This adorable ‘unicorn’ puppy has become a star on Instagram and TikTok

Mar 14, 2020, 7:52 PM | Updated: Jan 25, 2023, 11:59 am

(CNN) — A “unicorn” puppy has gone from 36 followers to nearly 56,000 on Instagram in only a few short days, and a video of her has been viewed nearly 4 million times on TikTok.

Rae — or ear spelled backwards — is a golden retriever with one distinct physical feature: She has one ear that sticks out of the top of her head like a unicorn horn.

Shortly after her birth, she was critically injured and had to be taken to the Family Friends Veterinary Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Brianna Vorhees, who is a receptionist at the hospital, was immediately drawn to her.

“I lost my precious golden retriever Loki to lymphoma last year at 4 years old, so I had a heart for golden retrievers to begin with,” Vorhees told CNN.

“Breeders surrender (puppies) to vet techs often if they can’t take care of them full-time. I said if a golden retriever ever comes in, I’m going to want to take care of it and raise it. When they found out she’d need 24-hour care, I have a heart for golden retrievers, and I just knew that she was meant for me, essentially.”

The breeder isn’t sure what happened but suspects that Rae’s mother was cleaning off the placenta or amniotic sack and was a little too aggressive. Rae’s entire ear was gone and all that was left was the canal with all of the skin peeled off.

The unicorn puppy had to have major surgery only hours after her birth. The hospital staff wasn’t sure if he would make it, but they hoped the surgery would give her a fighting chance.

“She was really in a fragile state, we didn’t know if she was even going to survive beyond 48 hours,” Vorhees told CNN.

Despite having to undergo emergency surgery and require around-the-clock care after birth, she would go on to make a full recovery with a lone stray ear that sticks out of the top.

“We’re assuming because of the sutures is why the ear migrated to the top of her head,” Vorhees said. “I think as her skin grew, and she started to grow, that it just kind of migrated up there.”

Vorhees’ colleagues began to call her unicorn, and her husband thought of the name Rae.

Samantha Smith, a veterinary technician at Family Friends Veterinary Hospital, posted a video of Rae on the social media platform TikTok, which made her a star on social media.

That video currently has 3.8 million views.

Rae turns 12 weeks old today, and Vorhees said that she has no issues with hearing or pain.

“She can hear and plays in day care here at work almost every day,” Vorhees said. “She has best friends and is the most confident puppy ever. She’s a normal puppy, just with one ear.”

The unicorn puppy gets a lot of weird stares, with people asking what type of breed she is, not realizing that she’s a golden retriever. But that doesn’t make Vorhees love her any less.

“She was a positive outlet for me,” Vorhees said. “I was going through a terrible time with a lot of transitions in my life personally, and Rae was a very positive distraction from a lot of things that were taking place in my life. She’s actually the one who saved me. I could focus on her to take care of her to love and get love back, and she was that for me, and kind of that’s why she means so much to me.”

Vorhees was pregnant with her now 2-year-old son when her dog Loki was diagnosed with lymphoma, and she’s happy that her son will be able to grow up with Rae.

™ & © 2020 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

Arts + Entertainment

January 28 at Uta's Hogle Zoo is its Cats and Cocoa event, where families can learn more about the ...
Waverly Golden

Utah’s Hogle Zoo “Cats and Cocoa” event

January 28 at Uta's Hogle Zoo is its Cats and Cocoa event, where families can learn more about the endangered cats of the zoo.
2 days ago
KSL Newsradio's Park City correspondent Joe Davis says Slamdance showcases important independent fi...
Mark Jackson

The Slamdance Film Festival; a fun, quirky alternative to Sundance

The Slamdance Film Festival offers an alternative to the Sundance Film Festival. The event screens movies through Jan 26.
4 days ago
Senator Mike Lee is among those working on an amendment to protect religious liberties in The Respe...
Aimee Cobabe

Sen. Lee quotes Taylor Swift lyrics during Ticket Master/Live Nation hearing

Who knew Sen. Mike Lee is a swiftie? The senator quoted Taylor Swift lyrics multiple times at a senate committee hearing Tuesday.
5 days ago
After causing outrage by making over the Green M&M and launching a special bag featuring its new Pu...
Danielle Wiener-Bronner, CNN

M&M benches spokescandies for Maya Rudolph

After causing outrage by making over the Green M&M, M&M'S says it is taking a step back from its candy reps.
5 days ago

A hydrogen bomb is tested in Nevada. "Downwinders" says the bombs released radioactive ...
Mark Jackson

McAdams at Slamdance Film Festival, speaks on “Downwind” film

As a Utah congressman, McAdams introduced an amendment to a funding bill to prevent the resumption of nuclear weapons testing.
5 days ago
2021 Sundance Film Festival...
Heather Kelly

The Sundance Film Festival isn’t just about movies

The Sundance Film Festival has many more events than films and the chance to see celebrities 'up close and personal' and most of them are free.  
6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
This adorable ‘unicorn’ puppy has become a star on Instagram and TikTok