Blind Pup and His Loyal Brother From Viral Photo Find Forever Home

The photo that started it all.You've probably seen the photo by now: two sweet 8-month-old pups sleeping face-to-face on a small cot at an animal shelter, each one’s legs and paws wrapped around the other. Thanks to that pic, which went viral soon after it was posted earlier this month, the siblings, named Jeffrey and Jermaine, found a global fan base. And now they've found something much more important: a family to adopt them.

The dogs have a strong bond: Jeffrey is blind, and Jermaine acts, quite literally, as his guide dog. The pair was abandoned on the streets of Philadelphia, and ended up at Operation Ava, a not-for-profit, no-kill animal shelter, which posted the photo on Nov. 16. The image was then picked up by the Chester County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (CCSPCA), and within 48 hours, more than 10,000 people from around the world had expressed interest in adopting the dogs.

Jeffrey and Jermaine's new owners, Veronica McKee and Jonathan Hochman. (Photo courtesy of Jonathan Hochman.) Ironically, the pups' new owners — Jonathan Hochman and Veronica McKee of Springfield, Pennsylvania — never saw the now-famous photo before meeting the pair in person. According to McKee, she sent an email about the pups to her husband after receiving an email from a friend who had recently adopted a Chihuahua from Operation Ava. The couple had wanted to adopt two dogs, and McKee thought this duo might be a good match. Hochman stopped by the shelter that same day, on Nov. 20, and tells Yahoo that it was love at first sight. “Jeffrey and Jermaine came bursting into the room, and they were the cutest dogs ever,” says Hochman, noting that the staff asked him a few questions and he left after submitting an application — but had no idea that he was one of hundreds who had applied.

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Before the viral pic was posted, the pups had spent two months at the shelter being nursed back to health. During their recovery, it became clear that Jeffrey depended on Jermaine to get around, and the pair would need to be adopted together. “We went through thousands of inquiries and hundreds of applications searching for the perfect match, and it really came down to gut instinct,” Claudia Gutierrez, CEO of Operation Ava, tells Yahoo Shine. “Jonathan and Veronica have a wonderful relationship, and I knew they had a unique understanding of the bond between Jeffrey and Jermaine.”
Awww. (Photo courtesy of Jonathan Hochman.)
The morning after his first visit with the dogs, Hochman got a call from the shelter saying that he and his wife were one of three families being considered, and they were asked to come in the following day for a final interview. Hochman and McKee agreed, and by the next morning they had officially adopted Jeffrey and Jermaine. “It happened so quickly,” recalls Hochman. “The dogs are so adaptable. They are happy and really loving, and they are always together.” Since arriving at their new home on Monday, the dogs have settled in nicely. “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.” The only family member who isn’t thrilled about the puppies is Hochman’s 13-year-old cat, Blabbus, although Hochman is confident that she’ll come around. “I’m sure she’ll be torturing them in no time,” he says. 

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McKee and Hochman plan to keep the dogs' fans around the world updated on their progress. The pups' Facebook page, Brotherly Love Pups, was launched just 24 hours ago and has already garnered more than 17,000 likes, while their Twitter feed has 116 followers and counting. “I understand the puppies are an ambassador for dog rescue at its best,” says McKee, a marketing director. “If their story can help save the lives of other animals, we are happy to be their voice.”

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