Recently I heard about a homeless man in California who had a pet dog, cat and rat that all got along famously. Maybe they have bound together, the four of them, just to survive. Or maybe each of them realized that the only way they’d all survive would be as friends.

It would be a great idea to expand that reality to our planet, which isn’t all that large when you think about it, and decide that mankind might have a better chance at survival by not blowing each other to smithereens. Since we’re all members of the same species, there’s really no excuse!

I’ve known a lot of cats and dogs who’ve become great friends. Sometimes this relationship ends up commemorated in jewelry and art – very fitting, I think.

It may say something about us that we are so surprised when animals of different species become friends. I think it’s the way it should or could be, especially when one of them isn’t a natural predator or prey of the other one.

There is also this thing called symbiosis . It’s when one life form is dependant on another life form for sustenance or companionship. I like the companionship part the best, but in nature much of the time it’s a matter of survival.

Take the clownfish and the anemone. We’ve all seen those animal specials on TV with the colorful little orange and white fish hanging out inside the ropey tentacles of a sea anemone. Most fish would be stung, paralyzed and devoured by the anemone.

But because of special protection, the little fish is unharmed by the poison and at the same time is safe from any fish that might think of him as a snack.

What does the anemone get out of the deal? Well, it gets extra meals. No, not its little orange and white friend, but the fish that want to eat the clownfish. Those other fish see him looking smug in there with those tentacles and they figure it must be safe. They plunge right in after him and that’s the end of them.

They are real pal those two!

Makes you wonder how in the world that ever got arranged. And what beginning symbiotic relationships might be developing right under our very noses right now!

My favorite is when a mama animal adopts babies of another species, raising them as her own. I have a photograph in an old British book about cats of a mama tabby nursing a litter of hedgehogs. Sounds pretty prickly! But she’d lost her own kittens and these little orphans needed a new mom.