dog

Loving Dog Reunites With The Homeless Puppy She Adopted As Her Own Years Earlier

by Kim Wong-Shing
Kim Wong-Shing is a staff writer at LittleThings. Her work spans beauty, wellness, pop culture, identity, food, and other topics. She is a contributing writer at NaturallyCurly, and her work has also appeared in HelloGiggles, Lifehacker, Wear Your Voice Magazine, and other outlets. She grew up in Philadelphia, attended Brown University, and is now based in New Orleans.

Is there anything in the world better than one dog taking another dog under its wing?! No. No, there is not. That’s why we’re falling in love with Piper, a pit bull who adopted a foster puppy as her very own.

The puppy, Charlie, ended up in a shelter at the young age of 2 months after his owner surrendered him. He was sweet and vulnerable, but he desperately needed a warm, comfortable home. So Kristina Helfer, a volunteer at the shelter, opted to take him in as a foster dog.

That’s where Charlie met Piper, Kristina’s own pit bull.

“Charlie’s connection with Piper was immediate,” Kristina told the Dodo. “The second they met, Piper just became his mom.”

Piper licked Charlie, tolerated his endless puppy shenanigans, and even let him attempt to suckle her. Under Piper and Kristina’s guidance, Charlie learned all of his dog manners, like how to walk on a leash. Then he departed for his forever home.

Four years later, the two dogs finally reunited for a heartwarming play session that might just make you sob a little. No big deal.

Kristina Helfer has been fostering dogs for many years now. She’s the adoption and foster coordinator for Wise Animal Rescue in New Jersey.

 

Kristina’s own pit bull, Piper, is remarkably chill. She pretty much gets along with every one of the pups that Kristina brings home.

But she’d never really truly bonded with any of the foster animals.

Until Charlie showed up.

Charlie was surrendered to the Liberty Humane Society in 2015 by his owner. At the time, Kristina was volunteering there, and she decided to take him home and foster him. He was her fourth-ever foster dog.

“Charlie’s connection with Piper was immediate,” Kristina told the Dodo. “The second they met, Piper just became his mom.”

In fact, Charlie actually tried to nurse from Piper at one point, which showed that he was taken from his mama too early.

“It was so special to see,” Kristina said. “Up until that point, Piper tolerated our fosters but wasn’t really in love with any of them. Charlie was one of the few fosters you could tell that Piper loved. There’s just something about that dog.”

 

With Charlie, Piper was patient and extra-loving.

“Charlie loved to cuddle and play with Piper, and also just constantly sat down on her head. He literally would go over to her when she was laying down and just sit on her head. He’d do it multiple times a day and her reaction was just like, ‘Eh OK, whatever.’”

With their special bond, it was a hard decision for Kristina to give Charlie up. But she knew she had to make room for other foster dogs.

Charlie was adopted by a loving forever family, who renamed him Riker, and Piper was alone once more.

But not for long.

Kristina took in many more foster dogs over the years, and she eventually adopted a pit bull sibling for Piper — another loving, gentle giant named Frank. Piper helped Frank just as much as she helped Charlie.

“Piper has this demeanor about her that comforts other dogs,” Helfer said. “The only reason Frank is doing so well right now is because of her.”

And many years later, Piper got to reunite with her first doggo love, Charlie.

“As soon as they saw each other, you could tell they knew. They clearly remembered. Piper really wanted to run and play with him, and all Charlie wanted to do was lick her face and head. He was just full on incessantly licking her and cleaning her.… It was like they were never apart.”

 

Piper and Charlie’s bond remains special, even though they’ve both gone on to make new dog friends and siblings.

“To Charlie, Piper was almost more of a surrogate mom than a foster,” Kristina explained. “With how close those two became in just one month, I don’t think they’ll ever forget one another.”

This isn’t the first time that Kristina’s beloved pit bulls have found themselves at the center of attention.

Frank, too, made headlines last year when he took a blind senior Chihuahua under his own wing.

Frank suffers from anxiety and often has trouble socializing with other pups. But Tito the Chihuahua was a special case — the two “instantly bonded.” Over time, Frank basically became Tito’s service dog. He carried Tito around on his back so that Tito could go on walks.

Unfortunately, Frank and Tito’s bond couldn’t last forever, either. Tito’s age got the best of him, and in November 2018, he crossed over the rainbow bridge.

 

Kristina recently took in another foster, an adorable blind and deaf Yorkie named Sonic — and, of course, Frank has stepped up as caretaker once again.

With Kristina’s unwavering dedication to pups in need, Piper and Frank are never without friends for long.