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Man Comes To Adopt Pit Bull At Shelter, But She Refused To Let Go Of Her Best Friend

Dogs are man's best friend - but their love and loyalty aren't limited to just humans.
Some dogs form unbreakable bonds not just with their people, but also with their fellow canines. This story about a bond between a pit bull and a Chihuahua goes to show just how strong of a bond the connection between dogs can be.
When this young pit bull was finally adopted from the shelter, she did something that no one expected or had ever seen before, and which left everyone surprised.

Inseparable

It was a regular - though heartbreaking - day at the Rocket Dog Rescue shelter in San Francisco, California, when a female pit bull terrier named Merrill and a male Chihuahua called Taco were handed over by their owners.
Nobody knew why, exactly, the two dogs were being given up, but the connection between the two pups soon became apparent.
Merrill and Taco just wouldn't leave each other's side - so the volunteers there tried to find someone who would be willing to adopt them both.
This wasn't as easy as it first sounded, however, and it soon became apparent that the two friends might need to part ways.
Inseparable

Hitting Social Media

Separating Merrill and Taco proved harder than the volunteers at the shelter thought.
Whenever they were separated - even if just for a very short while - both dogs would cry and become anxious and the shelter's volunteers decided that breaking the duo apart just wasn't an option.
As a last resort, they turned to social media and uploaded a really cute picture of the two together with the following caption:
“We just could not stand the thought of them being separated or waiting at the shelter for months to find a home TOGETHER so they are coming to Rocket Dog Rescue!!!”
Hitting Social Media

Medical Trouble

Just like every other dog that enters Rocket Dog Rescue, both Merrill and Taco had to undergo physicals. But when the doctor took a look at Merrill, he found something troubling.
The shelter's veterinarian had discovered Merrill had a life-threatening condition that needed immediate attention.
Merrill's previous owners had apparently used her for breeding, which resulted in severe trauma to her body, as well as a bad urinary tract infection.
The infection meant Merrill wouldn't be able to breed any more, and treating it is expensive - both likely reasons her previous owners gave her up.
Merrill needed to be operated on, stat.
Medical Trouble

Surgery

When Merrill was taken in for surgery, Taco was very, very upset.
He was restless, anxious and uneasy the whole time - almost like a person would be if they knew their loved one was under the knife.
After her operation, she started wailing for Taco as soon as she regained consciousness - and Taco, on his part, heard her and wailed back!
While the veterinarians wanted to keep Merrill in isolation, so that she wouldn't suffer any infections or complications, the two dogs were so clearly adamant about seeing each other again that the volunteers just had to do something to help them calm down.
Surgery

Visiting Hours

Eventually, after Merrill and Taco wouldn't stop calling out for one another, the volunteers decided to make an exception and to let Taco in to the recovery room.
As soon as he entered the room, Taco rushed to Merrill - and wouldn't leave her side, and Merrill, on her part, though she was exhausted and weak, was visibly better off the moment she saw him.
But while their rescuers were touched by the intensity of their relationship, it also worried them. Could this relationship actually be causing more harm than good?
Visiting Hours

A Problem in the Long Run

While Merrill and Taco's bond was beautiful, the good people at Rocket Dog Rescue knew that it could ultimately hurt their chances of getting adopted.
Most people don't want to adopt even one dog from a shelter, so a package of two would be even more of a problem to "sell," especially if one of them was an older dog, like Taco was.
But one day, something happened at the shelter that changed their perspective on Taco and Merrill's relationship by a hundred and eighty degrees.
A Problem in the Long Run

Hope

Merrill was still young - and a beautiful pit bull mix, at that - so finding potential adopters for her wasn't that big of a problem.
But Taco was a different story.
One day, a man came in to the shelter, and fell in love with Merrill as soon as he saw her. He was going to adopt her, and the two seemed to get along great.
But soon, he would find out about Merrill's little friend. How would he react?
Hope

A Confusing Situation

The man wanted to adopt Merrill, and Rocket Dog Rescue were thrilled. Finally, Merrill would be receiving the warm, happy home she deserved.
The man signed the paperwork, and went to Merrill's pen in order to take her out and get her home - but as soon as he took her out, both Merrill and Taco started crying uncontrollably.
The man was taken aback - neither he nor the volunteers have ever seen anything like this before.
A Confusing Situation

