-- This Canine Odd-Couple Stuck Together Through Thick and Thin

Everyone knows that a dog is a man’s best friend. Canine companions are known for their steadfast love and incredible loyalty. A dog will do anything to protect his master and history has shown us that this has happened again and again. However, humans aren’t the only species a dog can bond so firmly with. Today, we’re looking at the incredible story of two pups who formed an unbreakable connection. It’s a heartwarming story that we could all learn something from.
For most people, a pit bull is a scary dog, one that is unlikely to become best friends with something as small and yappy as a Chihuahua, but in this true life story of best friends, that thought is proven wrong. In fact, these two dogs have a bond that no one can ever understand. Their special friendship is something that has shaped their lives in unimaginable ways! When the shelter they were both living in decided to look for a home for the sweet little pit bull, she showed them in an unmistakable way that she would not ever abandon her tiny friend.
Read on to learn just how inseparable these two canines really are >>>
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The Odd Couple

It was October, 2014, when Merrill, a female pit bull terrier, and Taco, her male Chihuahua companion, were turned in to the Rocket Dog Rescue shelter. Their owner was the one to drop them off at the San Francisco animal shelter, though no one knows exactly why. It didn’t take long though for the shelter staff to notice that these were no ordinary abandoned dogs. They’d obviously grown up together and had a bond that surprised even the staff at the shelter.
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Despite attempts to separate them, the two dogs refused to be apart. It quickly became obvious that they should be adopted together and staff set about trying to find a home that would take both pit bull and Chihuahua. That proved to be nearly impossible and it soon seemed as though these two best friends would need to be separated in order to find them good homes.
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Inseparable

When Merrill and Taco first arrived at Rocket Dog Rescue, the staff didn’t know much about them or their previous owner. They could see clearly, however, that the two dogs were best friends and didn’t like to be separated. Even if staff took one away to bathe or groom for a few minutes, they would both cry out for each other. It was obvious that they were both miserable when separated.
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To help the animals get adopted together, the staff at the rescue took a photo of the Chihuahua and pit bull together. The idea was that people would see how cute they were with each other and want to adopt them both. The caption to the image explained that the staff couldn’t handle the thought of separating the two friends, or worse, making them wait for months in a shelter to find their home. Would someone respond and take the two dogs home?
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In Bad Shape

Fortunately, the Rocket Dog Rescue had vets on hand to look after the animals that came in. They took a look at Merrill and realized that she was not in great condition. They set her age at around three years old and discovered that she may have been used as a breeder previously. The poor dog had a terrible urinary tract infection and she was in dire need of medical care. She’d landed in the perfect place to get it.
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At this point, volunteers realized why the dog’s owner may have decided to get rid of her. First, the infection was threatening her life and required surgery. That was expensive and may have been more than her owner was willing to pay for her. Second, the surgery ensured she would be incapable of breeding. If she’d been used as a breeder, there was no reason for the owner to keep her around. But it was still a shock to see what happened next.
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Going Under

Merrill needed immediate surgery to save her life and the vets moved quickly. Being apart from his friend for so long made Taco extremely nervous and anxious. He cried and paced while waiting to see his friend again. Staff remarked that it was as if the Chihuahua knew what was happening and just wanted to stay with his best friend to comfort her. He couldn’t bear the thought of leaving her to suffer alone.
The moment Merrill woke up from surgery, she started crying for Taco and Taco was still wailing for her, too. While the vets felt that the pit bull would heal quicker on her own, neither dog was calming down. The staff at the rescue realized that the two weren’t going to settle until they did something about the separation. But what could they do to chill the two dogs out without endangering Merrill, recently out of surgery?
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In Recovery

After hours of hearing the two dogs crying for one another, staff decided that they had to do something. They couldn’t stand the noise or suffering any more! Finally, they brought Taco to Merrill’s side so they could see each other and be calm again. It was important for the pit bull’s health that she remain calm and this seemed the best way to ensure that.
As soon as Taco was let into the sick room, he moved to his friend’s side and stayed there. His loyalty was so obvious that it started to worry the volunteers watching. They were realizing just how strong of a bond the two had together. Could it prove to be dangerous over time? The two canines were more than just friends, they were completely stuck to each other and that wasn’t necessarily the best thing for either of them. What would happen to them?
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Too Bonded?

