Happy Friendship Day!

Jul 21, 2023 Seemeen Khan

Animal-Human Friendship

Give it a try and see it thrive!

We search high and low for the right person who thinks like us, wants to do the same things as us, is cool to hang out with and the list just goes on and on. Finding a friend can be quite a challenging task!

But not if you look in slightly different places.

A few months ago I shifted to a high rise in Gurgaon after living in a colony in Delhi. Everything was so new and I was feeling quite lost- trying to find just the right sort of friends. I would think about who to go say hello to, what to talk about so that they would like me enough to include me in their friends groups. It was quite stressful, honestly!

Then one day just as I entered my shower- I saw the silhouette of a pigeon sitting on my window ledge. The glass is frosted so I could make out its form as it tried to balance itself there for a quick rest.

I had heard that pigeons are a huge nuisance in this area and people complained incessantly about them. We had got pigeon nets put in our balconies so that they wouldn’t bother us.

So when I saw this pigeon my first instinct was to open the window to shoo it away and I promptly did that thinking that it was dirtying my ledge.

Next day, as I entered my bathroom – there was the silhouette again. This time it was gurgling its pigeon talk as it shifted around. I decided to let it be- thinking it must be tired with all the flying around.

Before I knew it, this became an everyday occurrence. I would go to the bathroom and find the pigeon sitting there comfortably. And I would be happy to see it sitting there.

Slowly I started putting out a little rice for my ‘first new friend’ in my new neighborhood. It felt rather nice, I have to admit- and I didn’t mind the resultant mess that was there on the ledge.

I don’t know if the pigeon knew me but I liked making this acquaintance and for this sense of familiarity that it brought in for me.

The thing about animal- human friendships is that the lack of verbal communication and the absence of a shared language can actually build stronger bonds than those based on communication. The unsaid words leave a lot to imagination and can make you feel so much more for each other.

And I realized this after a particularly stormy night in Gurgaon. Trees had fallen everywhere and there was a lot of talk about how frightening the thunder and lightning had been. I was particularly upset because my pigeon friend had disappeared. I would go in and see a vacant window ledge. The sorrow I felt was quite a lot for a creature I had hardly had any communication with. I spent a lot of time thinking of what could have happened to the pigeon on that stormy night. I was most certain it had perished.

My little nephew and niece would also enquire everyday if the pigeon friend had come back. Soon I was talking about my friend with my husband, discussing how tough life is for the small animals around us.

My little friendship had made me think harder about a bird that most people were quite appalled by- a bird they were trying to get rid of. Animal- human friendships certainly make us a lot more sensitive, that’s for sure.

As if to reward my new found sensitivity, my pigeon friend returned after a few days- sitting and gurgling outside my window- making my world feel normal once again.

So on this International friendship day- I just want to put some thoughts out there for our dear readers.

  • Look around where you live to find friends who are not going to judge you at all - think of the squirrel that is scurrying in your park, the little kitten that’s frolicking about, the sparrows that flit on your balcony, the spider that lives in the crevice of your study table.
  • Build your animal friendships on kindness by finding ways to make their lives easier. Can you leave a few nuts or fruit around for that squirrel, or leave a little water bath for the sparrows? Think before you decide on swatting that bug- can you just lift it up with a cloth and leave it outside.
  • Listen to them as they try to talk to you. Pause a bit, be silent, let them communicate in nonverbal ways- do they keep coming back to you? Do they hang around a little longer every time? Are they pausing a bit longer to look at you? Learn animal language through observation and find yourself becoming a lot more alert and receptive as a person- that’s the pay back!
  • Bask in the feeling that you can form a unique bond with a creature that is not from the human race.

Go out there and make an animal friend today to celebrate true friendship – one in which there is no judgment, no fear of rejection, no chance of abandonment, no misunderstanding. In short – friendship in its purest form.

Happy Friendship Day!

About Us

Stray Relief and Animal Welfare (STRAW) India is a registered nonprofit /non-government organization and its focus is summed up in its motto, Animal Welfare through Education. It promotes empathy and compassion for all living beings and care for the environment by educating young people through its humane education programs and workshops.


Stray Relief and Animal Welfare (STRAW)
4th Floor, D2/2303, Vasant Kunj
New Delhi, INDIA
PIN: 110070
Email: [email protected]

Subscribe for updates


Follow Us