If you love dogs, chances are you love a good dog adoption story! These ten stories are ones that I experienced first hand while working at animal rescues and shelters over the last eight years.
They may make you laugh, cry, smile or a little of each, but they are guaranteed to warm your heart!
Diamond/Allie: Diamond was my very first foster dog and one of my first experiences with a Pit Bull. I was 19 at the time and living in Ohio with my Grandparents. One night when they were out of town, I saw a picture of a beautiful five year old blue and white Pittie on Facebook. She was in the Brooklyn Animal Shelter in New York and she was scheduled to be euthanized in just a few days. I don’t know what it was about Diamond, but I knew I had to save her and I began calling every Pit Bull rescue I could find. I needed someone to pull her from the city shelter and I needed transporters to get her across the country so I could foster her in Ohio.
After what seemed like hundreds of “Nos” I got my “Yes” from Emily Gear of Louie’s Legacy. Her rescue was luckily based in both NYC and Cincinnati, Ohio, and she agreed to help me save my bully girl. It took a while to get Diamond to me, but once she did, I immediately fell in love with her. She was huge, at almost 80 lbs— if she had wanted to pull me or knock me down she could have, but she was extremely gentle and never tried. We had Diamond for over six months before we found her her perfect forever home at a Petsmart adoption event.
Her new dad came in with his then-girlfriend to look at another dog Louie’s Legacy had up for adoption, but luckily for him and for Diamond, she stole his heart. It was love at first sight and it seemed they were meant to be together. He took Diamond, now renamed Allie home and they have been best friends ever since.
Austin: A young black lab with a heart full of love and a body full of energy, Austin was at KC Pet Project for a quite a while. The stress of the shelter was getting to him, and he needed to get out of there. Luckily, thanks to the shelters amazing foster program, Austin went home with one of their top fosters who immediately began working with him. He was a high strung boy who needed an outlet for his energy. His foster mom, Linda, decided to see how he would like dock diving, and he loved it. Linda and Austin began training and quickly made it to their first dock diving competition where they did wonderfully.
Austin and Linda’s bond began to strengthen more and more each day until one day Linda realized she couldn’t image her life without him. She officially adopted him at a trial in Ponca, Nebraska, and they have been winning ribbons and trophies together ever since—including placing 5th in the Speed Retrieve competition at Worlds!
Unfortunately, a few months ago Linda was injured in a vehicular accident. She suffered some major injuries including spinal fractures among other broken bones. What kept her going during this hard time was visits from Austin while she was in the hospital. For several months, Linda’s son brought Austin to visit her everyday. Austin would simply lay next to her in bed and help her to feel better and stay positive.
Austin and his mom are a great example of the wonders the foster program can do for both people and dogs. For more information on volunteering check out this article (insert volunteer article)
Brandy: This lovable Pit Bull lady was on death row at a local high-kill animal shelter when a rescue stepped up to take her. Unleashed Pet Rescue brought Brandy into their program and everyone quickly fell in love with her. Brandy loved every person she met and was quick to hand out hugs and kisses.
During her stay at Unleashed, Brandy was an ambassador for her breed and for the shelter visiting local schools to show kids what great dogs Pit Bulls can be. It took over 900 days for Brandy to find her forever home, but now that she has she is happier than ever!
Her new family has several kids for her to love and she is constantly getting belly rubs and treats! While Brandy had to wait a long time for her forever home, she is living the dream today!
Ellie May: One of my personal favorites, Ellie May came to Unleashed Pet Rescue while I was working there as a full time kennel staff member. The shelter who transferred her to us told us that she was aggressive toward other dogs and people, but after a few weeks of working with her, we knew both of these things to be completely untrue.
Ellie started going out in play groups with other dogs and it was amazing to see her interacting with other dogs after being deprived for so long. During Ellie’s stay we worked with her on her leash walking skills and even trained her to play dead.
Although she was super cute and smart, it still took her quite a while to get adopted. But, like Brandy, her home was worth waiting for. She now has both human and doggie siblings, and a mommy who adores her!
Crash: I couldn’t possibly write rescue stories without including my own doggies. Crash came into the vet clinic where I was working eight years ago having been hit by a truck.. His leg was broken out of the skin and his body was covered in road rash.
Even with these gruesome injuries, he was the sweetest dog I had ever met and I quickly fell in love with him.