Not Breaking Merrill's Heart

Merrill made it clear that she didn't want to leave if Taco wasn't coming with her. After the shelter's staff explained about her and Taco's bond to the man, he realized the two couldn't be separated. Adopting a dog was important, but not breaking its heart was important as well, and so he had to ask himself:
Would he be able to give Merrill and Taco the home they both deserved?
Not Breaking Merrill's Heart

A Hit... and a Miss

The man was in a difficult situation. He wanted to adopt Merrill, but he didn't want to hurt her in the process - and he didn't have room for two dogs in his home.
Instead of breaking her heart, the man decided to adopt another dog instead, and not to separate Merrill and Taco.
But while the two canine friends were staying together for now, they couldn't stay in the shelter forever, and a solution needed to be found for their joint adoption.
A Hit... and a Miss

Changing Approaches

The folks running Rocket Dog Rescue decided that rather than listing Merrill and Taco separately, as they had up until that point, they'd create a joint listing for them.
On their Facebook post about the two pups, they wrote
“These two love each other more than any bonded pair the shelter has ever seen. They cry when they leave each other’s side. This dynamic duo has lost their family, their home, and now we can’t let them lose each other!”
But would this change in approach help?
Changing Approaches

Going Viral

The post about Merrill and Taco soon became viral. It was easy to see that they were great dogs, and the story of their relationship touched everyone who read it.
Since the post started circulating widely, the people at the shelter felt like they really had a fighting chance, and were holding out on giving them away to different families with the hope that someone would be able to take them both in.
Going Viral

Social Media Stars

Merrill and Taco's photo became a sensation.
Within a few hours, the post received over 14,000 likes, over a thousand comments and was ultimately shared over 26,000 times.
The enthusiasm people were showing was encouraging, but would it be enough? Could internet fame translate into a real home for little Taco and Merrill?
Social Media Stars

Close to Home

Rocket Dog Rescue continued to update their online followers about Taco and Merrill, and the more enthusiastic the comments were, the closer they felt they were getting to finding the dynamic duo a home.
People were openly admiring their special bond, and the shelter felt like it was simply a matter of time before they'd be adopted.
In the meantime, a volunteer named Jodi agreed to take the dogs home for foster care, until someone would give them a more permanent family.
Finally, after a long wait, someone stepped up.
Close to Home

Home at Last?

Finally, after Rocket Dog Rescue's post circulated for a while, it seemed like the shelter had found the perfect family for Merrill and Taco.
A family from nearby San Jose had seen them and fell in love with them - and after visiting them at Jodi's house, felt like they were the perfect fit.
Merrill and Taco had finally found a home! But their journey was far from finished.
Home at Last?

Still a Way to Go

Taco wasn't exactly a puppy by the time he and Merrill were adopted. Over the years, he'd actually developed several health issues, including asthma and dental disease, which left him with almost no teeth and a floppy tongue.
The adopting family were aware of this, and decided to adopt him anyway - but less than a month after they had brought both dogs home with them, Taco's situation started to deteriorate.
Still a Way to Go

Getting a Checkup

After less than a month in his new home, Taco and Merrill's new family decided Taco needed to see a doctor.
What started out as a routine checkup turned into real concern after the vet told them that Taco was suffering from heart failure.
Taco's heart was enlarged, and fluid was surrounding his lungs. If he was to survive, he'd need some serious help.
Getting a Checkup

Seeing a Specialist

The family was really concerned that something would happen to Taco - both because they had fallen in love with the little guy, and for Merrill's sake.
The doctor explained that in order to prevent Taco's heart from failing, they would need to put him on medication, and to schedule a visit with a specialist.
They tried to remain optimistic, but they had to ready themselves for a worst-case scenario as well.
Seeing a Specialist

Merrill to the Rescue!

Taco's chances of making a full recovery were quite slim, due to his age - but his family didn't give up on him, and gave him all the love and affection he could get.
With all the extra care, Taco would have a fighting chance of getting better.
But what the doctors and the family weren't counting on, and what ultimately made the difference, was Merrill.
Merrill didn't leave Taco's side and took amazing care of him - just like he had taken care of her after her surgery!
It seemed like Merrill and Taco's bond would be the key to saving Taco's life.
Merrill to the Rescue!

