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K9 connection: DNA test reunites two Bozeman dogs

Twyla and George
Twyla and George
Posted at 12:17 PM, Feb 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-16 14:21:54-05

BOZEMAN — We've covered many stories of adoption and reunions - but never one quite like this. This time it is the tale of a mother and her son and the unique way two adoptive parents discovered their connection.

With happy grunts and wagging tails, it’s clear Twyla and George are two pups that are anything but strangers.

"That was amazing," James Jong, George's owner said of the meeting. "I could tell it seemed like they definitely recognized each other."

"She definitely recognized him," said Twyla's owner, Olivia Reginer.

Indeed, these canines have met before. Their owners recently discovered these pups are family - a mother and son revealed through a DNA test for dogs.

"As a 'helicopter dog mom,' I heard about it in Facebook groups, I knew it was a thing people did," said Olivia.

Both Twyla and George were adopted from the Stafford Animal Shelter in Livingston at different times by different owners. They were not brought in together and no one knows how or when they were separated. They may have never crossed paths again, but their respective pet parents both simply wanted to know more about the genetics of their new best friends so they each sent off for a DNA test through a company called Embark and waited for the results.

"I got the results back and was pretty pleased with the breed that he came back with, it was a unique, makes lots of hound, lab, German Shepherd and Australian cattle dog as well," said James.

"Embark also has a health tracker that tells you about different genetic markers and things that may appear in life that you can kind of lookout for," said Olivia.

The test also had another feature, one that made it possible to potentially discovered your pet's four-legged relatives.



"It wasn’t until about a year later, last week, when Twyla’s owner got her results back and we got the email saying, 'Hey, George has a relative," said James.

The results were a 50 percent match, revealing that Twyla is George’s mom.

"I had an inkling that she had puppies the shelter told me when she came in that she looks like she had had a litter that they could tell that so I knew they were out there and there was a chance I could meet them," said Olivia.

Both owners agree the resemblance is striking. "It totally makes sense," said James.

Now both dogs live in Bozeman so James and Olivia decided immediately they had to bring the two back together.

If only Twyla and George could tell us what they think about being reunited, but Olivia says she has a pretty good idea.

"I like to think I can know what she’s thinking," smiled Olivia. "You could tell with the grunting she was excited."