Platonic love is blooming at The Mia Foundation just in time for Valentine’s Day.
Herman the pigeon and Lundy the 8-week-old Chihuahua found themselves on the same dog bed at the New York-based non-profit — which is dedicated to giving pets with birth defects across the country a fighting chance — and both the animals seemed to be rather comfortable with the set up.
Herman has seniority at The Mia Foundation. The bird arrived at the rescue several years ago, after he was found sitting motionless at a car dealership for three days.
“Our main goals is take in animals born with birth defects,” Sue Rogers, who founded The Mia Foundation in 2012, told PEOPLE, adding that the non-profit has helped young dogs, cats, horses, goats, turkeys and even a donkey. “But people bring us injured birds and squirrels sometimes.”
That’s how Herman ended up with Rogers; she received a call about the pigeon and agreed to take him in. With help from a mentor involved in wildlife rehab, Rogers was able to help the bird recover his strength, but Herman never regained the ability to fly, likely the result of West Nile Virus or a brain injury.
So, Herman is now a permanent resident at The Mia Foundation, where Rogers regularly brings the bird outside to take in the great outdoors. It was after one of these outings that Herman met Lundy.
Lundy arrived at The Mia Foundation from a breeder in South Carolina when he was just 4 weeks old. The little dog had started to learn how to walk and then suddenly stopped pawing around. The breeder, unable to care for the pup that appeared to have special needs, called Rogers to see if she could take him in. She agreed, and sent a “flight nanny” down to South Carolina to pick up the puppy and safely bring him back to New York.
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“I set Herman on a dog bed and started caring for Lundy, and I decided to carefully put Lundy in the same dog bed next to him,” Rogers said of how the adorable friendship moment started.
Unsure how the animals would react to each other, Rogers kept a close eye on the pair, keeping Lundy on the other side of the dog bed at first.
But there was no need for concern, the two pets quickly gravitated towards each and started cuddling.
“The way they interacted was so cute,” Rogers said, adding that she isn’t certain if Herman is a he after seeing him display some maternal behaviors when he was alongside Lundy.
The founder luckily got photos of the duo bonding together and posted the pictures to Facebook, where they now have amassed over 9,000 shares and 7,000 likes.
While Herman is a permanent resident at The Mia Foundation, Rogers hopes to help Lundy get healthy and find a forever home. She believes the source of the puppy’s mobility issues might be linked to spinal cord damage, which means he would need to learn to walk with a wheelchair.
“He is only 17 ounces, so we will have to wait on the chair,” Rogers said.
Once Rogers has learned more about the source of Lundy’s mobility issues and has him set up with a care plan for the future, she will look into adopting out the pup.
This is a typical case for Rogers, who has dedicated her time to helping pets born with birth defects, many of whom would be euthanized without her intervention, find full and satisfying lives. She started The Mia Foundation in memory of her late dog Mia, who was born with a cleft palate.
“I was told she should be put to sleep, and I had seconds to make that decision,” Rogers said of what happened when she brought Mia to the vet shortly after the puppy was born.
Rogers ultimately decided not to euthanize Mia, and got 22 inspiring months with the dog before she passed away. During this time, Rogers learned about the care options available for pets born with a cleft palate and other birth defects, and found that there was more hope for these animals than veterinary textbooks let on.
Today, The Mia Foundation has rescued and adopted out over 1,000 animals and has provided valuable information about pet birth defects to countless owners and vets. Ten pets have ended up becoming permanent residents at the non-profit, living with Rogers full time.
“We call them ‘The Forever 10,’ ” she said.
The Forever 10 travel to different schools with Rogers and help her teach children about being born different and the negative effects of bullying.
To learn more about The Mia Foundation and how you can help the amazing animals under their care, visit the non-profit’s website.