Against All Odds

Amazingly, and against all odds, Taco started getting better.
Thanks to the treatment, his heart condition stabilized and healed completely - and thanks to a regimen of anti-seizure medication and steroids, the fluid around his lungs also receded.
While his heart was okay, Taco would need to take medication for his lungs for the rest of his life - but the important thing was that he was going to make it - largely thanks to Merrill.
Against All Odds

Keeping Up with Taco and Merrill

After his treatment, Taco and Merrill went back to playing together - and while Taco may be smaller than his bigger, younger friend, and not in as good a shape, he still manages to keep up with her and doesn't miss an opportunity to goof around.
Since they were adopted in 2014, Taco and Merrill have been getting better and better, and their new family wanted to share their joy with the world, so they opened a Facebook page dedicated entirely to them.
Keeping Up with Taco and Merrill

Merrill & Taco

While Merrill and Taco's family chose to remain anonymous, the Facebook page they opened for them, titled Merrill & Taco, gained a lot of followers.
It's full of wonderful photos like this one which demonstrate the two dogs' amazing relationship.
The two remain inseparable - and if they do get separated for some reason, even if just for a short while, they still cry out for each other - even after all of this time living with a loving family.
Merrill & Taco

A Big Garden

Merrill is a really energetic and fun-loving dog, and rolling around in the grass with her family is one of her favorite things to do.
Thanks to her new family, she gets to live her best life - with her best friend right there with her.
While Taco isn't always able to keep up, his human family helps him by carrying him around from one place to another when he gets tired - so he always gets to stay close to Merrill, and the two couldn't be happier.
A Big Garden

Getting Carried Around

Taco doesn't just love hanging out with Merrill - one of his favorite things to do is to be carried around like a baby - if possible, under his owners' T-shirts.
When he doesn't feel like running around, he often climbs up into their laps and buries his nose under their shirts, and the family are happy to oblige him, pick him up and swaddle him.
After the rough life he's had, he deserves to be pampered a little!
Getting Carried Around

Cuddles

Merrill and Taco like to cuddle with each other - a lot - but sometimes, they take a break from that and go cuddle with their humans.
Whether they're in bed or watching TV on the couch, both Taco and Merrill love to show affection by lying down next to their people in all sorts of strange positions - and the family loves to upload photos of the funny poses the dogs take when they do so.
It's truly heartwarming to see just how well they've adapted to their new home.
Cuddles

Holiday Spirit

Merrill and Taco's new family decided that after their difficult time at the shelter, the two would never have to feel abandoned, ever again.
That same year, they got into the Christmas spirit - and made sure the two dogs didn't feel left out, either.
As part of their Christmas celebrations, the family dressed the dogs up in festive outfits and uploaded a celebratory post to Facebook, in which they took the time not only to be thankful for their new family members, but also for the hard work Jodi and the good people at Rocket Dog Rescue put in to make sure Taco and Merrill stayed together.
Holiday Spirit

Celebrating Their First Anniversary

Christmas was one event in which the family chose to commemorate Merrill and Taco, but their one-year anniversary was also an important date.
When a full year had passed, the family took to Facebook once more and posted the following:
“It’s our 1 year anniversary!!!! We celebrated Merrill & Taco’s big day with a walk with friends. From left to right… Jack, Boo, Kim, Tigger, Merrill, Me & Taco. Kim is the one who posted the pic from Rocket Dog that got this whole ball rolling. Thanks Kim! It’s been a great year. We love them!!!”
Celebrating Their First Anniversary

A Deep Bond

It's not hard to understand why this pit bull-Chihuahua duo is so popular.
Despite their differences in size, personality, age and energy levels, Merrill and Taco's bond is apparent, touching and deep.
They've gone through so much together, and were able to get through it because they always had each other's backs. They were able to communicate this to complete strangers, despite not being able to verbally express themselves, and their friendship is of the kind that we all wish we could have.
A Deep Bond

Full Circle

Taco and Merrill's story is an unlikely one, and Rocket Dog Rescue wanted to celebrate their "happily forever after" with their followers as well.
They uploaded a photo of the two doggy friends cuddling by the fire, and captioned it: “Merrill & Taco are doing wonderful in their forever home. They are enjoying hanging out by the fire snuggling up after a long, fun filled day.”
Full Circle

