When dogs find their way into a shelter, it can be either the best or the worst thing to ever happen to them. For some, the shelter is a stepping stone to finding their forever family, but for others, it’s the place they are forced to face rejection day after day until someone decides no one will ever want them.
Normally, the lucky dogs who instantly get adopted can’t wait to go home and start their new lives. However, when a 3-year-old pit bull named Merrill got adopted soon after she landed in a shelter, she refused to leave because of who she would be forced to leave behind…
New Additions At Rocket Dog Rescue
In October 2014, an elderly male Chihuahua named Taco and a young female pit bull terrier named Merrill were dropped off together at Rocket Dog Rescue, a dog rescue organization run completely by volunteers in the San Francisco Bay Area in California.
Taco And Merrill
The person who brought the 2 dogs in told the staff nothing about why they were getting rid of the dogs or what kind of life they had before that moment. The only thing the staff at Rocket Dog Rescue knew at the time was that Taco the Chihuahua was 8 years old and Merrill the pit bull terrier was 3 years old…
A Noticeable Bond
The volunteers immediately noticed that Taco and Merrill seemed attached to each other, but they also knew how hard it was to find someone to adopt 2 dogs as a pair, which is why they planned to post separate listings. But before they could do that, the dogs had to be cleared for adoption.
The Health Exam
During the exam, veterinarians found evidence that Merrill had been used for breeding at some point in her life. They also discovered the 3-year-old had a bad urinary tract infection that needed to be treated immediately with an expensive surgery that would make her unable to have puppies in the future, which is why they suspected her original owner gave them up…
A Stressful Surgery
The staff prepared the operating room for Merrill’s surgery, however, when they took her from the kennel she shared with Taco, they realized just how attached the 2 dogs were. Both Merrill and Taco started crying and throughout the entire surgery, Taco was incredibly anxious and wouldn’t stop crying.
The staff had planned to let Merrill recuperate after surgery in her own cage, but as soon as Merrill was out of surgery and awake, the 2 dogs would not stop barking and whimpering for each other. By that point, the team knew they were going to have to do something because the separation anxiety the dogs had wasn’t healthy…
An Unorthodox Recovery
The team had no choice but let Taco into the recovery room so he and Merrill would finally calm down. Just as they expected, Taco curled up right next to Merrill and never left her side after that. In that moment, the staff members were relieved that the dogs were calm and resting, but they started to worry about what would happen when they were eventually separated.
Cleared For Adoption
When Merrill was cleared for adoption, the team went ahead with their original plan to post 2 separate adoption posts since they knew from experience that it would be nearly impossible to find someone willing to adopt both Merrill and Taco…
After posting the ads, they immediately were contacted by people interested in adopting Merrill. Sadly, no one contacted them about adopting Taco, which didn’t surprise the team since Taco was 8 years old and most people want younger dogs.
The staff was still holding out hope that someone would want to adopt Merrill and Taco together, but then someone came into the shelter 1 afternoon and instantly fell in love with Merrill. The staff wanted Merrill to go to a good home, so they gave him all the paperwork to sign so he could bring her home…
A Heartbreaking Realization
After the adoption papers were signed, the man opened the cage and took Merrill out. Both Merrill and Taco immediately started crying, and the staff had to explain that they were the only family they have both ever known. The man didn’t have the heart to separate Merrill and Taco, but he also couldn’t adopt them both.
A New Plan
The man ended up adopting another dog at the shelter that afternoon, and the experience showed the staff that they weren’t going to be able to separate Taco and Merrill. Instead, they had to come up with a new plan and do whatever it took to find a home that would take them together…
A Package Deal
The staff decided to post a joint adoption ad for both Taco and Merrill, and in the description, they explained that the dogs were a package deal since they refused to be split up. “These two love each other more than any bonded pair the shelter has ever seen,” the caption read.
The Joint Adoption Ad
“They cry when they leave each other’s side. This dynamic duo has lost their family, their home, and now we can’t let them lose each other!” The staff at Rocket Dog Rescue shared the post on their social media pages along with adorable photos of the pair…
Waiting For An Offer
As they expected, the post blew up and thousands of people were sharing their story. Soon enough, comments from people expressing interest in adopting the pair started flooding in. Now, they just had to wait for someone to contact them with a real offer to adopt Taco and Merrill.
A Real Offer
While they didn’t receive an adoption offer right away, a woman named Jodi offered to foster the dogs and get them out of the shelter until a serious offer was made. Not long after, a family from San Jose contacted Rocket Dog Rescue and said they had fallen in love with the photos of Taco and Merrill online…
Love At First Sight
The family made plans to meet the 2 dogs at Jodi’s house, and when they met the pair, it was love at first sight. Before adopting, the family decided to get them both checked out by a veterinarian just to make sure there were no other health issues that hadn’t been dealt with.
A Forever Home
While Merrill was now perfectly healthy because of the surgery she received while in the shelter, Taco had asthma and dental disease that caused him to lose most of his teeth. Despite the health issues Taco had, the family still wanted both dogs. They signed the adoption papers right away and took the pair home with them…
The Final Hurdle
The pair settled into their new home, but about a month later, Taco started looking unwell. When the family took him back to the vet, they were told Taco’s heart was enlarged and was causing his heart to fail. There was also fluid around his lungs. The family told the doctors they would do whatever it took to save Taco, so they started treatment and put him on medication.
A Miraculous Ending
Merrill refused to leave Taco’s side, and miraculously, the senior dog started responding to treatment. Eventually, his heart condition healed completely and medication helped stabilize his respiratory issues. Today, Merrill and Taco have been with their forever family for over a year and have never been happier. “Merrill & Taco are doing wonderful in their forever home,” Rocket Dog Rescue wrote in an update. “They are enjoying hanging out by the fire snuggling up after a long, fun-filled day.”