Towards the end of 2014, a young female Bully mix and a male senior Chihuahua mix were surrendered together to a San Francisco shelter. Despite their age and size differences, the two dogs were extraordinarily bonded. They shared a connection beyond anything rescuers had seen before. Although bonded pairs are more difficult to re-home, the folks at Rocket Dog Rescue pulled them from the shelter and vowed not to separate them.
Merrill, the larger dog, was suffering from a life-threatening uterine infection when she arrived at the shelter. The nature of her illness led rescuers to believe she’d been used for breeding and discarded when she became ill. She was immediately taken into emergency surgery.
Although she survived the procedure, Merrill was in a lot of pain. Staff allowed her little pal, Taco to visit with her and were once again struck by the love the two shared. Taco snuggled up close to his ailing sister, comforting her and refusing to leave her side.
Once Merrill recovered, she and Taco were placed in a loving foster home to await adoption. Despite Taco’s senior status, applications began to pour in from families eager to adopt both dogs. Their popularity was largely due to the heartwarming photos shared on social media by Rocket Dog Rescue – especially this one!
The image shows Merrill perched in the backseat of a car shortly after the dogs’ rescue by RDR. Little Taco is snuggled so close to his sister’s belly he is almost invisible – except for his tiny head peaking out under Merrill’s elbow!
Once the perfect family was chosen from the stack of applications, Merrill and Taco were off to their final destination – a wonderful home in San Jose!
Merrill suffered no long-term health problems from her uterine infection, but little Taco was another story. Estimated to be about 8-years-old at the time of his rescue, all but four of his teeth had fallen out due to severe dental disease. He also suffered from respiratory problems.
During a trip to the vet, he was diagnosed with an enlarged heart and fluid surrounding his lungs. Taco saw a specialist and was put on several medications to prevent seizures as well as treat his respiratory issues.
But Taco never let his problems get him down.
In order to keep up with his much younger sibling, Taco’s human pals would carry him and trot alongside Merrill as she romped through the grass. Thanks to the wonderful care he received, Taco lived more than three years after his adoption.
The little fella passed away on May 5, 2018. While she misses her faithful companion, Merrill continues to thrive in her loving, adoptive home.
Merrill and Taco’s story is proof of the enduring power of love and the importance of adoption – even if it means taking in an older pet, one with health problems, or an unlikely bonded pair!
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