1,000 Miles Couldn’t Keep this Dog and Her Pup Apart


Editor’s Note: America’s Best Pet Pals is a nationwide search for the animal friendships that make you laugh, cry, and purr. Reader’s Digest honors the best in pet friendship in print, online, and on social media. This is the winner in our “Rescued Animals” category. To see winners in other categories and our full list of finalists, go to

For four months, puppy Indiana miraculously survived in the woods with a shattered shoulder. She’d been mistaken for a coyote and shot while running wild with her mother, Dakota. An animal control officer said they were the most intensely bonded pair he’d ever seen and refused to leave one another’s side, even while trying to evade immediate capture. He said they’d never had a home and were feral dogs who’d always lived on the run.

two dogs sleeping next to each other on the porch
Courtesy Nonnie Gerber

They play and run around nonstop. The puppy cameras in my house turn on in the middle of the night because the two of them are playing. They sleep entwined with their noses resting on the other. If one rolls over for a belly rub, the other rolls, too. They romp around on the beach and love to say “hi” to other dogs. When she’s tired, Dakota lets her pup rest her one front leg on her back. Every day I play the same good-morning song and they come running in and dance with me, jumping on their hind legs and giving me their front paws (or paw).

They are truly inseparable. Today, Indiana runs and plays with Dakota as if she still has four legs. When she’s tired, Dakota lets her pup rest her one front leg on her back.

These once feral dogs now jump on my bed, lay on the sofa by my side, curl up in my lap, and lick me constantly. Despite their having lived in the wild, there is no aggression whatsoever. I am constantly amazed by how sweet and gentle they are.

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