A PAIR of abandoned puppy siblings have struck up a bond described as simply "extraordinary" by their rescuers.
Star and Denver were among a litter of eight terrier-blend puppies brought into the Helen Woodward Animal Center in Rancho Santa Fe, California this month.
Staff at the centre quickly noticed that while Denver was off having fun with his canine siblings, something wasn’t quite right with Star.
It was only after close observations and some tests that the truth emerged: the three-month old puppy was not only deaf, she was virtually blind.
There were immediate concerns about Star’s long-term future and well-being.
But those concerns were soon allayed when staff began to notice how her sibling, Denver, appeared to gravitate towards her.
While the other pups in the litter frolicked and played together with wild abandon, Denver focused his efforts and affections on Star.
He stayed close to her, serving as a comfort, guide and playmate when she required it.
More importantly, he served as a de facto guide dog to Star, while the disabled puppy learned how to use her other, heightened senses, to make her way in the world.
Firm friends ever since, Star and Denver are now inseparable with caretakers at the Helen Woodward Animal Center noting how, in the event that they do get separated, Denver always makes a point of rushing to Star’s side after to “let her know he was there”.
“It’s really extraordinary,” Dora Dahlke, manager of adoption services at Helen Woodward, said in a press release. “We never stop learning from animals.”
“These two really can teach us all a thing or two about sibling love and how much we can achieve with the love of a good friend.”
Now a little older, the two dogs have been put up for adoption – but they won’t be being separated anytime soon.
The Helen Woodward Animal Center is asking that any prospective dog owners take the two dogs as a pair.
As an extra incentive they will be given training on how to look after a puppy with special needs.
Not that they will need it with Denver around.
To adopt Star and Denver or for more information on Helen Woodward Animal Center, please go to www.animalcenter.org, call 858-756-4117 or stop by at 6461 El Apajo Road in Rancho Santa Fe.