Narwhal — who has acquired nicknames like Little Magical Furry Unicorn — was found in the rural country side outside of Kansas City, according to the non-profit focused on special needs dogs that rescued him, Mac’s Mission. The organization’s founder, Rochelle Steffen, explains to Yahoo Lifestyle that she had heard of two dogs, a puppy with special needs and an older dog, that needed some taking care of. After hearing that one had a tail on his forehead, Steffen says she knew he would be a fit.
“Pretty much everybody knows that I take the weird and the unusual,” she explains to Yahoo Lifestyle. “When I first met him I couldn’t help but start smiling. He came bounding out towards me and started immediately chewing on my shoestring and wanted to play.”
Steffen went onto say that his behavior was unusual for her, as most of the dogs she rescues are coming out of traumatic circumstances.
“It was really great to have a puppy that was wanting to play and be rough and do the normal puppy things,” she says.
But that normalcy quickly went away after Steffen posted a photo of Narwhal to Facebook, which catapulted the pup into viral fame.
“I just put an adorable, silly little puppy on Facebook thinking, ‘No big deal,’” Steffen says, adding that she posts photos of rescue dogs all of the time. “But I think that overwhelmingly, it’s just a good story.”
Narwhal’s foster mom explains that she did have questions about the puppy’s extra tail, namely if it wagged or not. And although the vet was just as surprised as Steffen to see what was coming out of the dog’s forehead, it wasn’t a medical concern.
Still, the uncertainty surrounding his tail is one of the reasons Steffen plans to hold onto Narwhal for a bit longer — despite the 150 adoption applications Mac’s Mission received for the unicorn puppy on Wednesday alone.
“We’re just gonna let him be a puppy for a couple of months,” Steffen says.
And that comes with extra precautions when you have a famous dog.
“We’ve got him under a kind of puppy witness protection program that if he’s not in my hands, he’s going to be very closely monitored by somebody I trust extremely well. We got him microchipped because we’re fearful that somebody could try to come and take him,” Steffen explains. “I’m feeling super mama bear about him and would probably have to come undone if somebody thought they were gonna hurt him.”
As for when Steffen and the others at Mac’s Mission have to find Narwhal a new home, the process will definitely be difficult. She even mentioned that some people online have given her a reason to be concerned about families that express interest.
“We’ve had a handful of people that have been pretty ugly about it and said that they wanted to adopt it so that they could cut it off because he shouldn’t have it,” Steffen says. “And our fear is that we trust somebody that’s going through the process and everything’s great, but then all of a sudden they turn around and they do just that. We’re trying to feel it all out, figure out how we want to approach it.”
For now, Steffen is happy to watch Narwhal continue to grow and play, while Mac’s Mission gains worldwide attention and donations, benefitting all of its special needs animals.
“This is the first time anything has even been close to this,” she says of the viral attention, “and we will take it and run with it and keep telling [Narwhal’s] story a million times if we have to just to help all of the other dogs.”
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle: