Valentine’s love stories |

Valentine’s love stories

This past Valentine’s Day was a very special one for a horse, a hippo and a turtle – the former a longtime local “resident,” the latter two critters in the care of an animal facility in Mombassa, Kenya.

Sandbar the horse celebrated his 32nd birthday – a milestone for horses – on Feb. 14th, Valentine’s Day, at the ranch on Cottonwood Pass where he is cared for by his owner, Taylor Seelbinder. Sandbar has lived most of his long life with Taylor, though she happens to be two years younger than him – not many people have pets older than themselves.

In Kenya, a 650-pound baby hippopotamus named Owen escaped almost certain death and was separated from his natural family only to adopt a new “mother” – 100 times as old as he is.

Last December, the hippo somehow got swept into the Indian Ocean, where tsunami waves forced him back to shore. Wildlife rangers rescued him and brought him to the refuge, where he formed a strong bond with a 100-year-old giant male tortoise. The two now behave just like animal family members – they eat, sleep and swim together, and the hippo follows his “mom” around everywhere, and protects her from harm.

The lesson, perhaps, of these two stories, is that love transcends all differences.