Dog Siblings Reunite After 13 Years Apart When DNA Test Reveals the Pups Live in the Same Town (Exclusive)

Labrador Retriever/golden retriever mixes Maddy and Mozart found out that they both enjoy back scratches and the snow

<p>Ann MacLean</p> Canine siblings Mozart and Maddy

Ann MacLean

Canine siblings Mozart and Maddy

Dogs Mozart and Maddy have a lot to catch up on.

The canine siblings spent over 13 years apart after they were adopted into separate homes as puppies in 2011. Mozart went home with Ann MacLean, a high school science teacher in Freehold, New Jersey.

"We had lost our previous dog, Bogey, in the fall of 2010. A couple of months later, I began looking on to find another dog to bring into our home. I came across a litter of five eight-week-old puppies listed through Paula's Dog House in Mount Olive, N.J., about 60 miles from us. The litter consisted of four males and one female. Two were golden in color, and three were black," MacLean tells PEOPLE of how Mozart ended up in her life.

MacLean and her family chose to adopt Mozart, one of the black puppies, but they also fell in love with Maddy, another black pup, when they went to pick up Mozart in Jan. 2011.

"Two days later, we called Paula's dog house expressing interest in adopting Maddy as well; however, we were informed that someone had just expressed interest in her and would be picking her up the following weekend. We were disappointed but thankful that she had a home, "MacLean recalls.

The teacher assumed she would never see Maddy again, but fate intervened. After adopting Mozart, MacLean used an Embark dog DNA test to discover which breeds made up the pup. Mozart is a mix of Labrador retriever, golden retriever, collie, Chow Chow, German shepherd, and boxer.

Related: Dog Siblings Living in Different States Reunite After Finding Each Other on Instagram (Exclusive)

Embark dog DNA tests also include a relative finder feature, which notifies pet parents if a canine related to their pooch submits a DNA test. In 2024, MacLean received a message about Maddy.

"In January 2024, I logged into Embark. I had not logged into the Embark website in over a year. I thought the chance of Mozart reuniting with one of his siblings was becoming small as Mozart was now 13 years old. I was SO excited to see 'immediate family' listed!" MacLean says.

"One of Maddy's profile pictures read, 'She loves running through tall weeds and scratching her back in the bushes.' I laughed as this is also one of Mozart's favorite things," she adds. "I saw that Sheila [Maddy's owner] had contacted me a year earlier through Embark messaging. I immediately messaged Sheila. We shared information about Mozart and Maddy, and it was clear they were siblings. It was so wonderful."

Maddy's owner, Sheila McNeil, who first learned about Mozart's connection to Maddy in Nov 2022, was ecstatic to hear from MacLean.

"As soon as I saw a picture of Mozart, I told Doug this is definitely her brother as they look exactly alike. I was so excited to find her littermate and even more excited to reunite them," McNeil says.

During their conversations, which moved from Embark messaging to phone calls, MacLean and McNeil learned their dogs share countless similarities. Both pooches love the snow, hate the heat, and have hip arthritis. McNeil shared how she started caring for Maddy in 2022 with her husband, Doug McNeil, after the dog's original owner, Sheila's adopted aunt, died.

Most surprisingly, the dog moms learned they both lived near Freehold, N.J., and took their pets to the same vet.

<p>Ann MacLean</p> Mozart and Maddie relaxing together during a meet up

Ann MacLean

Mozart and Maddie relaxing together during a meet up

"The both of us just laughed," MacLean says of her reaction to learning Sheila lived nearby. "We were talking on the phone at this point. Sheila and I had already planned to meet before asking where each other lived. We were both committed to getting them together regardless of distance. The more we talked and saw all that they had in common-including having the same ailment and being on the same medication, we realized this meeting was meant to be."

"I was very surprised to discover Mozart's family lived so close by, considering they were adopted up in the Sussex County area, which is about 2 ½ hours north of here," Sheila says of her reaction. "It was a given that these two would reunite once we knew of the other's existence, but this close distance makes regular meets easier to do. The Universe works in such serendipitous ways!"

The pet parents chose to reunite the dog siblings on Jan. 14, 2024—nearly 13 years after their separation on Jan. 15, 2011. Mozart and Maddy met at a local park with plenty of walking paths.

"It was a perfect way to introduce them. They walked the paths together," MacLean says.

Upon reuniting, the dogs took a few moments to get comfortable with one another, which aligns with their personalities, according to their owners.

"A dramatic reunion of the dogs exhibiting uncontrolled joy was not a realistic expectation, nor was it either Maddy or Mozart's personality," MacLean shares, adding that after 10 minutes of walking, the pooch pair seemed like "two old souls who have known each other for years."

Sheila, who knows shy Maddy can struggle with meeting new people and dogs, was amazed by how quickly the dogs got comfortable.

"Maddy was shy at first sniff but warmed up much faster than I expected, happily walking near her brother. She even took a treat from Ann and sniffed Scott, which was huge. Based on Maddy's reaction to Mozart and his parents, I am convinced she recognizes Mozart as her littermate, and Mozart's parents are accepted through association," she says of the reunion.

Related: Dog Waiting to Be Adopted for Over a Year Has Exciting Reunion with Sister Pup Thanks to DNA Test

Since their reunion, Mozart and Maddy have met up three times and have more strolls planned for the future. Their pet parents say that each time the dogs see each other, the friendship between the canines grows stronger.

"It has been heart-warming to see their bond continue to develop," MacLean says.

"Maddy behaves much differently with Mozart than any other dog she's met. She is calm and accepting, and this behavior grows each time they get together," Sheila adds.

Connecting with their pet's sibling has also been a boon for MacLean and Sheila, who have been swapping health and pet care tips.

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

"Sheila and I have been able to share information about what we have found successful in their medications and diets. Especially as Maddy and Mozart age, it will be comforting to see if the other is having similar issues and discuss the pros and cons of different care options. It will also be nice to support each other," MacLean says.

For Sheila, knowing more about Maddy's past is a priceless gift.

"I am incredibly grateful to Ann for sharing Maddy and Mozart's history with Doug and me. I did not know the litter came up from North Carolina and that Maddy was one of five and the only girl. Ann shared pictures of them from their foster home as puppies. It's just so special. Of course, we don't know who is who in those pictures, but we do know that these handsome dogs were incredibly cute puppies!" Sheila says.

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.