When New Yorkers Bianca P., (seen on the left above), and Ebony B. adopted puppy siblings Jen and Jan at the same time in 2019, the two new pet parents became good friends themselves, finding joy and support in a relationship that continued throughout the pandemic.
The Road to Adoption
Both small hunting dog mixes, Jen and Jan were transported to the ASPCA aboard the Nancy Silverman Rescue Ride (NSRR), which relocates adoptable animals to areas where there is high demand.
The NSRR is part of the ASPCA Animal Relocation program. Since 2015, the NSRR has transported 96,841 animals (82,430 of which were dogs) to safer locations where they have a higher chance of adoption throughout the U.S.
Jen and Jan originated from Oktibbeha County Humane Society in Starkville, Mississippi, and arrived with nine other dogs at the ASPCA Adoption Center in New York City on January 24, 2019.
Three days later, Jan and Jen were both adopted, a heartwarming story on its own. But what happened afterward is just as inspiring.
“I had been begging my fiancé, Francis, for a dog for a long time,” says Ebony, a human resources executive who lives in Washington Heights. “We decided to adopt instead of buying from a pet store after researching numerous shelters in Manhattan. The ASPCA seemed to have the best reviews.”
Jen with Francis, left, and Ebony
Ebony and Francis visited the ASPCA to meet the dogs available for adoption. With help from ASPCA Matchmaker Lisa Berger, they zeroed in on Jen, who shared her kennel space with Jan.
At the same time, Bianca and her partner, Jarrad, decided to adopt Jan.
The couples talked as their adoption paperwork was being processed. They marveled that the canine sisters were both going to new homes on the same day, at the same time.
Days later, Ebony and Bianca bumped into each other again on the Upper East Side while taking their dogs to the same veterinarian for their initial checkups.
Jen, now called T’Challa, left, and Jan, now called Basil
“When I saw them in the waiting room, I recognized them from the ASPCA,” says Bianca, an insurance adjuster. “We just happened to have the same vet, and the dogs look alike.”
Basil, left, and T’Challa love the outdoors
“We exchanged our contact information at the vet’s office,” adds Ebony. “We’ve been in touch ever since.”
Bianca and Jarrad had wanted a dog ever since they moved into a Bronx building where pets were welcome.
One day, at a pet supply store on the Upper East Side, an employee recommended the couple visit the ASPCA, where they found Jan.
Left to right: Basil and Bianca; with Bianca’s daughter, Savannah
“I definitely encourage people to adopt and not buy,” says Bianca, who had considered purchasing a dog. “Adopting allowed us to save two lives—providing Jan with a loving home while saving space for another pup to be rescued.”
Last year, Bianca and Jarrad welcomed a daughter, Savannah, who was born September 2.
“Jan loves her,” says Bianca. “It’s a beautiful thing.”
Forging a Friendship
Prior to COVID-19, Ebony and Bianca got together several times at dog-friendly bakeries and cafés, primarily so the dogs could hang out together. They even took them to training classes together.
When the pandemic put a stop to their in-person visits, the ladies continued to text and talk on the phone at least once a week.
Left to right: Bianca and Basil; Ebony and T”Challa
“I’m really close to Ebony,” says Bianca, who now lives in Westchester with her family. “We consider ourselves friends.”
Ebony says their friendship has been beneficial in many ways.
T’Challa, left, and Basil
“We’re both first-time pet owners, so we give each other advice,” she says. “It’s a good support system. And the dogs are similar—picky eaters for example—so we’ve worked through some of those issues together.”
“We also share suggestions on things to buy and places to go,” adds Bianca. “It’s been a learning experience.”
Birthdays are a time for celebration for T’Challa, top, and Basil
Jen was renamed T’Challa, after the superhero from Black Panther, and Jan is now named Basil. Both dogs also have Instagram accounts—another way that Ebony and Bianca keep in touch.
“We each got a new dog, but we each also gained a new friend,” says Bianca.