Dog and His 2 Puppies Adopted From Texas Shelter Find Each Other Living in Same New York Neighborhood

The Upper West Side story of Marvin, Leo and Murray’s reunion might inspire the next feel-good movie of the year. 

In a tale of fate, three rescue dogs who are related and were adopted from a Texas animal shelter coincidentally all found loving homes in the same New York City neighborhood, and now their owners are all friends. The Upper West Side story of Marvin, Leo and Murray’s reunion might inspire the next feel-good movie of the year. 

“It's true that this zip code is beloved by Nora Ephron,” said Glamour Magazine culture editor Mattie Kahn, who adopted Marvin three months ago with her boyfriend Jason Hellerstein. “So I do feel like an Upper West Side family reunion with a little bit of drama, some barking, some loud characters, does feel like it fits in a Nora Ephron movie.”

Marvin, along with his two sons, Leo and Murray, hailed from the Dr. Dolittle's Rescue Ranch in McAllen, Texas. They were all surrendered to the shelter for various reasons, according to Tammy Vergel de Dios, the rescue center’s director. 

“They could have been anywhere,” explained Vergel de Dios of where these dogs could have gone once adopted. “They could have been far apart. We have adoptions all the way up to New Hampshire. It turned out the three of them went to New York City.”

Mattie Kahn and Jason Hellerstein

Leo was adopted by Tara Derington, who used Petfinder to find her pup. He was adopted shortly after Marvin found his new family. When Derington called the shelter to get his rabies tags, she found out Leo’s father was living in her neighborhood and his brother, Murray, was in need of a home. So she told her friend and Thrive Global co-worker, Anne Sachs, who had been searching for a dog throughout the pandemic.

Tara Derington and Leo - Tara Derington

“It was really hard to get a dog in New York City, in a really good way, because the shelters are really emptying out. People were adopting so much here in the Northeast,” Sachs said after adopting Murray on Jan. 7. “It was like the real estate market. You just couldn't get your hands on one.”

Knowing Leo’s dad was living nearby, Derington often scoped out the dogs on walks in the off-chance she would run into him. And as would happen in good movie, that day finally came. Derington was on a walk when another dog started sniffing at Leo. Derington began talking to the other dog's owner, and sure enough, they realized their pets were related. 

“We had no idea that he had a son,” Hellerstein said of his dog, Marvin. 

“Gather round for an unbelievable tale of dogs, DNA, and chance encounters," Kahn wrote on twitter after Hellerstein came home from the groomer that day. “I can't decide if this entire thing is a Metropolitan Diary, a Pixar film, or a children's book that I simply must write.”

“It's a really big surprise,” Sachs added. “I had no idea that we would ever find out who Murray's dad was.”

Anne Sachs and Murray - Anne Sachs

To bring this separated family back together, a reunion was planned at the Bull Moose Dog Run, next to the Museum of Natural History. And on Sunday, in a climatic and emotional tear-jerking scene, Marvin, Leo and Murray ran free to become reacquainted while their human owners all gabbed about their new furry family additions. 

“It’s so exciting to see the dogs just so happy to be together,” Derington noted. “It's pretty special that we adopted three dogs all in the same family from Texas and ended up living in the same zip code.”

Now that this group is all friends forever bonded by their dogs, it's possible they’ll bump into each other at Riverside Park and outside Cafe Lalo, an Upper West Side coffee shop featured in Nora Ephron’s “You’ve Got Mail.” 

Or perhaps, Zabar’s was always their destiny. 

“I think it just means that in their hearts, they really love bagels and cream cheese,” Kahn quipped.