Fleetwood Mac is an unstoppable 6-pound force of snuggles, but this tiny senior boy had a harder time finding a home than most shelter dogs. He has a deformity on his front paw which resembles a lobster claw, a condition known as ectrodactyly. Though it doesn't hurt him, it certainly didn't make potential adopters look twice.
Ectrodactyly is characterized by a fusing together of some of the fingers or toes, and is extraordinarily rare. Umbrella of Hope Animal Shelter
suspects Fleetwood is one of the few who have it. They wrote in a Facebook post early February
We would love to find [Fleetwood] a special home who loves him and cherishes him. It would be incredibly special if that home also belonged to a child (or adult) with similar challenges.
In an effort to spread his story, the shelter posted to a Facebook group for people with ectrodactyly. They heard from Veronica Campos less than a month later. Campos' 7-month-old daughter Grace is affected by the condition on both hands and feet, and she also has a cleft palate. Campos tells USA Today
It seemed like it was meant to be, Grace loves our dog [Charlie, a Dachshund-Yorkie mix], and she squeals with happiness every time she sees one. We knew we wanted another... I liked that this dog was a little different, just like her.
If all went well, the Campos family knew their little girl would treasure Fleetwood's differences, and she could grow into childhood knowing she isn't alone.
The only challenge in the way of the pair's happily ever after? Fleetwood resided in the San Francisco Bay Area, and Grace lives in Hobart, Indiana. The Umbrella of Hope team began fundraising to fly Fleetwood in-cabin with a volunteer all the way to his new home and---no surprise here---donations soared above each daily goal.
Anticipation hung in the air as the little white-faced lad inched closer and closer to his forever home. When the shelter finally reached their goal, Fleetwood hopped on a plane with dedicated volunteer Elsie Lodde. Ever seen a Chihuahua 30,000 off the ground?
And when the little dog no one wanted to adopt finally landed and met his family, it was like a thousand tiny fireworks. Lodde says:
I'm very confident that it will work out. The level of excitement---it's hard not to smile watching [Fleetwood] settle in on the couch and cuddle up with his new dad. It was such a sense of relief and happiness to help bring together this little girl and this little dog.
Fleetwood probably thinks that's an understatement! Umbrella of Hope says the Chiahuahua is a "massive hit" at home, and they delight in the happy ending of such a special pairing. It warms our hearts to know Grace has a friend just like her, and that their bond is already so strong.
Congratulations, Fleetwood and Grace! We wish you many, many future cuddles.
h/t USA Today + featured image via Umbrella of Hope/Facebook