The particulars of dog friendship

NICK BARNETT
Last updated 09:01 21/06/2013

If dogs are man's best friend, then who is dogs' best friend? Oh, that's right, it must be us. In that case, who is dogs' second best friend? And to that I answer, another dog.

Dog friendship is a wonderful thing. It can start in a second, as two dogs read each other's posture, sniff each other's heritage, and then launch into what could become a lifetime of games without boundaries and furious folies a deux. Or it could take a little more care and time, a little more posture-reading and ancestry-sniffing.

You can tell that Riley and Vinnie are friends. Who else would share a catwalk so generously?

Riley and Vinnie

Brodie and Solly are assistant branch managers.

Brodie and Solly

The best game two dog friends can play is chase: a few moments of mock pursuit, followed by that exquisite crash and roll that they're pretending to avoid. Keiser and Fly are exponents.

Kaiser

On a pack walk, dogs become each other's sentinel and lieutenant. On the left are Monty and Elsie, on the right are Cody and Bella.

Monty and Elsie

Cody and Bella

Ah, the mouthing. It's a deep part of dog instinct and dog society, involving taste and restraint as well as sheer joy. It is often accompanied by a vocal expression that I can best transcribe as ung ung ung, which I suppose is dog for om nom nom.

Flash and Sonic

Smudge gets ready to receive the serve, while Jessie covers the net.

Smudge and Jessie

There are no breed boundaries to dog friendship: Chance and Ben are happy playmates.

Chance and Ben

Friendship always has that hint of competitiveness, doesn't it? As Jack and Charlie lope across the sand, ownership of that red ball is never far from their thoughts.

Jack and Charlie

Syd and Sam scan the horizon (left) while Grub and Jim take the waters.

Syd and Sam

Grub and Jim

The start of a beautiful friendship? Shy young Aloysius has just met the terribly interesting and dauntingly sophisticated Otis.

Aloysius and Otis

Friends stand up for each other's rights, including the pressing right to have a treat, please. These patient faces belong to Scooter and Rosie.

Scooter and Rosie

Travelling companions: Tess and Sam.

Tess and Sam

Bedfellows: Snazzy and Spike.

Snazzy and Spike

Do I get a hug? Benji and big Zarn.

Benji and Zarn

Sun worshippers: Hoshi and Monty.

Hoshi and Montty

Best mates: Rosco and Vader take a break during a big, breathy, Boxery game.

Rosco and Vader

Jack and Rosie have each other's back.

Jack and Rosie

Buster and Madison like to hang together (left); the late Hammy and Percy give meaning to the word "bask".

Buster and Madison

Hammy and Percy

Friendship is enhanced when enough sleeping room is provided for all. (I don't have a record of these dogs' names, so if they're yours, let us know.)

Janie's dogs

Boo and Sprout are in this together (left); Dibble and Puku work as a team.

Boo and Sprout

Dibble and Puku

Cody and Princess snuggle (left). Missy and Riley show that you have to stick together through the hard times, such as bathtime and that period afterwards when you just can't wait to get dry.

Cody and Princess

Missy and Riley

Audrey and Arya have equal pull in their house, and they make sure to contribute exactly 50 per cent each to the total amount of mess.

Audrey and Arya

Finally, friends back each other up in the strange times, those times when mum wants to doll you up. In this case, Hugo and Minnie are dressed up to collect money for Parkinson's NZ; the costumes refer to Muhammad Ali's phrase, "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee". So Hugo and Minnie float and sting every year for the cause, and show their friendship not just for each other but for us humans.

Hugo and Minnie

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