I witnessed an interesting overture of friendship between two non-human mammals: my dog Rosie and a ram.
The dog and I were walking in Wakapuaka Cemetery, a cool and lovely retreat on a hot summer’s day with banks of purple agapanthus in bloom, and a view over the sea and the Boulder Bank.
A flock of sheep were grazing in a field behind a double wire fence. All of the sheep - except a big ram - moved nervously up the hillside at our approach.
My dog seemed quietly interested in the ram and so I allowed her - still on her lead - to sniff her way towards it.
The ram watched the dog for a moment, and then to my great surprise, leaned awkwardly down on one shoulder so he could get closer to the dog.
My dog responded by calmly putting her head through the wire of the fence and touching the ram's nose with her own. The two animals communed through the fence like that for a long, long time, noses touching, exchanging breaths.