After years of adopting animals out and rescuing dogs, the staff at Rocket Dog Rescue knew that their stuff. They were worried about the bond between Taco and Merrill for a specific reason. They were very familiar with how people adopted dogs and made decisions and they had rarely seen two dogs adopted to the same home. It wasn’t unheard of, but it was very, very rare.
On top of the bonding issue, Taco was at least eight years old . . . almost a senior. It’s even more difficult to get someone to adopt an older dog, much less two dogs together. Everyone was reacting to the website photos of Merrill, but no one was interested in the tiny, aging Chihuahua who was her best friend. Shortly after the pit bull’s surgery, something big happened. It would change the way people thought about the two dogs and their upcoming adoption.
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A Possible Home

Everyone was interested in Merrill. Not only was she young, she was a gorgeous dog, with lots of potential. While Taco was too old for most people to consider for adoption, Merrill was in the sweet spot for attracting potential families. Not long after her photo appeared on the site, people started asking about her.
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Then, someone came to the shelter, looking for the perfect dog for their home. He took one look at Merrill and knew that she was the perfect dog for him. He didn’t know that Taco was practically a part of her, though.
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A Complication

This man was determined to give the sweet pit bull a good, loving home and he decided to adopt immediately. The rescue was happy that she had found a good place to live and an owner who would love her. The adoptive father signed the papers and went to take Merrill home.
Taco and Merrill were in their usual snuggly position and when the new owner took Merrill out of the cage to take her home, both dogs started to cry. Surprised, the man looked to the volunteers for an explanation as to why his new dog was so very upset.  
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Inseparable Friends

Merrill had no intention of going anywhere without her best pal, Taco. She whined and wailed and generally made a huge fuss about being taken out of the cage. Finally, the staff had to explain to the man that the two were so bonded that they refused to be apart.
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While the man wanted the dogs to be happy, since he did love animals, he realized that they would need to be adopted together. If they were separated, there was no way they’d be okay with it. But could he be the one to give them a home together?
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No Home for Two

The man who had planned to adopt Merrill just didn’t have the possibility of adopting both Taco and Merrill. In the end, he opted to take a different dog who was in need of a home. While the staff were glad that they’d helped one pup find a great new home, they weren’t sure what they were going to do about the two best friends.
Something would have to change. This whole idea of adopting the dogs out separately wasn’t going to work out, but the staff weren’t sure how they could make certain both were chosen together.  
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Two for One Deal

Instead of continuing to list the two dogs separately on their website, Rocket Dog Rescue decided to put them up as a pair. They explained that the two were a pair that needed to be adopted by a single family and that was the way of it.
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The caption for their listing explained that the two were a bonded pair that had lost everything, including their family and their home. The staff wouldn’t make them lose each other on top of everything. But would their strategy work? Was there a home that would take both animals?
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Stuck Together

It didn’t take long for the picture of the pit bull and the Chihuahua to go viral. Everyone loved the cute photo of Merrill, with Taco tucked in between her legs. His little head popped out, making him look positively adorable.
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The photo showed just how attached the dogs were. Taco practically looked like he was a part of Merrill, and in his mind, he really was. In fact, both dogs seemed to feel this way. The photo quickly made the pair famous, but would it change their situation and make it possible for them to find a loving home?
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Gone Viral

Within just a few days of posting the image of the dynamic duo on social media, the photo had gone viral. It had over 26,000 shares in just a few days, as well as 1,000 comments and 14,000 likes. It was obvious that the public had special feelings for the adorable pair of dogs.
With so much response, the rescue was sure the right person would see the photo and would be able to give the dogs a home. There were multiple families expressing interest. It seemed like the perfect family was just around the corner. But were they just giving false hope?
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Still Available

The rescue took the time to frequently update their page and letting the world know that Merrill and Taco were still available. They were hopeful that someone perfect would come along and take the dogs home, but would that happen soon? They hated to see the pit bull and her tiny friend languishing in the shelter.
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To get the dogs out of the shelter, one of the volunteers, Jodi, decided to foster the two disparate animals until they were adopted. They were such opposites, one old, one young, one large, one small. Then something happened that gave the staff hope.  
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The Perfect Connection

The post on Facebook had been going around for some time and nothing had really become of it. And then, a family in San Jose discovered the photo and decided they wanted to offer their home to the dogs. It was love at first sight.
The first step was meeting the dogs. The family headed over to Jodi’s house to see if they were a good fit with Merrill and Taco. To their surprise, the dogs were even better in person. Finally, the two had found the perfect family. But things weren’t all rainbows and unicorns just yet.  
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More Problems

While the dogs now had a happy family that loved them and they were together, things weren’t ideal. Taco was getting older and he had the health issues that plague older dogs. Apart from asthma, he had issues with his gums that had caused all but four of his teeth to fall out. His tongue was floppy because of it, as well.
Despite the health issues and obvious neglect that Taco had suffered, his new family was happy to deal with them. However, the dogs had only been home for a month when it became evident that Taco’s health issues were not so minor.
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Bad News

Taco and Merrill had been with their family for a month when the new owners decided to take Taco to the vet to get checked out. He was old and Chihuahuas are known to be delicate, so they wanted to be sure all was well. The news was not what they’d hoped for.
The vet examined the old dog and realized that he was in heart failure. A few tests and it became evident that there were bigger issues. Taco had an enlarged heart and fluid around his lungs. He wasn’t in great condition at all.  
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Waiting

The family was very worried about their new dog. The vet was adamant that Taco needed to be seen by a specialist before his heart gave up entirely. He gave them some medication and set up an appointment with a vet specialist.
It felt like it took forever for the appointment with the specialist to arrive. In the meantime, Taco took his medication diligently and enjoyed his time with his much younger friend. While the family hoped things would turn out, they were terrified that the news would be even worse and they might even have to put Taco down.
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Everlasting Hope

While Taco’s chances weren’t great, given his age and condition, his new family loved him completely. They didn’t want to give up on him and they make sure he knew he was loved. In fact, the little dog got more attention than he’d likely received in his entire life so far.
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It was Merrill, however, who came to aid her best friend. Taco had looked after her when she was under the weather and now she was returning the favor for her poor friend. She made sure that he was cared for in all ways all the time, never leaving his side for more than a minute.  
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Taco’s Hope

While they waited for Taco’s appointment with a specialist, the family was surprised to see him getting better. Maybe it was all the love showered on him. Maybe it was the bond with Merrill that kept him going. Or maybe it was just a flat out miracle. Whatever the reason, Taco responded well to the treatment.
When the specialist met Taco, he gave him a few different medications to help the dog recover. These included steroids to reduce the fluid that was squeezing his lungs and an anti-seizure medicine that would keep him healthy. Taco made a full recovery from his heart issues, but his lung problems continue.
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Living It Up

Despite his health issues, Taco never slowed down. He might be a tiny dog compared to his best friend, but the Chihuahua has energy to spare. Even Merrill gets tired before he does, but the fact that an older, sick dog can keep up with a young pup is amazing.
Taco is living a wonderful life. The two dogs were adopted in 2014, and have been living happily with their family since then. Taco is loved on and carried about by his family and he spends his free time playing with Merrill. The pair is very happy and the family even made a Facebook page for them.
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Keeping Tabs on the Duo

While the adoptive family is still anonymous, they run the Facebook page, Merrill & Taco. The page shares the special bond these two dogs have with each other and is rather popular. So many people became interested in the dogs after the rescue post went viral that they now want to follow the pair online.
The many pictures of the two dogs show that they are happy and well-adapted to their new family. While the dogs are very content, they still can’t be separated and will cry if they’re apart for even a minute or two.
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Lots of Energy

