Woof! It’s a Family Reunion of a Different Breed

Photo by Jim Gehrz

Photo by Jim Gehrz

Once divided families come together for furry fun as pets reconnect with siblings. Star Tribune, February 2013

Five brothers and sisters crowd into a quaint yellow house on a chilly February afternoon for the most unorthodox of family reunions. The festivities seem familiar: A banner decorates the doorway, food is laid out on the dining-room table, and parents struggle to take group pictures.

But there are no hugs exchanged, no cheek-pinching from Grandma. Instead, the guests run around in circles, lick each other’s faces and get personal with their sniffing snouts. This party has gone to the dogs.

“When you first say, ‘I’m having a [reunion] party for my dog,’ people look at you like you’re that crazy dog lady. But when you explain it to them, people think it’s cool,” said Allison Rase, one of five adopters who helped organize this reunion — a first birthday party for her rescued pit bull mix, Lucy, and four of the dog’s siblings.

Pets are often considered a part of the family — but what about their real family? Thanks to social media and dedicated pet-rescue groups, more dog owners are attempting to reconnect their pooches with long-lost litter mates.

 While it might sound extreme, adopters say socializing a dog with other four-legged playmates — especially their siblings — can have a positive impact on both animal and owner. For the humans in this equation, the reunions breed trust among protective owners who are concerned about all aspects of their dogs’ lives. Read more