Two dogs who became viral stars of the Internet have found themselves a new forever home.
Last week, a picture of siblings Jeffrey and Jermaine snuggling made them the Internet’s favorite Pit Bulls. It wasn’t just that they look adorable snuggling. After the two were taken in by Philadelphia’s Operation Ava, the staff began to notice how close they were. They never went anywhere without each other.
“They cuddled and wouldn’t leave each others’ sides,” Ray Little, Ava’s director of life saving said in an interview with Today.
It was even more than that; Little noticed that whenever they walked, Jeffrey walked behind Jermaine, his head resting on the other dog’s back. They realized that Jeffrey was blind, and Jermaine was helping his brother by acting as a seeing-eye dog.
When the picture and the story of the young dogs started spreading out over the web and through the media, Operation Ava was besieged with offers to adopt the pups. It wasn't just locals who wanted to adopt; the shelter got offers from throughout the United States and as far away Australia and South Africa. More than 10,000 people wanted to give Jeffrey and Jermaine their new forever home. After two months at the shelter, it was no longer a question of whether the dogs would find a home; it was only a question of which one.
Now the choice has been made: Jonathan Hochman and Veronica McKee, of Springfield, Pennsylvania. Claudia Gutierrez, the CEO of Operation Ava, told Yahoo Shine that it was a tough choice, but in the end it came down to instinct.
"We went through thousands of inquiries and hundreds of applications searching for the perfect match, and it really came down to gut instinct." Gutierrez says. "Jonathan and Veronica have a wonderful relationship, and I knew they had a unique understanding of the bond between Jeffrey and Jermaine."
Oddly, the two weren't aware of just what big stars their new dogs were, at first. They went to Operation Ava not because of the viral photo, but because a friend of theirs had adopted a Chihuahua there and had a good experience.
"Jeffrey and Jermaine came bursting into the room, and they were the cutest dogs ever," Hochman says.
They filled out an application and went through an interview, and they went home to await the results.
Jeffrey and Jermaine are apparently adapting well to their new home, even though the shelter initially warned potential adopters that they would need a lot of patience for these particular dogs.
"The dogs are so adaptable. They are happy and really loving, and they are always together. They are usually touching and even eat out of the same bowl," says Hochman. "Jermaine will put his nose in the bowl, but he won't start eating until Jeffrey gets there, too."
Hopefully, those 10,000 people won't evaporate into the ether; there are certainly enough dogs who need to be rescued, even in the United States alone, to make them all happy. Jeffrey and Jermaine were very adoptable dogs because of their celebrity and the fact that they're only eight months old. Young dogs are often cuter and more desirable to people and much less likely to wind up living their lives in a shelter.
This is a good time for readers to remember that these next few days are the close of Adopt a Senior Dog Month, and they still have plenty of opportunities to give a dog -- of any age -- something to be thankful for. Check out our dog adoption section for dogs in your area who need a forever home, and if you want to help out a senior dog, Muttville has rescued more than 2,000 senior dogs and is always ready to help with more.