Merrill is a bouncy young pup and she has a great time running with the family in their yard. She leaps and rolls and is the happiest dog you’ve ever seen. It’s not surprising, considering she finally landed in a place where she is much loved and has her best friend to keep her company.
Taco isn’t quite as fast as his bigger friend, thanks to tiny legs, but his family is happy to carry him around. As long as Merrill and Taco are close together, they’re perfectly content. They just don’t want to be apart.  
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A Chihuahua Baby

Taco loves to be carried about. While he enjoys running with Merrill, he’s all about getting wrapped up in his ride’s shirt and swaddling himself. Then he gets toted about like a newborn baby, perfectly happy to be snuggled.
When Taco is down on the ground, he’s never far from his pal, Merrill. Despite being a pit bull and much stronger than the tiny Chihuahua, Merrill never exerts her dominance. She’s happy to let Taco climb on her, sleep on her back, and generally use her body as a big pillow. They really are completely content with each other.  
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Snuggle Bugs

Taco and Merrill spend most of their time together, but they are just as attached to their human family now, too. They both love to sleep on or beside their humans and can often be found curled up in bed with one of the family members. If someone is watching television, the dogs are right there to get snuggled.
Their Facebook page has countless images of the doggy duo cuddled up with each other after playing together. There are lots of shots of them curled up with their family members, too. They are surrounded by love in this home.  
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Happy Holidays

Since the dogs were adopted from the shelter, they have been happy and cared for. They never have to worry about being abandoned again or being homeless and without family. Their Facebook page documents all the special moments they have with their family, including their very first Christmas with their new family.
To celebrate, the family dressed the dogs up and presented them for the world to see, thanking Rocket Dog Rescue and Jodi for helping them find their beloved animals. It was a long journey, but the dogs are exactly where they want to be, in a loving home.  
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One Year Home

At their one year anniversary of coming home, Merrill and Taco were greatly celebrated. The big plan for the day was to go for a walk with the family and some friends that Merrill and Taco enjoy playing with.  
The family celebrated with their pets and surprised fans by posting a photo of the dogs with Kim, the person who had posted the original photo of the two dogs together in the shelter. It was due to Kim’s efforts that the family had found their precious canine pets. The dogs were finally home, where they belonged thanks to the efforts of the rescue organization.
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Real Friendship

There’s nothing as special as a bond that is forged in difficulties and this pit bull and Chihuahua definitely have something special together. To them, it doesn’t matter that there is an age difference or a size difference. They’re just happy to be together.
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At first glance, it would appear that Taco and Merrill are in love, but their relationship is far beyond that simple word.  While no one knows exactly what happened to them before they were abandoned at the shelter, it must have been horrible. They stick with each other through thick and thin, making sure that the other is always taken care of.
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A Happy Ending

Since the case of Merrill and Taco had garnered so much interest around the world, the Rocket Dog Rescue decided to share a photo of the sweet canine couple. The picture showed the two curled up beside a fireplace and showed just how happy they really are.
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Under the photo was a caption, “Merrill & Taco are doing wonderful in their forever home. They are enjoying hanging out by the fire snuggling up after another long, fun filled day.” It was a heartwarming picture that helped rescuers and fans alike feel happy for the two precious dogs.  
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New Friends

While Taco and Merrill will be inseparable until the day they die, Merrill has started to make a few new friends. She’s open to new friendships and in the photo, you can see her favorite new friend, PJ. This photo was taken during their first time playing together.
The two dogs were having a blast, playing and running. It would appear that PJ is better matched to Merrill’s antics and energy levels than tiny Taco. That being said, many people worried that Taco wasn’t shown in the photo. He was fine, he just had other plans that day.
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Taco Relaxes

Now that they have spent several years in a happy, loving home, the two dogs are able to be apart from time to time. This means that Taco can chill at home while Merrill is out playing with her doggy friends. As he gets older, Taco prefers to relax instead of run.
At one point, someone asked why Taco wasn’t joining Merrill at the play date and the owner told them that it was pretty rough out there. “This is like Clash of the Titans stuff.” They kept tiny little Taco out of the fray instead. It was probably a good choice.  
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Doggy Spa

