The last year has been a rough one for Bub the donkey and his bird friend, named Goose - but the pair has learned that life's still worth living as long as they have one another.
At age 43, Bub is one of the oldest residents at Rikki's Refuge, a sprawling sanctuary for farm animals in Virginia. He arrived there four years ago with another donkey, his mate Beebee, with whom he'd lived on another farm before their owner became too old to care for them.
The two never left each other's side - but then that sadly changed.
"Beebee passed away last year," a sanctuary staffer told The Dodo. "Bub was devastated."
With his lifelong partner gone, it might have seemed that the aging Bub would be soon to follow her in death. His sad solitude was soon ended, however, and by a surprising source.
Around that same time, a wild goose who'd visited the farm with his mate suddenly found himself alone, too.
Rather than fly away in search of greener pastures or perhaps a new female goose to partner with, Goose evidently took solace with Bub as his preferred companion - and the donkey did as well.
Since then, the two widowers have been inseparable, spending their days roaming side by side, facing the future together.
"An unlikely friendship was born and now they are literally never more than a heartbeat away from each other," the sanctuary wrote online, adding this sweet detail: