After companion dog dies, Alberta duck makes new canine friend
'It's so great that Cashew has a friend again'
Bruce the dog and Cashew the duck were an unlikely match.
The 130-pound Rottweiler and his feathered friend were inseparable.
They became the talk of the town in Thorsby, Alta., where they often greeted customers at the local pet shop.
When Bruce died in March, Andra Novakowsky never imagined her pet duck would find another canine friend.
Cashew had other plans.
The duck has now bonded with a three-year-old pitbull-mastiff mix named Onyx.
"They're friends," said Novakowsky, who owns Thorsby Pet Necessities.
"I don't think Cashew is as infatuated with Onyx as she was with Bruce. She had a big old crush on Bruce but she gets excited when Onyx comes in.
"She follows her around the store, she wants to sleep on the same bed. And Onyx is so sweet."
The cross-species friendship budded after a long, lonely summer for Cashew.
When Bruce died following a brief battle with lymphoma, the duck went into mourning.
Novakowsky said she wasn't in a rush to adopt another dog until she heard that Onyx needed a new home.
She never expected the big, black beast would be a good match for Cashew. The dog seemed nervous around her new owners and had a long history of chasing birds.
"I kind of fell in love with her face," said Novakowsky. "I can't ever compare a dog to Bruce, because he was just phenomenal. But there was a softness in his eyes and she had the same softness. There was something there."
It was just too bizarre how well it worked out.- Andra Novakowsky
Novakowsky arranged a meeting at her pet shop — and braced herself for chaos.
"She was indifferent to Cashew, which was strange," Novakowsky said of Onyx. "She was so mellow."
The meeting went so well, Novakowsky had the dog stay overnight for a trial run. Onyx never left.
"We let Cashew out of her kennel so she could be walking around with Onyx, and in no time they were laying down together, sleeping together.
"It was just too bizarre how well it worked out."
The dog and duck have now become a fixture at the pet store, where they cuddle up on the same bed and begrudgingly share treats and toys.
Novakowsky likes to think Bruce would be happy to know the little duck has a new friend and protector
"Onyx will never replace Bruce, but it's so great that Cashew has a friend again."