March 4, 2014 at 5:07 PM ET
Why did the chicken cross the road? Perhaps to get to her best friend, a disabled Chihuahua.
Penny, a rescue silkie chicken (a breed known for its soft feathers), and Roo, a disabled dog, became best friends and Internet stars after being adopted by Alicia Williams, a receptionist at Duluth Animal Hospital.
The wheels for this unusual friendship were set in motion when Williams found Penny while visiting a nearby animal testing facility.
“They were finished with whatever they were doing with her and were going to dispose of her,” Williams told TODAY.com. Penny, who was 9 weeks old at the time, went home with Williams instead.
While Williams had no idea what to do with a chicken, she sought out help from the veterinarians at the animal hospital where she worked. They told Williams that Penny was a flock animal who would find comfort in groups and social situations, so Williams thought to bring her into the hospital for a little extra interaction.
“She took to it immediately,” Williams says. “The reception area is her domain. She even lays eggs behind the desk.”
Soon after, Roo, a Chihuahua missing his front legs, was brought into the hospital after being found in a ditch.
“We fell instantly in love with him,” says Williams, who adopted Roo shortly thereafter.
Fortunately, Penny fell in love with him, too. When they first met, Roo immediately started chewing on Penny's fur, rolling around and playing with her.
“Eventually Roo fell asleep,” Williams remembers, “and Penny went on top of him like he was an egg.”
Photos of the pair have since gone viral, earning the duo fans worldwide. Penny and Roo spend most of their days roaming around the animal hospital, where fans stop in daily.
“People schedule appointments around them,” Williams said. “They get lots of attention and petting.”
More than the popularity, Williams believes Penny and Roo have gotten the most out of their friendship with one another.
“Roo really benefited from being able to bond with something. He was able to attach himself to her,” Williams says. “And Penny, she loves the companionship.