Human beings can take a lesson in kindness from the animal kingdom after a manatee was photographed in Florida standing guard over a dog who needed rescuing from the Hillsborough River in Tampa’s Seminole Heights neighborhood.
The photograph, which was snapped by Officer Jodie Maxim, is currently making the Internet rounds, and it was originally published on the Tampa Police Department’s Facebook page.
“Animals always seem to ‘get it,’ even when humans don’t,” reads one comment on the Facebook page.
Randy Lopez, 30, who works in the Tampa Police Department’s Marine Patrol Unit, told ABC News that the manatee was likely drawn to the dog because of the commotion it was making as it clung to a concrete wall in the river, unable to free itself.
But Lopez also suggested that there could have been other, more altruistic, reasons for the encounter.
"They're curious by nature, so I'm sure the sound of the dog splashing in the water trying to get up the sea wall got his attention and he came over to investigate, maybe calm the dog and tell him it was going to be alright," Lopez told ABC News.
Fortunately, the dog was safely returned to its owners.
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