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Oh, Lord. Poor Otis is far too heartbreaking to cope with. And he’s not the first lovelorn swan I’ve heard of. A friend of mine used to live in Portsmouth and watched as a swan looked for love, found love, build a next, had babies, only to be thwarted by the weather: apparently the nest locaton was not well-chosen and after some torrential rains, the nest was washed away – along with the swan’s family. After that, apparently, he just moped about, not even considering the possibility of new love in his life.

There are few things more heartbreaking than sad animals. Though at least they don’t have to suffer the ignominy of online dating.

Can you imagine that? Actually, I can and it’s kind of great.

Imagine something like Animal Tinder. All the love-sick animals in the world could gather there and try their chances.

Maybe the Toronto High Park Capybaras fancy a bit of a change – I imagine either one of them would make quite a catch, not the least of which because they’re celebrities due to their daring escape last summer.

I can imagine all sorts of other services popping up to help these animals find success: first-date friendly coffee shops and bars, herbivores up front, carnivores in back, segregated in the same way we used to have smoking and non-smoking sections. This would of course lead to all sorts of weird and wonderful mixtures of species, and maybe we’d see a duck walking wing in arm down the road with a rabbit, or maybe a pony who’s befriended an otter – though, that might be a tricky one to sustain, given the height difference, and the difficulty I’d imagine on coming to terms with where they might live – on land or in the water. Though, I’d doff my hat to a pony who just went for it: Damnit, I don’t care that I’m a land-based creature, I love this otter! And marching straight into the river.

Though, that said, I’m not sure how much good that would do for poor old Otis. I admire his spirit, his insistence that his mate was his one and only. And I feel that in some ways, he’s a good fit with our lot. In fact, if The Mom knew more about swans – besides that they bite – I wonder if she’d be tempted to offer him a home at ours. He might enjoy spending his afternoons on the deck, and I’m fairly certain he could squeeze into the pool and do his laps with The Mom. In fact, they might well become fast friends.

I read once about this penguin, somewhere in South America, who returned to his human soul mate year after year. The penguin did not take kindly to any interlopers and if someone else got too close to his human friend, well, that was it: attack penguin. I imagine, in some ways, The Mom and Otis coming to a happy retirement together along similar lines… The Mom not quite understanding why Otis is taken with her, nor what she ought to do upon finding herself the object of a swan’s affections, but still, I reckon she’d take it in her stride, and frankly, I’m really enjoying imagining the pair of them wandering around the neighbourhood in the summer.

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