PBS’ Animal Odd Couples is an early candidate for the list of 2013’s best documentaries. This roughly hour long documentary from the network’s “Nature” series is a touching program that the entire family will love to watch together. It presents a variety of situations in which animals that should by no means be living in harmony are bucking the trend and doing just that. While the manifest function of this program may not be to send a message to viewers about what the human animal could be. But it does send the message that as different as humans are from one another, it is possible to live together peacefully. From stories of a coyote and a lion to a goat and a horse and even a dog and a deer, Animal Odd Couples takes those schmaltzy kicker stories from the broadcast news agencies and puts them into an entirely scientific but still heartwarming presentation.
One of the most eye opening and at the same time heartwarming stories included in Animal Odd Couples centers on the relationship of Jack the goat and Charlie the horse. It’s one of those stories that at the same time that it brings tears to the eyes really makes one think about the relationship between beings of two entirely different species. Jack the goat and Charlie the horse became friends early on when both were very young. Charlie just happened to be blind. SO he ended up relying on Jack to help guide him. Now on the scientific level one could say that this was a symbiotic relationship of sorts. But on a much deeper level, the long running relationship between the pair and Jack’s reaction to Charlie’s passing late in life makes for even more discussion. According to the study, there was a sort of emotional reaction. It makes one stop and think for a moment.
The case of Jack the goat and Charlie the horse is just one example of the enlightening studies presented in this program. It also presents the study of a tortoise and a goose who are unnamed. The four-year long relationship between the male goose and the female tortoise is noted by zookeepers as something that they have never seen. The goose seems to act extremely protective of the tortoise. And the pair is never apart. The devotion of the goose to the tortoise opens the discussion on the behavior of non-human animals even more. And it’s just one more interesting piece in this incredible documentary.
In another of the most interesting studies presented here, viewers are introduced to Kate the dog and her fawn friend, Pip. Kate essentially adopted Pip and raised her after Pip’s mother had either rejected her or had died. It isn’t made clear what exactly had happened to her mother. But that isn’t what’s most intriguing. In this second of the presentation’s dog and deer stories, viewers see what makes for a fitting closer segment. Viewers get the story of not just a friendship, but of a non-traditional family that has lasted for years. The statement made in this segment’s closing moments drives home what had been said all along. It doesn’t matter that the animals presented were from completely different species. They all still proved that it is possible to coexist. And if non-human animals can so peacefully coexist, so should humans be able to. They really are the example of what humans should and can hopefully be one day. Animal Odd Couples is available online now. It can be ordered direct via PBS’ online store, http://www.shoppbs.org.
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