Shelter dogs caught cuddling are adopted after outpouring of support
NBC News - Over the past week, an adorable photo of two dogs cuddling with each other went viral online, as the story of the siblings — one of whom was blind and the other who appointed himself his brother's helper — touched hearts around the world.
Operation Ava, an animal rescue organization in Philadelphia, was
barraged with phone calls from people as far away as South Africa and
Australia, all asking if they could adopt eight month old pit bull mixes
Jeffrey and Jermaine.
But one couple stood out from the rest—Jonathan Hochman and Veronica McKee, who live in nearby Springfield, PA.
Jeffrey and Jermaine will head to their new home with the couple on Monday.
and McKee, who already have a cat, had been thinking about getting dogs
after a friend adopted a pup from Operation Ava. As soon as they saw
Jeffrey and Jermaine's picture, they say, it was love.
these are the cutest dogs I've ever seen," McKee told TODAY. "They're
incredibly sweet, but they still have that sibling rivalry. There's this
sharing thing. It's pretty funny."
Hochman, who was the first of the pair to meet the dogs in person,
agrees. "I've never seen animals bond like this," he says of the two
dogs, who often walk together, with blind Jeffrey leaning on his brother
Jermaine's back for support.
One of the first tasks Hochman and
McKee took on once their adoption was confirmed was taking Jeffrey to a
veterinary ophthalmologist to find out if any of his sight could be
restored. "[The vet] feels at this point the left eye is completely lost
but the right eye does have vision he's able to see silhouettes and
tracks and has some vision. Surgery is too risky at this point," Hochman
reports. However, Jeffrey still gets regular eye drops and has been
diagnosed as seeing better at a distance than he does close up.
Ava's Director of Life Saving, Ray Little, originally told TODAY that
whoever took the dogs in would need a lot of love and a lot of
patience—and a big yard was a bonus. It seems like McKee and Hochman fit
the bill. The dogs already love being cuddled by their new owners, and
so far there hasn't been any sibling rivalry with the family cat. But
one thing is clear—on all sides, it was love at first sight.
"I have a feeling we're going to get as much out of it as they are," says McKee.
Hochman and McKee brought Jeffrey and Jermaine to Studio 1A Saturday, along with Operation Ava's Claudia Gutierrez.
Gutierrez called the response to Jeffrey and Jermaine's photo a "heartwarming" surprise.
"I think everyone just fell in love with their devotion and loyalty to one another," she said.