Getting a dog groomed does so much more than just make the pooch look fresh and smell clean. For some dogs especially, there are genuine health benefits to a good groomin’, too. But not every grooming session goes as smoothly as it should.
One dog, for instance, went to the groomers for what should’ve been a routine cleaning and haircut. When the pooch returned home, however, its family noticed that something was seriously off about her…
If there was one thing Alex Maldonado loved more than than anything in the world, it was his dog, a 10-year-old toy Maltese named Nieves.
Nieves loved getting pets from Alex and looking good. That’s why she wore Miami Dolphins jerseys and took regular trips to the groomer. But a recent trip to the pet salon took a dramatic turn Alex didn’t see coming.
Alex’s dad dropped her off at PetSmart for a grooming appointment, where techs fluffed her fur and trimmed her nails. Then, when the appointment finished, he returned home with her. Only, something seemed off…
Nieves seemed to be acting a little different than usual, but they waved it off once she followed them around and jumped in their car like normal. But once they got home, they noticed more strange things.
Alex noted that Nieves had “slight tear stains.” But the thing was, Nieves hadn’t had those before the appointment. She also seemed to have grown a bit and her hair was rougher than usual. There could only be one explanation.
There had been two white toy Maltese at PetSmart that day, and Alex’s dad brought home the wrong one! Though cute, this fluffy dog was probably a New York Jets fan—or worse.
Alex laughed off the error and shared the story on social media, where people had two questions. First? How did Alex know his dad brought home the wrong dog? They were, after all, practically identical!
Folks online also wanted to know how Alex’s dad brought home the wrong dog, but that baffled Alex, too. “We’ve had her for 10 years!” he said, amused. Ol’ dad had an answer, though…
Times of San Diego
“My brother and I…asked why he would take the dog home if he thought something was off,” Alex said. “He said, ‘I thought I was getting old and my eyes were betraying me.'”
Naturally, the Maldonados couldn’t keep not-Nieves, so Alex and his brother, below, encouraged their dad to right his wrong. He agreed, saying “Yeah, I have to fix this before mom gets home.”
The family bid farewell to not-Nieves, and Alex’s dad took no chances when he exchanged her for Nieves. Before taking another dog home, he texted Alex’s brother to make sure he had the right one!
Pineappl3pizza / Twitter
The simple mix-up endeared Alex’s dad to the internet, and thankfully, the true owner of not-Nieves didn’t have a panic attack at the PetSmart. But the situation could’ve been much worse…
“One time, my dad brought the wrong child home from kindergarten,” one Twitter user wrote. “The little girl was dressed exactly the same as my sister…He was running late and grabbed the first child he saw!” But one user had a much more terrifying story.
Strangely, this mix-up wasn’t the first time a freshly groomed animal caused confusion. In Norfolk, Virginia, for instance, locals spotted a lion on the loose by the zoo…
Onlookers believed the well-groomed animal had escaped the Virginia Zoo. Concerned and a bit frightened, one of them called 9-1-1—but there was just one small problem.
It wasn’t a lion on the loose, but a Labradoodle named Charles, freshly groomed to look like the mascot at Old Dominion University—a lion. The dog skyrocketed to national fame.
The Virginia Pilot
Charles made an appearance on Good Morning America alongside his owner, Daniel Painter. But Charles’s story didn’t end with metaphorical bows on national television…
The Virginia Pilot
Charles eventually demonstrated a knack for escaping Curtis’s yard. Locals again called authorities when, just a few months later, they spotted a lion (still Charles) running free outside a Hardees.
The Virginia Pilot
In fact, Charles started being a public nuisance so often that Curtis landed in front of a judge and was sentenced to community service and required to pay a huge fine. Charles ended up temporarily behind bars.
The Virginia Pilot
But you can’t keep a good dog down. Just as Nieves and not-Nieves returned to their proper homes, Charles did, too. But if you think taking home the wrong pet is bad, imagine taking home the wrong child.