Making Friends

In addition to finding a safe, loving family, Merrill was also learning how to get along with other dogs, after her previous traumatic experiences.
In this March 12, 2018 Facebook post, the family wrote that Merrill was “having a play date at PJ’s house. Getting in some turning and burning before the rain comes.”
But whole many of Merrill's fans were happy she was making new friends, some couldn't help but wonder where Taco was in this scenario…
Making Friends

Taking it Easy

It seems that their time with their new forever family has allowed both Taco and Merrill to relax a little, and even to part every now and then.
When Merrill goes on play dates with other dogs, Taco likes to take it easy back home.
So, when a Facebook fan asked where Taco was when they saw a photo of Merrill playing with another friend, Taco's owners replied: “this is no place for him. He’d get creamed… This is like Clash of the Titans stuff. Only for the fast, strong, and really hard headed.”
Taking it Easy

Cleaning Up Nice

Since they were adopted, Merrill and Taco have been living the high life - and that means going to a dog spa every once in a while.
So, okay - dogs may not love baths.
Merrill and Taco's owners wrote this about this candid bath photo: “Can’t say they love bath time but they enjoyed the walk there and back… And the cookie they got afterwards.”
Cleaning Up Nice

Getting Pampered

We all like to look nice, and Merrill is no exception. For her, that means getting her nails done!
Merrill likes this so much that her owner even bought her nail polish made especially for pets, aptly named "Pawlish."
After her owner was finished painting her nails, Merrill went for a nap - we guess she's pretty used to it by now!
But how does Taco like to be pampered?
Getting Pampered

A Bone to Pick

Taco may be small, but he likes to live large.
What happened when Merrill got a bone fit for a large pit bull?
Well, this is what the caption of this photo reads:
“Merrill got a nice big yummy bone… We heard Taco barking from the other room and went to investigate. He was barking at Merrill telling her to back off from his bone. He’s not going to let a severe deficit of teeth slow him down.”
A Bone to Pick

Christmas Outfits

Merrill and Taco are pretty big on Christmas. Take this 2015 photo, for instance, when their owners decided to dress them up as reindeer!
While the antlers fit Merrill pretty well, they seemed to have an interesting effect on the usually energetic dog:
“This is how to get her to stay completely still. She can’t move with antlers on," her owners wrote.
They didn't seem to slow Taco down one bit, though!
Christmas Outfits

Playing Cards

When Merrill and Taco's owners got the popular - though controversially titled - card game, "Exploding Kittens," the two dogs were invited to take part in the fun.
The game has a "human sized dog cone" as part of its elaborate rules, and the two dogs took turns wearing it while their family tried the game out.
While it may be human sized, it makes a pretty good dog cone for Merrill, too - and a decent dog house for Taco!
Playing Cards

City Dog, Country Dog

Merrill and Taco like to spend time indoors, in their home - but they also like to go on the occasional trip.
Merrill is more of an outdoors type, though, while Taco is a creature of comfort.
When the family went on a trip to a farm, the caption in the photo said “Merrill is very interested in this big creature” while Taco stayed “inside, warm and safe.”
City Dog, Country Dog

Helping Out Around the House

Merrill and Taco may have been taken in because they needed help, but that doesn't mean they don't pull their own weight around the house when they need to.
Take this photo, for instance, where the dynamic duo is helping wake up their human sibling early in the morning by wriggling in under his covers and getting him out of bed!
It's not just the parents in this house who make sure everybody gets up in time!
Helping Out Around the House

"Home Sweet Home"

In this ridiculously-cute photo from This January 3, 2018 photo was simply captioned “Home sweet home.”
With everything they've been through, the fact that they're still together, snuggled up against each other, safe and sound, secure and comfortable, can really seem like a fairy tale ending.
We feel like they deserve nothing less - and that they've earned every bit of domestic bliss that they can get.
Four months after this photo was taken, on May 5th, 2018, Taco quietly passed away. By this time, however, Merrill had learned to become independant, and she continues to live a very happy life with her family - though she still misses her best friend.
"Home Sweet Home"

Rocket Dog Rescue

Rocket Dog Rescue is a volunteer-based organization that rescues abandoned and sick pets - as well as other animals who would have otherwise been euthanized in overcrowded animal shelters, offering them a temporary safe haven.
Rocket Dog Rescue's mission is to save unwanted, sick, and abused dogs until they find a forever loving home. Its volunteers believe that every animal is eligible for adoption no matter their age and breed - and Merrill and Taco prove that they're right!
Rocket Dog Rescue

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