These two beautiful dogs are having a terrific time in their new family. They feel safe and secure and their family knows how to make them feel great. The photo below shows Merrill and Taco enjoying a spa day at the groomers. You can see they aren’t terribly thrilled.
Even their owner admits that this dynamic duo is less than enthused about bath time, but they do enjoy the walk to get to the groomer and home again. Plus, the groomer gives them a cookie after they endure their not-so-relaxing spa. At least it’s something they get to do together.
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More Spa Day

A bath isn’t all the dogs enjoy while at the groomer’s. There is also a pawdicure for Merrill, an essential beauty ritual. She gets her claws trimmed and then the groomer applies a special OPI-brand pet polish called Pawlish. It’s safe for dogs and gives Merrill’s feet a girly look.
The pink nail polish takes a while to dry, so once her nails are painted, Merrill chills out and sleeps. She’s obviously comfortable in this fancy new life that she’s become accustomed to. The only thing fans want to know is what color of polish did Taco have?
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Doggy Heaven

Merrill might be pleased with her new nails, but Taco has other things on his mind. Like food. Check out this image from March 1, 2015, where he is enjoying a seriously massive bone. The elderly dog deserves a treat, for sure.
Despite his close bond with Merrill, Taco didn’t let her touch this bone. He may not have many teeth left, but he is determined to enjoy his giant bone without any help from his best friend. The sight of tiny Taco warning Merrill away from his treat had the owners laughing their heads off.  
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Another Holiday

In 2015, Taco and Merrill celebrated another Christmas with their family. The family didn’t disappoint with the photos, dressing the reluctant pooches with antler headbands. It was certainly festive!  The dogs didn’t take to them particularly well, though.
The owner reported that the antlers caused Merrill to stay still, unable to move in case the antlers fell off. The result amused the family, but it was Taco who really stole the show. His head was too tiny for the headband and they had to put it around his little body, where it fit perfectly. As you can see, Taco was not amused.
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Ringing in the New Year

In 2017, the dogs started the year off with a visit to the vet. They both came home with the notorious cone of shame around their necks. It wasn’t a good look, or a great way to start off the new year.
It’s obvious that the family these two ended up with is very careful about their health. While they never revealed what kind of medical procedure the duo had done, we know that they care so much for their dogs that it was for their good. After all, they’ve taken excellent care of them so far.
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Roaming Free

The land that Merrill and Taco live on is fairly open and they get to explore nature when they like. That’s the big dream for every dog, so it’s really paradise. They can run around and smell new things frequently, like this time when Merrill first met a horse and donkey.
She was very curious about these farm animals and eagerly followed her human sibling to meet the horse. While Merrill was out and about, Taco stayed home, relaxing and staying warm and secure. It shows that the two are getting pretty comfortable in their home, able to split up from time to time.  
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Wake Up Time

Merrill and Taco aren’t just mooching off their family. They make themselves quite useful. For example, when their human brother needs to get up early in the morning, the duo promptly gets to work to help rouse him in the best possible way.
First, they snuggle in under the blankets and nuzzle his arms until he opens his eyes and get up. In this case, they were helped by a flash photo by a parent who documented the sweet ritual. There’s definitely plenty of room in this family’s hearts for the two sweet dogs .
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Home At Last

It took Taco and Merrill a long time to escape their former life and find a new family. It may not be as exciting to be a dog, since they can’t just take off or scarf down human food, but these two are definitely enjoying life in a family. The biggest perk is snuggling together for a nap.
In this adorable photo from early 2018, the dogs are shown curling up together on their rather fancy doggie bed for a nap. They’re still happiest when side by side and this photo shows that unbreakable bond.  
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About Rocket Dog Rescue

Rocket Dog Rescue was the primary force that brought Taco and Merrill to their family. The organization rescues pets that have been abandoned or who live with owners unable to care for them. It also saves those animals that would usually be killed and provides a comfortable place to stay while they find a family.
No matter the breed or age, the volunteers at Rocket Dog Rescue are firm believers that there is a home for every dog. They sure provided that with Merrill and Taco. While it took some time, they found them the perfect home.

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