Life is always better when you’ve got a friend. Herman the pigeon and an 8-week-old Chihuahua named Lundy were brought together as besties when the two were taken in by The Mia Foundation – a New York-based, non-profit rescue that takes in all pets with birth defects across the nation.
Herman has earned himself a position of seniority at The Mia Foundation since he arrived at the rescue several years ago. He was brought in after being at a car dealership for three days, sitting completely motionless.
As the founder of The Mia Foundation, Sue Rogers explained to PEOPLE, “Our main goals is take in animals born with birth defects.”
Her non-profit, which was founded back in 2012, has helped all kinds of animals from dogs and cats to horses, goats, turkeys, and even a donkey.
As Sue added, “But people bring us injured birds and squirrels sometimes.”
That is how Herman came to be with the rescue – Sue received a call about him and she willingly took him in. With the help of someone in wildlife rehab, Sue managed to get Herman healthy again. However, the pigeon never regained his ability to fly, which was most likely the result of either the West Nile Virus or a brain injury.
Given his flightlessness, Herman now permanently lives at The Mia Foundation. He often gets taken outside with Sue in order to get some fresh air and sunshine. It was during one of these outdoor excursions that Herman and Lundy met.
Lundy was brought to The Mia Foundation by a breeder from South Carolina when he was only 4 weeks old. Lundy had started learning how to walk but then suddenly stopped. It appeared that he was going to be special needs, and the breeder didn’t have the capacity to care for him, so she called up Sue. Sue agreed to take in Lundy, who was picked up in South Carolina and brought back to New York with the help of a “flight nanny.”
According to PEOPLE, Sue described the moment that the beautiful friendship began, saying, “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.”
At first, Sue kept a close eye on Lundy and Herman, not sure what to expect from the two animals.
All fears quickly dissipated as the pigeon and Chihuahua soon made their way to one another and immediately began to cuddle.
“The way they interacted was so cute,” Sue said.
She added that after seeing Herman interacting with Lundy and displaying some maternal behaviors, she’s now not quite sure of Herman’s true gender.
Sue snapped some pictures of the new best friends and posted them to Facebook. Needless to say they went down very well with the public and garnered more than 9,000 shares and 7,000 likes.
Herman may be a permanent resident of The Mia Foundation, but Sue still has hope that Lundy will become healthy enough to rehome to a forever home. Sue believes that the cause of Lundy’s mobility issues is linked to spinal cord damage. This would mean that he’d have to learn how to get around using a wheelchair.
“He is only 17 ounces, so we will have to wait on the chair,” she said.
Once Sue gets more clarity on the issue behind Lundy’s mobility problems then she’ll better be able to form a care plan for him and possibly look at getting him adopted out.
A case like Lundy’s is normal for Sue, who has dedicated her life to help animals with special needs – many who’d have been euthanized without her there to take them in and give them a second chance. Sue was inspired to start her non-profit in memory of her beloved late dog Mia, who had a cleft palate.
As she explained how she brought Mia to the vet shortly after birth, she said, “I was told she should be put to sleep, and I had seconds to make that decision.”
Ultimately, she decided against putting Mia to sleep. From there, she managed to have a wonderful and inspiring 22 months with her dog before Mia passed away. During this time, Sue began to look into care options available for pets born with a cleft palate or other birth defects. That is when she began to find that there were actually more options for these pets than what might have been previously let on.
To date, The Mia Foundation has assisted more than 1,000 animals – helping to distribute important information about pet birth defects to numerous owners as well as vets. Ten of the animals rescued have become permanent residents at the non-profit, and they live full-time with Sue.
“We call them ‘The Forever 10,’ ” she stated.
The Forever 10 have an important job as they all travel around with Sue to different schools in order to help her educate kids about the meaning of being born different, as well as the very negative impacts of bullying.
In order to get more information about the wonderful work that The Mia Foundation is doing, along with how you can get involved, please visit their website.
Anastasia is an American writer and journalist living in Dublin, Ireland. Her Twitter is @AnastasiaArell5.
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