Dennis the duck and Fern, a six-month-old cocker spaniel puppy become unlikely best friends
A rescue duck and cocker spaniel have become an unlikely pair of best friends – sharing meals, cuddling up and even rolling around together on the floor.
When owners Sarah-Jayne Little, 26, and Sam Leadley, 27, brought their new puppy Fern to their home in Whitby, Yorkshire, in February, they were concerned their duck Dennis might be territorial.
However, it quickly became apparent to the couple that the two-year-old duck wasn’t going to bite the new dog and they have been playing together ever since.
Owners Sarah-Jayne Little, 26, and Sam Leadley, 27, (pictured) from Whitby were worried their pet duck would be territorial when they brought home a new puppy in February
Now every morning the first thing Dennis does when he’s let out of his hutch is run around the farm looking for his puppy pal.
Not only will six-month-old Fern roll around on the floor with her bird buddy and share his food, she watches him while he swims across their little pond ‘to make sure he’s safe’.
Account manager Sarah-Jayne said: ‘They love chasing each other all day every day. When Dennis gets in the pond, Fern watches over him.
‘She’s not brave enough to get in with him yet but she stands at the side and looks over him so he’s safe.
However, it quickly became apparent that Dennis the duck and six-month-old cocker spaniel, Fern, would become the best of pals and have been playing together ever since
Sarah-Jayne says Fern watches the two-year-old duck swim in the pond ‘to make sure he’s safe’ but is not yet brave enough to get in with him
‘They’re now rolling around together on the floor daily. She’ll lay down and let Dennis jump on her having a play. We were worried he might have been being territorial but it’s definitely playing now.
‘Dennis was the boss from day one but they’ve developed into best friends ever since. Now everything is a game for them.
‘The first thing Dennis does in the morning is to go looking for Fern. If she’s not with us later in the day for some reason, you can see he’s disappointed.’
Sarah-Jayne and joiner Sam rescued Dennis along with another duck called Dorothy at the start of the year and now have four ducks, four chickens and a rooster along with Fern.
Now every morning the first thing Dennis does when he’s let out of his hutch is run around the farm looking for his puppy pal and they often play together rolling around on the ground
Sarah-Jayne explained that Dennis was the boss ‘from day one’ but they have developed into best friends and everything is a game for them
The couple rescued Dennis along with another duck called Dorothy at the start of the year and now have four ducks, four chickens and a rooster along with Fern the dog
Sarah-Jayne said: ‘Fern isn’t interested in any of our other three ducks and they’re not bothered about her. It’s only Dennis who has made the cut.
‘I think she realised she had to fit in with him which has helped. As she’s known him since she was a pup she knows to play with him rather than hunt him.
‘He’s very bold and the first thing every morning when we take Fern outside to go see all the animals, Dennis will run over to her.
‘What is even funnier is Dennis isn’t interested in any other dogs. If our family brings their dogs over, he’s not bothered by them at all.
Sam, who works as a joiner, and Sarah-Jayne, who works as an account manager, say that Fern even shares her food with her bird buddy
The special friendship between the pair is unique as Dennis isn’t interested in any other dogs and Fern still maintains a hunting instinct with other birds – except for Dennis
‘As she’s a working dog, Fern will still flush other birds when we’re out walking but because she’s had Dennis there since she was a pup, that hunting connection has never been made.
‘Some people have suggested Dennis might be a bit confused and fancies Fern but it’s definitely a friend relationship.
‘When Dennis first started to chase her, Fern wasn’t quite sure what was going on and I think she was a little scared but when he let her get close and he wasn’t going to hurt her, she started running after him too.’