A dog named Zip lives at S & K Quarter Horses in Fayette, America, owned by Carla Swindle. A few years ago, tragedy struck there when one of the horses, Sandy, died, leaving an orphaned nine-day-old foal named Ty. At that age, foals just can’t survive without their mother. And it’s not even about breastfeeding – it can be replaced with artificial milk formula – it’s about maternal warmth and care. Horses are social animals that need to communicate with congeners. Females develop a deep bond with their cubs, and if the mother does not abandon her foal for any reason, she becomes the most faithful protector for it.
It was very hard for the orphaned Ty to accept his mother’s death. He lay on the straw, unresponsive to anything. Seeing this, Zip just lay down beside him in silent support. According to Carla, it was as if the dog could feel the foal’s pain and sincerely tried to help.
“There was a moment when Zip, lying by the foal’s neck, suddenly started howling, as if he was trying to cry. My heart was tearing apart,” the woman said.
On that tragic night, Ty lost his mother, but gained a close friend. Zip became his mentor, his protector, and in some ways even a substitute for his parents. Since then Zip and Ty have always spent time together. According to Carla, who has raised generations of foals, this was the first time this had ever happened on a farm. Although Zip always showed interest in the newborns, he never bonded with them so much, never licked the foals, never laid down next to them or warmed them with his body.
“Apparently the dog somehow realized what had happened to Ty,” Carla opined.
Zip and Ty would meet every morning when Carla opened the barn to let the stallion out for fresh air. If the owner hesitated and didn’t go inside, the dog would nudge her – “Hurry up and bring my friend.” In the first few weeks, the foal refused to come out of the stable, and then Zip would just lie down next to him and spend the whole day with him.
Now Ty is doing well. He has grown into a happy, healthy stallion. He is active and spends a lot of time in the pastures with his congeners. According to Carla, he has “left his nest,” though he hasn’t forgotten the concerns of the small mongrel dog who once replaced his mother. And when the two accidentally meet, their special relationship is visible to the naked eye.