Deformed dogs have become best friends after the same family adopted them five years apart.
Liesl Wilhardt, 53, founder and director of Luvable Dog Rescue, has shared a glimpse into the unbreakable friendship between Picasso and Newt.
Both dogs have facial deformities and live with Wilhardt on her 55-acre property in Eugene, Oregon.
Liesl adopted Picasso in 2017 after her brother, Pablo, suddenly passed away, and then she adopted Newt in 2021, and the two quickly became inseparable.
Picasso, five years old, was born with a twisted snout, while Newt, one year old, suffered an injury from his mother’s bite that left him without an upper jaw.
Picasso’s condition, called a twisted mouth, causes one side of the jaw to grow more than the other, leading to a distorted appearance that closely resembles the works of art created by his namesake, Pablo Picasso.
The medical condition can occur in a variety of other animal species as well as dogs, and it doesn’t cause any pain, but it makes it much more challenging for pets to be adopted.
Despite their daily challenges resulting from their deformities and Newt’s medical issues, the pair now lead a very happy life.
Liesl gave her followers a glimpse of their friendship with a series of clips of their daily activities, which include feeding, playing together, walking, and berry picking.
“It was a miracle that Picasso survived as a baby because it would have been very hard for him even to nurse his mother,” said Liesl.
“Newt has had many more challenges; surprisingly, the biggest challenges are not due to his lack of an upper jaw.
“Both Picasso and Newt adore people, so they are very outgoing in public and seek attention and love greeting people.
Wilhardt gave her followers a glimpse of their friendship with a series of clips of their daily activities, which include feeding, playing together, walking, and collecting berries.
Explaining why her adorable dog Picasso looks so unusual, Liesl said in 2017, “Picasso’s jaw is twisted.” Veterinarians say he doesn’t feel any pain. It can sometimes make it hard for him to eat, but other than that, he’s fine.
“Most people do two double-takes and then look at the dogs for a while, trying to make sense of what they’re seeing.
“They don’t have any pain; they’ve adapted to their physical challenges and do almost everything they want to do.
“Picasso loved Newt from the beginning because Newt loves to play and wrestle and is very kind. This friendship has deepened as Newt matured.
“I absolutely love Picasso and Newt with all my heart; both are incredibly affectionate, happy, intelligent, and funny dogs.”
Picasso even has his own Instagram account, where he entertains over 274,000 followers.
Liesl has rescued hundreds of disabled animals and owns 55 acres of forested land, providing the perfect home for dogs, cats, chickens, and even pigs, one of which is Picasso’s best friend.
Some of the other pets include five pit bulls named Buddha, Nenna, Piggy, Owl, and Maverick, as well as a pug-chihuahua mix named Hazel.
Liesl has also rescued five pigs; Bernard, who is a KuneKune, Debbie, a massive Yorkshire pig, JackJack, a KuneKune, and Donut and Nanners, which are Yorkshire pig mixes.
The rescue center has also taken in several cats and their litters, and Liesl herself has adopted ten dogs and rescued a pig named Pax.
Most of the dogs come from overcrowded shelters in California, where there are more animals than available homes, including Picasso.
The devoted animal lover, who lives on the property where the center is located, dedicates several hours a day to preparing food for the animals, feeding them, and cleaning.
Many of the dogs have various health conditions and need surgery or amputations, which she pays for.
Liesl said in 2021 that she has employed six people to help care for the animals full-time, all of whom regularly take the dogs for daily walks.
Other volunteers come during the week to walk the dogs, play with the pigs, and socialize with the cats and kittens.
Speaking in 2017, Liesl, who founded Luvable Dog Rescue 22 years ago, said about Picasso, “Picasso is a very special dog, with an exceptional temperament.
Realizing she had fallen in love with Picasso, she knew she wanted to keep him as one of her own. Now Picasso spends his days helping people with disabilities or illnesses as part of Liesl’s rescue program. In the photo: Picasso interacts with a woman in a wheelchair as part of the program.