You may have heard about Koko the gorilla and her cats. And then there was this woman, whose soulmate was an opossum. There was also a lady that had a very special friendship with a bee she rescued in her garden. Cross-species friendships are common. Some, like Koko’s, can be touching. Others are surprising. However, what about a dog who loves toads?
A Sensitive Soul
Chloe, a beagle mix, was adopted from a shelter at the tender age of four weeks. She was small, sick, and fragile. She needed a lot of kindness and care, and she got it from her adoptive family. Shelby Pittsley, who adopted Chloe, spent a lot of time nursing her back to health. And Chloe emerged from her illness not only healed but ready to pay the world back for its kindness.
Anyone who has ever loved a hound dog knows that these gentle souls are filled with warmth and love. Many of them are sensitive souls, who will happily parent any small creature that they feel needs them. In Chloe’s case, it’s toads.
Dog And Toad Are Friends
One day, Chloe discovered toads living in her backyard.
“She loves watching them swim and hop,” Pittsley told The Dodo. “[Chloe] She knows not to stomp on them or nibble them, she just enjoys watching them. Sometimes she casually walks on the side of them and follows them wherever they hop to.”
Pittsley’s other rescue dogs aren’t interested in the toads, but Chloe is fascinated. She checks on her little friends regularly and even gets upset when they’re not where they should be. Pittsley says,
“Every night at 9:30 exactly, little Chloe can be found scratching at our back door hoping to play with some toads. On nights when there are no toads to be found, Chloe becomes depressed, sulking in the middle of the yard.”
So what’s a pet parent to do? Help her pet take care of her pets, of course!
A Toad Hotel?
Pittsley’s home has several small pools for the dogs to play in. The toads love the pools as well. So Pittsley came up with the idea of building a “toad hotel” for the toads to stay in while taking advantage of the amenities. But this wasn’t just any flowerpot turned over with a crude entrance knocked out.
Pittsley tried to think about what toads might desire in a home, and then made up plans. She figured they’d need shade plants, easy ways in and out of the pool, water, and dirt to hide in. She said,
“I also made dirt mounds which extended over the rim of the pool so that the toads could hop in and out at any time.”
Once the “toad-tel” was finished, Pittsley put it in a shady area, with plants so that the toads could hide from birds. And the toads loved it! In fact, twelve toads came that first night!
And Chloe, of course, is over the moon.
What Kind of Toads Live in Your Area?
There are a lot of different kinds of toads, and chances are, some of them live in your area. However, before rolling out the red carpet, you should consider a few things.
Many toads, like the Colorado River Toad, are extremely poisonous. The Colorado River Toad, which lives primarily in southern Arizona, has been responsible for numerous poisonings of dogs and other pets. Other poisonous toads include the giant Cane Toad, which lives mainly in southern Texas and the southern tip of Florida. Marine Toads, which also live in Florida, are poisonous, too.
If you’re thinking of inviting toads into your yard, research the different species in your area. Make sure that you’re not putting yourself, or your pets, in danger.
How to Build a Wildlife Sanctuary in Your Backyard
Would you like to make your backyard a sanctuary for different kinds of local wildlife? Check out the National Wildlife Federation’s Backyard Habitat Certification Program. It sounds complicated, but it isn’t.
You can turn your yard, schoolyard, work landscape, roadside green space, or even your container garden into a Certified Wildlife Habitat. This certification means that the habitat you created meets the organization’s standards for supporting wildlife. That is that it provides the following:
- A food source
- Places to hide
- An area for wildlife to raise young
- Sustainable practices
In exchange, you’ll not only be helping wildlife, but you’ll also get a plaque to show your neighbors and passers-by that you’re building a wildlife habitat. Also, your $20 application fee will help the National Wildlife Federation to protect wildlife around the world.
Toward More Interspecies Understanding
People form bonds with the most unexpected animals. But animals form bonds across species as well. A dog who loves toads? Why not. Love is love, and it takes all kinds.
Featured Image: CC BY 3.9, by Benny Trapp, via Wikimedia Commons.