The owner of two rescue dogs was left amazed. When she discovered they were mother and daughter.

Rachel Karten lives in Los Angeles with her Pekingese mix dogs, Nancy and Pepper. Adopted two years ago from Chiquita’s Friends. A local rescue service, Nancy and Pepper were always meant to be together.

“When we met Nancy, we didn’t even know another dog relative there,” Karten told Newsweek. “They kept the two dogs in the playpen and told us they were found as ‘bonded sisters.'”

What the rescue team said

The rescue team said it wanted the dogs to be kept together because of their close bond, and Karten agreed the pair should not be separated and adopted both Nancy and Pepper.

“We assumed they were sisters until we got a DNA test to find out their breeds about six months after adopting them,” Karten said. But what was revealed amazed her.

DNA testing for humans has seen a surge in popularity in the past decade, helping people find long-lost relatives and gain information about their genetic makeup. More recently, such testing has become a popular option for dog owners hoping to learn more about their canine friends.

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Nancy and Pepper look out of the window. Owner Rachel Karten was amazed when a DNA test revealed that she adopted Pekingese mix dogs were mother and daughter.MILKKARTEN/TIKTOK

Who bought the DNA tests?

Karten purchased Embark DNA tests to find out more about her adopted dogs. The test takes DNA via a simple cheek swab and tests it against 350 breeds, including wolf, coyote, and dingo.

When the results came back from the owner, the DNA tests revealed that Pepper was Nancy’s mother.

Embark DNA Veterinary’s CEO, Ryan Boyko, said, “Embark offers the world’s first patented canine DNA relative finder, and dog owners who test their dogs with Embark can find and connect with other dogs who share their dog’s DNA.”

He said that “90 percent of dogs tested with Embark will have at least one dog in Embark’s database as genetically related as human first cousins, and 12 percent of dogs tested with Embark discover their dog’s siblings, parents or offspring.”

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Nancy and Pepper’s unusual story has been shared on TikTok, where it has been viewed 8.5 million times.MILKKARTEN/TIKTOK

Karten said: “I was expecting to find out they were officially sisters, but then to read back they had a parent/offspring relationship made me fully sob. Something about them being found together on the street. So the mom Pepper protecting Nancy made my heart melt.”

To celebrate their two-year “adoptaversary.” Karten decided to share the dogs’ unusual story on TikTok, where it has been viewed 8.5 million times.

“This makes me so happy,” said one TikToker. Another commenter wrote: “A dog growing up with her mom has me sobbing.”

Karten said: “The reaction has been so heartwarming. I hope it inspires people to consider adopting instead of buying from a breeder.”

Do you have funny and adorable videos or pictures of your Pet you want to share? Send them to with details about your best friend, and they could appear in our Pet of the Week lineup.

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