Life hadn’t been easy for a bonded pair of dogs surrendered to Richmond Animal Care Center (RACC) last week, but at least they had each other.
At 12 years old, the Dachshund named OJ is blind, and he relies on his best friend, a six-year-old Pit Bull named Blue Dozer, to be his eyes. They lived together with a loving owner, but unexpected circumstances turned their world upside down. After becoming homeless, their owner could no longer care for the two dogs. The bonded duo was surrendered to RACC— a city shelter with a reputation for going above and beyond for animals.
Recognizing the dogs’ dependency on each other, the staff at RACC was determined to keep OJ and Dozer together forever. They posted on Facebook saying,
“We can’t stand the cuteness and kindness these two share. Anyone willing to love a bonded pair of perfection?”
They wouldn’t adopt out one without the other, and the story of the two vastly different, yet completely adorable, dogs quickly went viral. Thousands of people read their story, and it didn’t take long for someone to show up at the shelter interested in meeting the famous couple. RACC was excited to announce both OJ and Blue Dozer went home together, but they didn’t get the happy ending everyone was expecting.
On Tuesday, OJ showed up nearly 100 miles away at Shenandoah Valley Animal Services. The man who found him said the blind dog was wandering on his own on the side of a rural back road. He assumed he was a stray, but a microchip connected the dog both to RACC and the woman who recently adopted him.
When the shelter contacted OJ’s new owner, she reportedly told them someone was supposed to be watching OJ for her. They offered to return the dog to her, but she turned them down. She said the shelter could keep OJ, but Dozer was still in her care.
Separated, scared, and in strange new environments, OJ and Dozer once again found themselves in a dire situation. But they weren’t alone. Teams at both the Shenandoah Valley shelter and at RACC were determined to find a solution. Arrangements were made to transport OJ back to RACC, and shelter representatives pleaded with the adopter hoping to reunite the dogs.
Despite their efforts, the adopter initially refused to give up Dozer. She claimed she did nothing wrong, and she wanted to keep the Pit Bull but had decided she no longer wanted the blind senior Dachshund. Worried Dozer was in trouble and concerned for OJ’s well-being, animal advocates from all over didn’t give up.
Eventually, continued pleas about how sudden separation would have traumatic consequences for both dogs convinced the woman to finally gave in. RACC announced on their Facebook page that Dozer was being voluntarily returned to the shelter. After transporting OJ back to RACC and welcoming Dozer back through the doors, the best friends were successfully reunited. They’re currently at the shelter cuddling close and thankful to be together again.
The ordeal Dozer and OJ went through to stay together is unfortunately a common occurrence at shelters across the country. Organizations like RACC adopt out thousands of dogs a year, and every now and then, adopters lie about their intentions and act unpredictably. There’s no way RACC staff could have predicted Dozer and OJ’s temporary separation, but they’re determined to do what’s best for the dogs going forward.
The bonded dogs are resting in safety at the shelter. RACC was happy to announce their reunion on Facebook, but they’re not rushing into another adoption. They wrote,
“We can not account for decisions that are made by citizens after adoption and work diligently to keep our open adoption process successful. In the end, we have to trust people-trust them to love the pets we have cared for, and trust them to do what is best. Lastly, we will not be doing anything with OJ and Dozer in the next few days other than snuggling them together. I will keep you posted if and when they are available for adoption.”
OJ and Dozer didn’t get the happy ending they were expecting, but they’re not giving up hope. Their story isn’t over, and the caring professionals at RACC will do everything they can to secure a happy, healthy future for the two dogs that mean so much to each other.