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I may be, low-key, stalking a dog.

Or maybe I've come across a once-in-a-lifetime serendipitous opportunity that makes you question the fate and random chance, the ups and downs, that makes life so interesting.

You tell me.

I was scrolling through old dog-related posts on a local neighborhood forum, and saw a picture of my dog. Or, on closer inspection, it wasn't my dog, but a slightly chubbier version, with all the same color, oddly shaped ears, and unusual white spots on the back of the neck. The original post is from January of this year, and was seeking a foster home for the dog in question. The dog and her owner were recipients of an organization that provides food and vet care for homeless people's pets, then, sadly, her owner suddenly died.

Closer inspection of the photos revealed more similarities: the photo dog, Samantha, had a bad heat rash on her neck from rubbing against a collar, an ailment to which my dog, Bonnie, is prone. Also, the dog in the photo was wearing shoes, which I think could be another shared genetic illness, as my dog has chronically itchy/red/sore feet. Interestingly, my family, friends, and I always guessed that the past of my Bonnie was spent with a homeless owner. She is came in to a shelter as a stray and unclaimed for four months, so she couldn't have been lost and never reunited, but it's reasonable that a homeless owner could have lost track of her and too busy with taking care of themself to search the city pound and pay the reclaim fee. But she was well-loved (wearing a bandana in her intake photo), well-trained, very relaxed in public places, and well-fed, except for a ravenous appetite reminiscent of a past of food insecurity and possibly a McDonalds rather than kibble-based diet. It's possible they were both born to a litter given to friends who all fell into a similar situation.

The post from 10 months ago labelled the photo-dog, Samantha, as 8-9 years old. My dog was brought into a shelter as a stray in June nearly a year and a half ago was labelled 7 years old, and now would be 8-9. So with a bit of a margin of error of age calculation due to unknown history, they're about 0-2 years apart, so they could possibly be siblings from the same litter, siblings from a different litter a year or two apart, or if greater difference in age than thought, they could be a young parent and pup. I do know from the looks of her that my dog had a litter in the past, and has puppies somewhere.

So, me being my rather dog-obsessed self and feeling rather emotional because my dog Bonnie was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer, I sent a message to the person who commented on the post confirming that she would foster telling her the situation, and asking if she still had the dog or if she could get me in touch with her new owners so they can meet.

I suppose I lied, it isn't exactly a once in a lifetime thing, because this happened to me once before. About six or seven years ago I saw a dog in a shelter that looked startlingly like my dog who has since passed. When I asked the front desk about records, it turned out they were indeed sisters: the other dog had originally come into the shelter the same day as mine, at the same age, then adopted the day before I adopted my dog. The people who had surrendered her were visiting her, and my family shared our findings and chatted. They had to give her up a year after adopting because she and the older dog in the house stopped getting along as the puppy grew, unfortunately. Anyway, I guess it isn't too unbelievable a situation, and in my single case study my visual identification was right about the family ties.

Have any of you ever been in a situation like this, or had dog family members reunite? Dog memory works different than human, and as long as they aren't siblings from different litters who never met, I wonder if they would remember each other. My instinctual guess is that a mother dog would probably recognize her puppy and vice-versa, though with siblings it might depend on the individual, or how much time has passed, or how long the puppies stayed with their mother. But if they did meet and recognize one another, it would be quite amazing, so I decided to risk disappointment or looking like a weirdo by trying to arrange a meeting. I'll update as this story progresses!

My heart goes out to the woman of much different life experience than me, who shared her love with a much similar dog.
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