Several months ago a stray dog and a motherless deer in Kansas City formed an unlikely friendship that warmed the hearts of residents across the town.
And they met in a cemetery, of all places.
The deer, named Ella, was born at Elmwood Cemetery around Memorial Day 2011, and she lost her mother to a traffic accident. She has roamed alone ever since, and sometimes shows up at funerals.
But now the bond has been broken, as the dog was taken away by authorities in hopes of finding it a better home.
Bruce Mathews, a trustee at Elmwood Cemetery, photographed the two animals and their unlikely companionship.
"It breaks my heart that they have to be separated, but they must," Mathews wrote in an email to friends of Elmwood, obtained by the Kansas City Star. "Am I sorry they found each other? Absolutely not! I believe they became friends to teach us a lesson, however we each might interpret it."
There was a growing concern that the dog would not survive the winter in the cemetery, so authorities arranged to bring it to a local shelter. This week a van came to take the pooch away.
Matthews solemnly recounted the moment Ella and the dog were separated.
"Ella just stood there and looked at the van that was taking the pooch off," Matthews said. "And Ella came up and it was like she was saying goodbye to her."
Matthews says the companionship between Ella and the stay dog can be seen as a lesson in the values of working together, and he hopes the gridlocked legislators in Washington D.C. take note.
"I have thought about all of the Republicans and Democrats who are in Washington who are supposed to be working from the common good," Matthews said. "They could come here and take a lesson from Ella and the dog."