A rescued puppy with a cleft lip had been at an animal shelter in Jackson, Mich., for almost a week, and staff worried that she wouldn't be adopted.

Then a man who has a 2-year-old with a cleft lip walked into the shelter.

Brandon Boyers visited Jackson County Animal Shelter, hoping to adopt rescued chickens to expand his family's small farm.

But his thoughts quickly shifted from poultry to puppies when he spotted a small black-and-white dog whose cleft lip reminded him of his son, Bentley.

"It was pretty shocking actually," said Boyers, 27. "I had never seen a dog with a cleft lip before."

He called his wife on FaceTime to show her the puppy.

"I said to bring her home today," said Ashley Boyers, 23.

"I explained that they could take the puppy home two days later, after she had her final vet appointment," said Lydia Sattler, the director of the animal shelter, who was delighted that a family was interested in adopting the dog.

But Bentley's parents couldn't wait to introduce their son to his new friend with a familiar face. The next day, Ashley Boyers brought Bentley to the shelter for a visit.

"They were head over heels for each other right away," she said. As Bentley cradled the puppy in his arms, "everyone started crying."

"We were all in tears seeing the two of them together," said Sattler, who explained that this is the first time the shelter has had a puppy with a cleft lip. "The fact that this is something we never see, the puppy came from 1,000 miles away and that Bentley's dad just happened to be here at that moment, it was just amazing.

"The puppy immediately started soaking up all his love," she continued. "It was genuine joy."

Bentley, who decided to name the dog Lacey, was born with a cleft lip and has had two surgeries. He has several more procedures to come, including a bone-grafting operation, his mother said.

"He had his first surgery when he was 5 months old," Ashley Boyers said. "He is the strongest little boy I know."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly one in 2,800 babies is born with a cleft lip in the United States.

While the numbers aren't as clear for canines, purebreds have a higher incidence rate of the condition than mixed-breed dogs. Although Lacey's breed is unknown, the shelter suspects she is a combination of many breeds. Lacey and 24 other rescued dogs were transported from an area in Mississippi with an overpopulation of animals to the Jackson County shelter.

Although the cleft lip is a striking coincidence, Bentley's parents believe Lacey was meant to be their son's dog, they said.

"He knows that the dog has the same condition as he does. He understands," said Ashley Boyers. "It is remarkable to see him share something in common with the puppy."

Along with his parents, Bentley is overjoyed with his little buddy. "I cuddle Lacey and give her kisses," he said.

Lacey is adjusting well to her new home and older canine sister, Remi, a 9-month-old English mastiff.

"Bentley spends all day playing with her," Ashley Boyers said. "They play outside with balls and find sticks and rocks. And all three of them take a daily nap on the dog bed together."

But beyond being his playmate, Lacey and her cleft lip will be an important companion for Bentley, his parents said.

"He won't feel like he's alone on this journey," Brandon Boyers said.