Some magic happened a few days ago at the off leash park near our home. I do not believe that how it played out was a coincidence. The timing was extraordinary, and is something I will treasure my whole life.
I was at the off leash with a small group of dogs and brought Ember for her third visit. It was a beautiful day and the two and four-legged were in wonderful moods. I decided to stay longer than usual as I was enjoying the company of some of the other dog walkers and their canine friends. My pack was delighted to continue exploring the field and meeting the other dogs there.
Ember – my new dog – was quite the social butterfly making rounds and wagging her tail when people recognized her. She certainly stood out with her sagging nipples, a proud testament to her being a mother a few times. Her fur is more red than yellow, hence the name she was given by the breeder, Hot Little Ember.
All of a sudden she bolted to the fence about twenty-five feet from where she was standing. A man was walking by with a black and yellow lab. Ember was very excited and gave a full body wag. The man slowed down to see her and Ember jumped up onto the fence rail.
I thought that this was quite unique as Ember had never noticed any dogs walking on the other side of the fence during her two previous visits. Other labs had walked by before; they are a popular breed in my neighbourhood. I felt drawn to leave my present conversation with someone and went over to introduce myself and my dog.
I explained that Ember had only been with us for a few weeks and probably missed her lab family that she was with for so many years before joining us. He asked where we got her and I mentioned a breeder in Bracebridge. He then asked if she was from Castilleja Labrador’s and I said yes. His yellow lab was from there too.
He asked how old she was, and I said that she will be eight in a week. He then mentioned that his yellow lab was turning eight on May 26th, 2012 and I began to feel my heart race. He asked for my dog’s name and told him that it was Ember. In the next sentence I was told that his yellow lab was named Olivia by the breeder and that Ember was her sister!
Throughout our conversation the two females were sniffing each other through the fence. I told Olivia’s owner my name and he said his name was Mike. I insisted that he come into the field so the dogs could be together without a fence between them. The long-lost sisters walked parallel to each other to the gate with the fence between them.
Once inside together they sniffed each other some more, never leaving each other’s side. We continued to fill in the blanks. Apparently, there were four puppies in the litter, two boys and two girls. Olivia went to live with Mike and their family at around eight weeks. Ember was kept by the Sinclairs for future breeding down the road with her unique colouring and sweet disposition.
Mike and I looked over at the girls. Some of their colouring was similar, especially their darker ears and eye shape and colour. Ember was a bit shorter and broader and rocked the “I have had puppies look” with nipples swinging as she walked.
The absolute magic that happened next sealed the deal. Mike suggested that we look in their ears for their tattoo numbers. I looked in Ember’s ear while he read out Olivia’s combination of letters and numbers. Every single number and letter matched in the same order! The only difference was the last digit, which gave them their individuality with the breeder.
My heart continued to race, every goose bump on my body went on high alert and I felt like we had hit the jack pot or a huge Bingo game! My inner voice told me that this meeting was not a co-incidence; on this day my inner voice had told me to enjoy the day and stay longer than usual.
Mike said he rarely frequents the park at this specific time. I could have been looking in a different direction and not have noticed Mike walking by or Ember going over to say hello. Normally we walk all around this field but at the time we were situated in a spot where they walked by. We could have been in another corner and missed this fate.
The circumstances continued to unravel as we chatted. Mike asked were we lived. I told him our street and to both of our disbelief discovered we live about a ten to fifteen minute walk away from each other! This was extraordinary as we both live hours away from their birth place.
I gave the reunited litter mates some dog treats to celebrate and Mike and I exchanged emails. I promised to send him the pictures I had taken and to let Joan Sinclair, the breeder, know of our happy, magical event.
We hope to continue letting the girls meet and to share our joy with family members who missed seeing them together. Olivia’s owners got a black lab named Dax from another breeder at the same time that they got Olivia. What we found interesting was Ember’s reaction to Olivia and vice versa; with Dax, who was also there, Ember did not react the same way.
I am a romantic at heart and believe the long-lost sisters knew each other by smell. Dogs are blessed with a more sophisticated sense of smell than ours by the thousand fold. They had sniffed at each other intensely, nose to nose and nose to anus as dogs do when first meeting.
I have shared this story with my dog walking friends and by word of mouth. Fulton, a dog I walk regularly, met his brother, another Goldie-poo, years ago. They live near one another but their reunion was not as rosy, with one deciding to be the alpha male. I am curious if they were to reunite again at their present ages if it would go smoother. They were around two at the time and this was years ago.
Another friend discovered her Wheaten’s sibling, although I am not sure of the circumstance, or how it went. I believe it went well and that there was a go between friend that made a link. Pictures were taken for posterity.
Do you think litter mates could recognize one another after eight years? Have you heard of other fluky reunions? I am going to treasure our magical moment for years to come!
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