By Daily Mail Reporter
The dog and the elk: Freddie enjoys the company of his furry friend
Freddie the elk enjoys palling around with his furry friends, jumping in his owner's car for a quick ride and living indoors - seemingly unaware he is a completely different species to your average pet.
Freddie was rescued when he was a calf and has been so incorporated into the domestic live of his caretaker, he lives as though he were a pet dog at his owner's home at the Gauja National Park in Vidzeme, Latvia.
He was born as a set of triplets and after being abandoned by his mother, was found by Velga Vitola, a caretaker at the national park in eastern Europe.
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Species confusion: Freddie doesn't seem to realize that his fellow elk roam the forest instead of living indoors
Freddie and the cat: The domesticated elk even gets along with the house feline
She gave him milk as he struggled to survive and raised him alongside her pet dog.
Ms Vitola is known for her kind heart and has often rescued animals she encounters.
Called 'the mother of all animals,' she has also raised two bears in her home, and actually had two cubs sleep alongside her in bed.
Rescued at birth: Freddie was born as a set of triplets and was abandoned by his mother
Adopted: Velga Vitola found the young calf and raised him as her own
Animal lover: Freddie was rescued by Velga Vitola, who is called 'The Mother of All Animals'
The first bear died but the second, Ilzite, who is now 10, still lives in her backyard though in a caged area.
Though Ilzite is too large to cuddle anymore, the two still get affectionate through the cage.
Just one of the dogs: The young elk plays around with the pet dog
Friends: Even as Freddie grew, they continued to play together
Big and little: Freddie retains his friendship with the pet dog
'It's a kiss for mom,' Velga explains in a 2012 documentary, as Ilzite licks Velga's face and opens her mouth wide, though not to take a bite out of the animal lover
'This is our chat, she tells me about her day,' she says, explaining how she builds a relationship of trust with the animals in her care.
Bear cub: Velga Vitola with a bear cub she raised
Bear kisses: Even though the bear has grown, Velga still enjoys getting affectionate
Though Velga has been plagued with health problems she chooses to remain close to the animals she loves in the park because of the authenticity of the relationship.
'People have masks. We go to work, to the theater, we drive our cars, and we have masks on. We are not ourselves,' she said.
'But when an animal looks at you, he is himself. Without a mask. That's a thing we could learn from them.'
Gauja National Park is a popular tourist attraction, offering visitors picturesque nature views in addition to tours of historical monuments like stone castles, churches and artistic monuments.
Cat and bear: Her baby bear plays with her pet cat
Velga Vitola is a caretaker at the Gauja National Park, Latvia, a popular tourist attraction for nature lovers
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Monday, September 10, 2012
Meet Freddie, the elk who thinks he's a dog: Friendly animal loves to play with other pets after being adopted by kind-hearted owner
By Daily Mail Reporter