Bonded Dogs Separated At Shelter Somehow End Up In The Same Family, And It’s Magical

Written by: Dr. Katy Nelson

November 18, 2015

Abby and Riley lived through the worst days of their lives together—homeless and hungry, they were strays for a long time.

When Alycia and Rebecca of Animal House TV heard about the two dogs entering the Adams County Pet Rescue, they noticed the first thing the staff did was separate them.

abby in kennel

Soon enough the ladies got wind that Abby was scaling the walls of her kennel each night, only to be found sitting outside Riley’s kennel each morning. It was like nothing they’d ever heard.

abby riley diptych

Once in a while, while you’re searching for hours through adoptable PetFinder dogs (everyone does that, right?), you’ll spot what a shelter labels a “bonded pair.” These are two dogs who may have grown up together, were found together, or may have been surrendered together, and just simply refuse to be separated.

They are truly bonded—just like two friends or siblings.

It’s great for a dog to have a partner, especially when everything else in their lives seems to be in constant flux, but it quickly becomes a disadvantage for potential adopters. Only rarely do families open their home to two dogs at once, and while people like this are difficult to find, it would be exponentially worse to split up two strongly bonded dogs.


Sadly, this is exactly what happened to Abby and Riley; while Abby went through further training to become “adoptable,” Riley’s social personality put him right under the noses of waiting families. He was adopted to one family, and Abby to another.

Fast-forward six months, Alycia and Rebecca discover two things: 1) Abby’s family wants a second dog, and 2) Riley’s family just returned him to the shelter. Is it fate? Well, you’d be hard-pressed to find a reason to deny it!


In regards to dogs like these two, Alycia shares one thing with humans looking to bring a pup into their home:

We challenge you that have the abilities, the resources, to consider adopting a bonded pair. It is such a rarity, and we see a lot of bonded pairs that come in the rescue and it’s just not common at all for them to be able to find homes where they’re able to go together.

All too often, these friends are simply together, and then they’re not. With Abby and Riley, Alycia and Rebecca refused to let that be the case.

They buckled up with Riley in tow to meet Abby and her family, eager and nervous to see if the dogs would remember each other. Lucky for me, this isn’t something I find easy to put into words, so you’ll just have to see for yourself. Helpful tip: to see the reunion, skip ahead in the video to 5:36.

riley's anticipation

Oh, and don’t forget to lift your jaws up off the floor when it’s over.

H/t YouTube/Animal Time TV

Written by: Dr. Katy Nelson

November 18, 2015

Toothbrush-free dental care for dogs.

Fresher breath in 1–2 weeks.



A themed collection of BARK-designed toys, treats, and chews.


A themed collection of BARK-designed toys, treats, and chews.