A Tale of Two Tails
Adopting a dog or cat can often mean that their history, including who loved or didn’t love them before you, will remain a mystery. At first, the Moon Pearl puppies were no exception to this rule.
Mama Moon Pearl and her five puppies were surrendered to BARCS in the spring of 2018 after a home eviction. During intake, the BARCS team learned that the litter was originally 12, but one of the puppies passed in birth and the other six had been sold.
The Moon Pearl 5, as they were called, were the stars of that spring’s Pawject Runway ‘catwalk.’ Soon after, Manny and his four sisters Bella, Gigi, Rita and Mango were each adopted into loving homes. The adopters and foster families wound up calling each other friends and still get together to this day for Moon Pearl playdates.
But at every play date, the conversation wound up in the same place, wondering about the whereabouts of those other six siblings. Were they being taken care of? Did they like to tunnel under the covers like the Moon Pearl 5? Did they make the same weird noises when playing?
Over the next year, two dogs came into BARCS that bore a strong resemblance to the lanky Moon Pearls. Bailey, a BARCS staff member and Manny’s adopter, was hot on the case to figure out if they were part of the missing six. First, there was a surrendered dog named Elm who Bailey was able to trace back to the Moon Pearl litter. The second was a stray dog named Khokolate who was a spitting image of the litter, but there wasn’t enough information to know for sure.
“Dog owners, especially those who rescue, love when they see other dogs that look like they could be their dog’s brother or sister. I was no different; even though I already knew some of my dog’s siblings, I wanted to ‘see’ them in every similar dog that passed through BARCS,” said Bailey. “When one of them is your family, you feel like they are all your family.”
One afternoon in July, Bailey started getting tagged in the same social media post about a stray dog who was found nearly lifeless on the side of the road during a powerful thunderstorm. Friends wondered if her dog Manny had gotten loose. But while the resemblance was uncanny, it wasn’t Manny.
The finder brought the dog, named Cooper, to BARCS. He was severely emaciated and cried constantly in his kennel, hanging his head and wagging just the tip of his skinny, furless tail. Bailey visited Cooper every day during his stray hold.
“His mannerisms are what really grabbed my heart, but also broke it. It was like looking at my own dog, but in a truly horrifying and scary situation.” Bailey wondered, “Where had this dog been? Why was he so skinny but lacked the other conditions conducive to a dog who had been out running around for a long time? Did someone knowingly do this to such an innocent little bug?”
After Cooper’s three day stray hold was up, Bailey took him home to foster.
Immediately, friends started commenting about Cooper and Manny’s resemblance. Bailey felt like it was too far fetched for them to actually be brothers, but the fairytale possibility was a fun layer in this foster journey. Soon, so many people became invested in Cooper and Manny’s potential brotherhood that Bailey and her boyfriend Danny needed to know either way. Doubtful, and suppressing too much hope, they sent in doggy DNA tests for both boys, which were gifted to them by the family of another littermate.
Yesterday, the results came back. And as it turns out, Cooper WAS one of the missing brothers. By fate, he wound up in the foster home of is actual littermate, Manny.
“There was a small part of my dog-mom intuition that kept saying ‘Cooper is also your baby, you know it in your heart,’ but I was honestly still shocked with the test results. BARCS takes in 12,000 animals each year. Manny and Cooper entered BARCS with nearly 20,000 homeless animals between them--resemblance aside, the odds are nearly impossible.”
As exciting as that news was, there was a second surprise on the family tree provided by the DNA company: another sibling named Heidi that lives in Pennsylvania. Bailey couldn’t help but wonder, so she emailed Khokolate’s adopters to see if they had taken a DNA test too. They had! Khokolate, now Heidi, is a trained pointing dog living a big, spacious life up north.
And so the Moon Pearl 5 became the Moon Pearl 8 with the welcome addition of Cooper, Heidi and Elm. While we may ultimately never know where the other Moon Pearl puppies ended up, Bailey wants their owners to know that she, and the other Moon Pearl parents, are thinking of them often.
“It can be fun to wonder where your pet’s siblings are. I’m very lucky in that I got to ‘find’ three more of Manny’s siblings in the last year. Even though they wound up coming through the shelter, it’s only happy days from here on out. Because of BARCS, they will be deeply loved and well cared for just like the original Moon Pearl puppies.”
We hope that this happy Baltimore story warmed your heart like it did all of ours. ❤️