2-year-old boy born with cleft lip adopts ‘new best friend’ with the same condition

People gravitate towards individuals similar to them, and it’s no different for this toddler from Michigan named Bentley Boyers. The boy was born with a cleft lip, a birth defect that happens when a baby’s lip or mouth doesn’t form properly in the womb.

Blessed with loving parents, Bentley is a perfectly happy kid. But his world was made even brighter with the arrival of a new family member that perfectly matched him – a puppy born with a cleft lip!

On September 3, Brandon Boyers, his dad, visited the Jackson County Animal Shelter in Jackson County, Michigan, planning to adopt some chickens. However, instead of finding what he was looking for initially, he spotted something far more interesting.

Bentley Boyers holding Lacey the puppy with a cleft lip
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He noticed that one of the puppies in the shelter had a cleft lip, and he immediately thought of his son.

Feeling excited, Brandon took out his phone and FaceTimed his wife, Ashley. He told her he’d found a puppy with the same condition as Bentley’s, and upon hearing those words, Ashley’s quick reply was, “Get her! We need her!”

Ashley told WILX about the difficulties caused by Bentley’s cleft lip. He struggled with eating as a newborn and stayed in the NICU for a while.

“We had to sit him up and feed him and hold his lip together in order for him to eat, so it was a process,” she recalled.

Bentley Boyers kissing Lacey the puppy
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Ashley said she learned that Bentley would be born with a cleft lip during her 20-week ultrasound. So far, the two-year-old has undergone two surgeries, including one meant to close his lip fully. Since the operation, she said the boy has been “completely fine.” In fact, he’s growing stronger each day.

The Boyers brought the puppy home the next day and named her Lacey. Bentley and the pup have been an inseparable duo ever since.

“They’re the best of friends,” Ashley told Good Morning America. “If Bentley is playing on the playground she’s next to the slide waiting for him to come down. They do everything together.”

Bentley Boyers smiling while holding Lacey the puppy
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Ashley believes that having Lacey as his animal companion will make Bentley feel like he’s not alone. She also hopes that it will help her son feel like he’s no different from his peers.

“To see him have something in common with a puppy means a lot ’cause he can grow up and understand that he and his puppy both have something that they can share in common,” she said.

Lydia Sattler, animal services director of Jackson County Animal Shelter, said that the pair’s first meeting was a very emotional moment.

“When Bentley came in to meet the puppy, we had tears in our eyes,” she recalled. “He was loving her and she was just eating it up. They were a perfect match for many reasons.”

Bentley Boyers sitting on a couch with Lacey and Remi the English Mastiff sitting on the floor
Courtesy of Ashley Boyers

According to Lydia, Lacey came from a shelter in Mississippi. They estimate her to be about 10 weeks old, and although it’s difficult to say for sure, they believe the dog may be a lab mix. They also expect her to thrive as any puppy would, although the Boyers would have to look out for any changes as she grows.

“Her disability is really not holding her back, and as she grows, they’ll be able to see more if there’s any change that has to do with that. But she’s really doing well,” Lydia said. “She might look a little different than a normal dog would, but it’s not slowing her down at all.”

Aside from her new best friend Bentley and his wonderful parents, Lacey will be enjoying his new home life in the company of Remi, a 9-month-old English Mastiff, and Bentley’s new sibling who’s due to arrive this December.

This duo will share many fun adventures for sure! Share this delightful story of friendship with your friends and family.