Dog Siblings Reunited After 13 Years Apart Thanks to a DNA Test

Nevena Nacic
by Nevena Nacic
Erik Lam/Shutterstock

Labrador retriever golden retriever mixes, Mozart and Maddy have a lot to catch up on. After being adopted into separate homes as puppies, the brother and sister spent 13 years apart.

The male pup, Mozart, was adopted by Ann MacLean, a high school science teacher in Freehold,  New Jersey. After losing her previous dog, MacLean started looking for a new pooch to bring into her home. She found a litter of five eight-week-old puppies listed on The litter consisted of four males and one female puppy. Two pups were golden in color and three were completely black. 

MacLean and her family decided to adopt one of the black puppies and named him Mozart. When they went to pick up Mozart, they noticed his sister Maddy, and immediately fell in love with her. But when, two days later, they expressed interest in adopting Maddy as well, they were informed that someone else was already interested in her and was going to pick her up the following weekend.  

MacLean believed she would never see Maddy again, but the Universe had other plans! 

After adopting Mozart, MacLean was curious to learn more about her new pup’s genetic makeup, so she used a dog DNA test. The test revealed Mozart is a mix of Labrador retriever, golden retriever, collie, German shepherd, chow chow, and boxer. Embark test also has a relative finder feature, which informs the owner if a dog related to their pooch submitted a DNA test. 

In January 2024, I logged into Embark. I had not logged into the Embark website in over a year. I thought the chance of Mozart reuniting with one of his siblings was becoming small as Mozart was now 13 years old. I was so excited to see ‘immediate family’ listed,” MacLean told PEOPLE. 

Maddy’s owner, Sheila McNeil, was over the moon to hear from MacLean. “As soon as I saw a picture of Mozart, I told Doug this is definitely her brother as they look exactly alike. I was so excited to find her littermate and even more excited to reunite them,” said McNeil. 

During their conversations, MacLean and McNeil learned how similar their dogs are. Both canine siblings love the snow, can’t stand the heat, and have hip arthritis. McNeil and her husband Doug, only started caring for Maddy two years ago, when the pup’s original owner, Sheila’s adopted aunt, died. 

The biggest surprise, however, is that both dogs live near Freehold, and even go to the same vet! The owners had already planned to meet and were committed to getting the dogs together regardless of the distance. 

It was a given that these two would reunite once we knew of the other’s existence, but this close distance makes regular meets easier to do. The Universe works in such serendipitous ways,” said McNeil. 

The siblings were finally reunited on January 14th, nearly 13 years after their separation. The pups met at a local park and needed a few minutes to become comfortable with one another, which was in line with their personalities. 

A dramatic reunion of the dogs exhibiting uncontrolled joy was not a realistic expectation, nor was it either Maddy’s or Mozart’s personality,” explained McNeil adding that after only 10 minutes of walking, the siblings seemed like “two old souls who have known each other for years.”

Since their reunion, Maddy and Mozart have seen each other three times and have more meet-ups planned for the future. Their owners are happy that the friendship between the canines grows stronger each time they see each other. 

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Nevena Nacic
Nevena Nacic

Nevena is a freelance writer and a proud mom of Teo, a 17-year-old poodle, and Bob, a rescued grey tabby cat. Since childhood, she had a habit of picking up strays and bringing them home (luckily, her parents didn't know how to say NO). When she's not writing for her fellow pet parents, Nevena can be found watching Teo sleep. To her defense, that's not as creepy as it sounds!

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