Woof! It's a family reunion of a rather different breed

By Morgan Mercer Published: March 18, 2013
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“They just picked up where they left off,” Rase, 28, said.

Rase, who lives in St. Louis Park, Minn., adopted Lucy — one of three chocolate-brown pups. Normally shy and cautious, Lucy barreled into the backyard when she saw her brothers and sisters.

Like proud parents, the owners pointed out the dogs' striking similarities and noticeable differences. Lucy and Harlow are uncontrollable lickers; their barks sound identical. Roman and Weston love to cuddle. Weston is the odd one out with his curly tail.

“We are all very different,” said Berg, of Minneapolis. “But we all love our dogs the same.”

That shared love builds trust within a group of near-strangers. Rase used to travel three hours so her fiance's mother could watch Lucy. She didn't trust anyone else. Now the protective parent needs to drive only 20 minutes to drop off Lucy with one of her siblings.

“That's a crazy thing for me,” she said.

Just as Facebook has allowed Grandma to better connect with her tech-savvy grandchildren, the social network has had an integral role in bringing dog families together.

Several times a year, Eileen Hill helps plan play dates for her black lab, Millie, and two of the dog's siblings, Teeny and Stanley. It's like a “Mommy and Me” group, she said.

Initially, Hill connected with the litter's other black lab owners on Facebook after tagging photos of their dogs. Facebook made it easy to share pictures and reach out to each other on a daily basis.

“We're crazy dog people,” said Hill, of Lake Elmo, Minn.

The women turn to each other for clues on how to fix an upset dog stomach. They support each other on anniversaries of former pet passings. They come together over issues dealing with mistreatment.

“It's a friendship like no other I've ever had,” Hill said.

With rescue groups active on Facebook and other social media, it's getting easier to track down a dog sibling. Some owners even set up Facebook profiles for their dogs.

Facebook helped the group of pit bull-mix adopters organize and plan the reunion in north Minneapolis. Within hours of leaving the party, they were back on Facebook, sharing photos and chatting about their dogs. For Berg, there's nothing like seeing Sonny playing tug-of-war with her sisters.

“We want the best for them,” she said. “I think her being with her litter mates is the best for her. It's her family.”

Distributed by MCT

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