Living with a disability can be a pretty lonely life. People don’t always get it – so it’s nice when you can make a friend who understands your needs. Herman the pigeon was living with a disability when he met a friend with a similar issue, and thus a friendship ensued. Both Herman and Lundy, an 8-week-old Chihuahua, were brought together by The Mia Foundation – a New York-based, non-profit rescue that rescues all pets with birth defects across the nation.
Herman enjoys a position of seniority at The Mia Foundation, given that he’s been with the rescue for several years. Herman was rescued from a car dealership, where the poor bird had been sitting there – completely still – for a whole three days.
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 was started back in 2012 with the sole goal of helping all different types of animals. Besides the typical cats and dogs, the rescue has even aided horses, goats, and turkeys, as well as a donkey.
Sue added, “But people bring us injured birds and squirrels sometimes.”
That is how Herman was introduced to the rescue. Sue received a call about Herman, who she willingly took in. Guided by someone with experience in wildlife rehab, Sue managed to get Herman back to his healthy self. Unfortunately, Herman never again took to the sky – his lack of flying abilities most likely caused by either the West Nile Virus or a brain injury.
Given his flightlessness, Herman now permanently lives at The Mia Foundation. Howver, Sue does often take him on adventures outside so he can enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. It was during one of these outdoor excursions that Herman and Lundy met.
Lundy was only 4-weeks-old when a breeder in South Carolina surrendered him to the Mia Foundation. Lundy had begun learning how to walk but then suddenly stopped. Looking like he was going to be special needs, and the breeder knew she didn’t have the capacity to care for him, so instead 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. After all, they were two animals who were strangers to one another, so she was not sure what to expect.
All fears quickly went away as the pigeon and Chihuahua soon grew close, and began to cuddle as though they were old friends.
“The way they interacted was so cute,” Sue said.
She added that after seeing Herman interacting with Lundy, he displayed a few maternal behaviors, and she’s now not quite sure what Herman’s true gender really is.
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 is officially a permanent resident with The Mia Foundation, however, Sue remains hopeful that perhaps one day Lundy will become healthy and strong enough to be re-homed 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 to the bottom of Lundy’s mobility problems then she’ll be set to come up with a long term solution as to how to care for him and perhaps get him adopted out.
A case like Lundy’s is quite normal for Sue, who has committed her life to helping such animals who’d otherwise be euthanized without someone to intervene on their behalf and offer them a chance at a normal life. Sue was inspired to take action and start her non-profit in memory of her beloved dog – the late Mia, who was born with 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 to help Mia as best she could. 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 believed.
To date, The Mia Foundation has assisted more than 1,000 animals. In addition, the foundation has also done vital work in distributing 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 hold down a very important job since they travel around with Sue to different schools in order to educate kids about the meaning of being born different, the importance of kindness, and how bullying can negatively impact someone’s life.
For more information about the wonderful work that The Mia Foundation is doing, or tips on how you can get involved, please visit their website.