In early September, two-year-old Bentley Boyers adopted a two-month-old puppy from the Jackson County Animal Shelter in Michigan. The two found an instant bond in the birth defect they share — a cleft lip.
“To see him have something in common with a puppy means a lot ’cause he can grow up and understand that he and his puppy both have something that they can share in common,” Bentley’s mother, Ashley Boyers, said to WILX.
A cleft lip happens when the tissue that makes up the lip doesn’t join completely before birth. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 in every 2,800 babies are born with a cleft lip in the United States.
For Bentley, his parents describe overcoming his birth defect as a “process,” especially when it came to navigating his struggle with eating. With two surgeries for his cleft lip under his belt, he’s growing stronger and stronger every day.
Adopting a puppy wasn’t originally in the cards for the Boyers family. According to WILX, Bentley’s father, Brandon Boyers, went to the shelter to adopt two chickens. At the shelter, he came across a dog with a cleft lip. Knowing that the pup would be perfect for his son, he called Ashley.
Ashley told WILX, “He Facetimed me. He goes, ‘I think this one has a cleft lip’ and I said ‘Get her! We need her!’”
The family had no trouble embracing the puppy into their family after Bentley fell in love with her. In the future, he’ll have to undergo a bone-grafting surgery, but his parents are happy he’ll have new support from his furry friend.
The animal shelter shared the happy news to their Facebook, uploading multiple photos showing the newly-formed bond between Bentley and the unnamed pup.