My cat Victoria has not lived the easiest of lives. She was a feral "teen-age" mom on the streets of Washington D.C. When I adopted her, she was terrified of everything and didn’t leave the closet she sought shelter in for six months. Eventually, she began to venture out but was still timid. She continued to get braver as the years passed, until Pippin arrived.

Pippin was a brute — a 12 pound bully in fighting-fit shape. He tormented 8 pound Victoria mercilessly. Despite our best attempts to keep the two cats separated, Pippin would attack whenever the opportunity arose. Eventually (for this and other reasons), we had to find Pippin another home. Victoria was in seventh heaven. At last she was an only pet, and she loved it.

Then Apollo arrived. He is 80+ pounds of exuberance in the shape of a young boxer. When he entered our home, he was in no way aggressive toward Vicky, but I wouldn’t exactly call him respectful. Yet, the two of them are best friends. Vicky routinely “head bonks” Apollo and taps him with her paw when he doesn’t realize she’s nearby. Apollo loves to lick Vicky, and though I can’t say she looks thrilled to be covered in boxer slobber, she has never reprimanded him for doing so.

The unlikely friendship between my young, muscle-bound boxer and tiny, elderly kitty makes me smile.

There’s a new book out that showcases pictures and stories of love from the animal kingdom. It’s called True Love: 24 Surprising Stories of Animal Affection. It includes:

  • a flamingo that sat on a stone in hopes it would hatch into a baby
  • the surprising bond between a gorilla and a rabbit at Erie Zoo
  • a lovesick dog that snuck out in the middle of the night to track down his lady love
  • a dolphin that jumped into his killer whale best friend’s tank for an overnight play date
  • a hen that acted as a surrogate mother to a litter of puppies

The picture on the cover even reminds me a little bit of Victoria and Apollo.

true love, animal love, can animals love, valentine dog, valentine cat

Check out the Huffington Post for more delightful pictures from the book.

What’s your experience? Do your pets love one another?

Dr. Jennifer Coates

Image: Dog Cat Love by Cary Bass / via Flickr