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Vardis Reunites With His Long-Lost Sister, Brunch


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Vardis, a sweet-faced rescue pup, had spent most of his life in shelters and foster homes as he waited for his forever family. Along the way, with the help of an Embark dog DNA test, Vardis reunited with a special someone—his long-lost sister, Brunch.

Their heartwarming reunion story appeared in The Dodo, People, and The Guardian.

A black and white mixed-breed dog sits on the sidewalk, with a blue leash attached to his harness. The city of Chicago is in the background.

Vardis out for a walk in Chicago. Photo courtesy of Jessica Jones.

Vardis had a bad case of pneumonia when he arrived at One Tail At A Time (OTAT) in Chicago in September 2021. The team at OTAT gave him shelter, medical treatment, and lots of love and care. With their help, Vardis made a full recovery.

Vardis takes an Embark DNA test

When Vardis was healthy enough to leave the shelter, OTAT introduced him to his first foster mom, Lynsey. His unique appearance sparked her curiosity about his breed mix, so Lynsey purchased an Embark Breed ID Test and tested Vardis’ DNA. It turns out that the dog she thought might be a black Lab mix is actually 50% Golden Retriever, 45.5% American Bully, and 4.5% Bulldog.

Breed results for a dog named Vardis show 50.0% Golden Retriever, 45.5% American Bully, and 4.5% Bulldog.

When Vardis later went to live with foster mom Jessica, Lynsey shared his Embark results with her. Because of his unique breed mix, Jessica likes to say he’s a “Golden Bully.”

However, Vardis’ breed mix was only the first surprise.

Vardis reunites with his sister, Brunch

The second surprise came in September 2022, when Vardis was living with Jessica. Lynsey received an email through the Relative Finder feature in Vardis’ Embark profile. Another Embark customer had discovered that their dog, Brunch, shares DNA with Vardis. It turns out that Vardis and Brunch are not only siblings—they are actually littermates!

Through the Relative Finder, the families arranged a playdate for Vardis and Brunch. Although Jessica wasn’t sure how Vardis would react upon meeting Brunch, as soon as the two dogs saw each other, she knew she didn’t have to worry.

“It was so fun to watch Vardis and Brunch reunite,” Jessica said. “They were both very comfortable with each other from the start!”

You can see their special bond in this video from their reunion:

The two dogs hit it off immediately, starting their playdate with sniffing noses and wagging tails. After working up an appetite doing zoomies in the yard, they shared a snack together.

Two mixed-breed dogs, Vardis and Brunch, sit on the grass while looking up awaiting a snack.

Siblings Vardis and Brunch reunite for a playdate. Photo courtesy of Jessica Jones.

“The two have very similar play styles,” Jessica says. “Both like to bump their playmate with their butt to kind of herd them to where they want to be!”

Two mixed-breed dogs, Vardis and Brunch, sniff each other playfully.

Even though they hadn’t seen each other in years, siblings Vardis and Brunch were immediately comfortable with each other. Photo courtesy of Jessica Jones.

With their first playdate a resounding success, both families are excited for the next one.

A selfie of Vardis, a black and white mixed-breed dog wearing an orange bandana, and his foster mom Jessica.

Vardis with his foster mom, Jessica. Photo courtesy of Jessica Jones.

Vardis finds his forever family

After a long search, we are happy to share that Vardis has officially found his forever home! Jessica announced his adoption on Instagram on March 31, 2023. We are so thrilled for Vardis, and wish him many happy years ahead with his new family!

For more Embark relative reunion stories, read about how Diego and his adopted companion Dixie turned out to be siblings.

Mimi Padmabandu Contributor

Mimi Padmabandu is a scientific writer and Content Strategy Lead at Embark Veterinary. She has over a decade of experience writing about science and genomics for leading biotechnology companies. She holds a bachelor's degree in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology from UCLA and a master’s degree in Early Modern English Literature from King’s College London.

Read more about Mimi Padmabandu

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