Marty the duck, a favorite among the visitors who would often sit near Langdon’s Pond, recently became inconsolable after his “wife” passed away. She lost an eye when some local teenagers accidentally clipped her with a BB gun. The wound became infected, and veterinarians at the nearby animal hospital were unable to save her.

Rather than proudly strut and squawk before the delighted crowds, Marty began keeping to himself. His mood was noticeably different. His temperament was gruff and angry. Children, who had for so long delighted in feeding him chunks of bread, were nearly attacked. The parks service had to, for the first time, surround the banks of Langdon’s Pond with a security rope.

But that all changed two weeks ago, when Fanny, a 4-year old cow who had wandered away from a nearby farm, happened to spot a down-on-his-luck Marty. Almost immediately, the two became inseparable.

They would nuzzle each other when they slept. They would feed each other. Fanny even chased off a few leering hawks who got too close to her pal Marty. As Park Ranger Sarah Coslan put it, “They were best friends. BFFs, through and through. They say animals don’t experience the full range of human emotions, but after watching Marty and Fanny get along, I feel like I can say, with certainty, they have souls. And those souls are fully entwined.”

Fanny and Marty were served at my dinner party last night, with a red wine reduction sauce and roasted potatoes. It was mostly work people, so it wasn’t that fun, but the food was pretty good.

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