In March of 1978, Vera Lashtur and her husband, Nikolay, welcomed a new baby into the world: a daughter whom they named Tatyana. It should have been the happiest time of their lives, but for Vera, something just felt off.
All babies have their growing pains, but Tatyana seemed absolutely miserable as an infant. She cried nonstop, and when Vera fed her daughter, the child would struggle and fight against her. Vera hoped this was something that would pass…
But it didn’t pass. As Tatyana grew up, she continued being difficult, moody, and hard to control. However, what Vera didn’t know was that Tatyana actually had a pretty disturbing reason for behaving this way in the first place…
Vera’s family and neighbors had always whispered about the little girl, and now Tatyana was getting old enough that she could start to piece together some of the rumors. What her family believed was something Vera refused to accept.
The rumor was that Tatyana wasn’t actually Vera’s daughter. Instead, whispers swirled that Tatyana and another baby had been switched at birth. It was so far-fetched that Vera and Nikolay initially refused to believe such a major blunder could have been made.
In 1999, Vera and her family were preparing to leave their native Moldova to start new lives in the United States. That’s when a neighbor with very important information finally decided that she had to speak up and say something…
The neighbor told a story about another infant born the same time as Tatyana who always cried as an infant and who suffered from the same problems when it came to eating. The uncanny similarity was enough to make Vera and Nikolay’s ears perk up…
“She knew us,” Nikolay said of the neighbor in a November 2017 interview with Inside Edition. “She knew the other family, and she knew that both kids were having problems after the hospital.”
Vera and Nikolay weren’t able to find the other family prior to their move from Moldova to the United States. However, whenever they visited their home country, they made it a point to search everywhere for potential answers.
In August 2017, there was a major breakthrough. Using social media, Tatyana—now in her thirties—and her sister, Victoria, learned that the name of the other child from their neighbors’ story was Valentina Suman. Tatyana even found Valentina online!
Tatyana and Valentina connected and they confirmed what they already suspected: they were born on the same day in the same hospital. They also exchanged photographs, and Tatyana couldn’t believe what she was seeing: Valentina looked just like her parents.
Vera’s son Anatoliy still vividly remembered the moment the discovery was made. “My mom asked me to come over. She opened a laptop with two baby photos and pointed at one, asking me to tell her who it was.” He added, “I told her it was Victoria, my younger sister. It looked just like her.”
“We knew in our hearts that [Valentina] was our sister based on the pictures. She looked exactly like my younger sister,” added Anatoliy. But there was only one way for the family to confirm what they all believed to be true…
In October of 2017, both families were invited to appear on a Russian TV show to share their story. While there, they would also undergo a DNA test to confirm what they all already suspected to be the truth.
The results surprised no one. “It was the first time we had the opportunity to see our birth sister Valentina and hug each other, cry together,” Anatoliy said. “Also, that day was the first time my sister Tatyana had the opportunity to hug and cry with her birth family.”
So, what happened the day the girls were born? On March 27, 1978, their mothers were sharing a hospital room. The two little girls were taken away to be bathed, and when they were returned, they were accidentally swapped—and no one noticed.
Since reuniting with her birth parents, Vera and Nikolay, Valentina has become an integral part of the family. Her 16-year-old daughter would see her grandparents often, and Valentina even became a surrogate mother to one of her new nephews.
Amazingly, neither of the families had any plans to sue the hospital for this colossal blunder. In fact, they were simply overjoyed that everything was corrected and that the girls had not one, but two families!
In fact, Anatoliy and his newly discovered sister had grown so close that he currently put plans in motion to help move her from Moldova to the United States so that she could be closer to her biological family.
Anatoliy’s relationship with Tatyana hadn’t changed at all, either. She was still his sister as far as he was concerned. “I talked to her, and I told her [that] nothing changes between us. The only difference is [that] I gain a sister. We are brother and sister.”