Life can be hard for an animal with vision problems, but it’s a lot easier when they have a loyal friend by their side. We’ve seen many stories of dogs getting their own “seeing eye” companions to help them get around, and the heartwarming friendships that develop.
But one family got a big surprise recently when they found out their vision-impaired dog and his companion had a lot more in common than they thought.
Jane Salazar, from Red Bank Tennessee, and her husband adopted a dog named Diego. They weren’t sure what breed the dog was, so out of curiosity they gave the dog a DNA test from the company Embark.
While the test revealed the dog’s breed (pit bull and Australian Cattle Dog), it also revealed some unfortunate medical news: the 2-year-old dog had two copies of a bad eye gene, meaning the dog would lose his eyesight in just a few years.
While saddened by the news, Jane was determined to make the best of the bad situation and help Diego as much as possible. And she found out the best thing to do was find her dog a friend.
“I did some investigation and that also confirmed that one of the best things you can do for a dog that’s going to lose his vision is get him a companion to be fully bonded with before he loses his sight,” Jane told Newsweek. “So then I started looking for another one.”
She went to the local shelter to adopt a companion, and one dog stuck out: Dixie, who looked remarkably similar to Diego.
Jane adopted Dixie, and after bringing her home the two dogs hit it off, just like she hoped: “Immediately, they played well together,” Jane told People. “She holds her own, and they play beautifully together.”
Then, Jane purchased another Embark DNA test for Dixie — and it revealed yet another twist: Diego and Dixie are siblings!
The DNA results have a “Relative Finder,” showing what other tested dogs they are likely related to. Diego showed up in Dixie’s results, saying that they had 55% shared DNA.
“That was pretty shocking,” Jane told Newsweek.
The dogs don’t seem to be part of the same litter but do likely share the same parents. Jane suspects they both were the products of a breeding farm — and irresponsible inbreeding may have led to their health issues: in addition to Diego’s vision problems, Dixie will likely have disc issues down the line.
Still, it’s an unbelievable coincidence. Not only are these two bonded companions, but they’re siblings, too, back together completely by chance.
“I am thrilled to know that these siblings have found each other and we get to be their family,” Jane wrote on Facebook.
Despite being so closely related, Diego and Dixie are “completely different” when it comes to personality.
“He is passive, she is dominant. He is slightly aloof, she is the most loving animal I’ve ever had. Her prey drive is insane, while his is much less.”
But while they have their differences, their still brother and sister at heart, and Dixie continues to be a great companion for Diego. When the day comes when he loses his eyesight, she’ll be there for him.
What an incredible coincidence! We’re so glad Diego has a “seeing eye” companion to whom he has such a special connection!
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