Picard, Magneto and Professor X, or just two amazing actors and good friends - if this isn’t a magical moment we don’t know what is.

[via Neatorama]

Today the Department of Unexpected Interspecies Friendship shows us a real life example of The Fox and the Hound currently taking place in a forest in Norway. Sniffer the wild fox and Tinni the domestic dog first met by chance while Tinni was out for a walk with his human, photographer Torgeir Berge. The unlikely pair became fast friends and now Torgeir photographs their heartwarming daily encounters. Sniffer and Tinni frolic in their secluded woodland playground until they’ve tired each other out, at which point they settle down and relax together.

The tender and playful relationship between the two is captured in these photos and Berge was so inspired by it that he decided to release a book chronicling the canine duo called The Fox and the Dog which will feature fairytales based on their friendship.

More so, Berge noted how similar his dog and Sniffer were and his thoughts on Norway’s controversial fox-fur trade changed so much that he is now campaigning to have it banned. Berge observed ‘how similar foxes and dogs actually are’ and labels the fox, the ‘dog of the forest’.

Berge will donate a large portion of the proceeds from the book to help his conservation and anti-fur trade campaign.

In addition to their book, Sniffer and Tinni also have their own Facebook page where you can follow their ongoing adventures.

[via Dailymail.co.uk]

While we can’t say for certain that this frog and beetle are friends, we’re still filing it in the Department of Unexpected Interspecies Friendship because it looks as though they’re in the middle of a great and noble quest. Even Nicolas Reusens Boden, the Swedish photographer who took it, entitled his awesome photo The Knight and His Steed.
Nicolas had this to say about his remarkable photo:

"Although controlled, this shot was not prepared at all, I was performing a workshop with the Agalychnis callidryas treefrog from Costa Rica when the frog managed to jump to the branch where this huge titan was sleeping…I had my gear ready so I only had to change a few settings and shoot…the rest is history.”

This photo is one of over 100,000 photos submitted to the 2014 Sony World Photography Awards, which is open to students, amateur photographers and professionals alike. Visit the World Photography Organisation website to view more.
[via My Modern Metropolis]

While we can’t say for certain that this frog and beetle are friends, we’re still filing it in the Department of Unexpected Interspecies Friendship because it looks as though they’re in the middle of a great and noble quest. Even Nicolas Reusens Boden, the Swedish photographer who took it, entitled his awesome photo The Knight and His Steed.

Nicolas had this to say about his remarkable photo:

"Although controlled, this shot was not prepared at all, I was performing a workshop with the Agalychnis callidryas treefrog from Costa Rica when the frog managed to jump to the branch where this huge titan was sleeping…I had my gear ready so I only had to change a few settings and shoot…the rest is history.”

This photo is one of over 100,000 photos submitted to the 2014 Sony World Photography Awards, which is open to students, amateur photographers and professionals alike. Visit the World Photography Organisation website to view more.

[via My Modern Metropolis]