The vet estimated Crash was about 9 months old and he was a Pit Bull mix. The people who found him didn’t want him, so it fell on us to decide what his fate would be. As the vet talked to us about what to do,Crash was licking my face and wagging his tail. I knew then and there that I needed him in my life. I promptly told my vet that, of course, we had to save him.
Crash needed extensive bandage changes and stents to keep his leg healing properly and he spent the next six months as our clinic dog, coming home with me after hours and returning to his clinic duties the next day. During his clinic days, he was an amazing ambassador for his breed, greeting people who came in and comforting people who had lost their pets.
From day one, I knew Crash would spend the rest of his life with me, but I can’t remember when I officially announced it to my family. These days he is my constant companion, and though he can be a bit of a handful at times he is still my best friend.
Kenny: Another of my dogs, Kenny is a four lb. Chihuahua with the attitude of a hungry crocodile. Kenny was picked up as a stray four years ago by Springfield Animal Control.e spent some hold time there, but when no one came in to reclaim him, he was added to the euthanasia list. Luckily for my little man, a great organization called Half-Way Home pulled him into their program.
Kenny spent three years at Half-Way Home. He was a fear aggressive Chihuahua and when strangers would try to make friends with him, he would try to remove their fingers.
The day I met Kenny was a cold December day. I had driven with a friend to pick up a transport of dogs and when I got there I saw Kenny running around the property. I immediately told the lady in charge of the rescue that I wanted him. She laughed and told me that he was a jerk and we continued on with what we were doing.
As she handed us the paperwork and we were getting ready to leave, I told her again how much I truly wanted Kenny. She called him over and picked him up to hand him to me. She warned me that he would probably try to bite and then she passed him over. As I took him in my hands I heard him start to growl, but I quickly placed him inside my winter coat and the immediate warmth made him look at me with weary eyes and quickly fall asleep.
Kenny and I have been inseparable ever since and he has completely changed my life. I have since adopted two other Chihuahuas in need and I can not imagine my life without their spunky attitudes and warm cuddly bodies.
Unfortunately, Chihuahuas are the second most euthanized breed of dog in the U.S. so if you are considering getting a Chi please consider adoption first. To find out more about Adopting vs. Breeders, see this article (insert Adopting vs Breeder)
Zeus: This handsome all white Boxer arrived at Unleashed Pet Rescue after a 10 day stay at a high kill animal shelter.
Zeus went to stay with his new foster parents and their two Boxers. They quickly discovered that he was deaf and had a myriad of behavioral problems. Instead of giving up on their sweet boy, his foster parents stuck with him through the good times and the bad. After almost two years of fostering, they decided to make him an official member of their pack!!
These days Zeus is a spoiled boy, spending most of his time snuggling with his parents, or his sister, Paris who also happens to be deaf.
If you have a deaf dog like Zeus and want to learn more about how to care for him check out this article https://blog.pawedin.com/dogs/how-to-care-for-a-blind-dog/.
Wiley: Like his name implies, this little Chihuahua mix was a handful. So much of a handful, in fact, that he went through several foster homes before he wound up with me. I had heard of Wiley’s aggressive antics beforehand I knew he was very aggressive towards people and other animals and had bitten several times. My history with Kenny made me believe I could work with Wiley, so I contacted the rescue he was with and asked to foster him.
I got him a few days later and we hit it off pretty quickly, but not as quickly as he hit it off with Kenny. The two became instant best friends and would play for hours. This exercise seemed to help Wiley burn off some of his aggression and he was quickly snuggling in bed with me.
It wasn’t long before news of Wiley’s adorableness reached a fellow Chihuahua-lover’s ears and she, her boyfriend and their dog Pico, came in to meet him. It was love at first sight and they took him home that day.
Wiley, now named Leo, is happy as can be with his family. He and his brother, Pico, are spoiled rotten and very much loved by their parents.
Halo: This sweet Pit Bull puppy was available for adoption through an amazing organization called Midwest Animal Resq. Her family fell in love with her and added her to their pack.
Not long after her adoption,Halo tore her ACL. Thankfully, Halo’s Mom works at a veterinarian’s and was able to get her the reparative surgery and chiropractic care she needed to recover.
Halo now spends her days hanging out at the animal clinic with her mom and her adoring fans. She has a human sister and lots of other fur siblings she can play with. Sometimes she even gets to join her mom and sister when they go on hiking trails and horseback riding.
To find out more about pain management check out this article. (Insert Tylenol Poisoning article)
Cracker: Another Chihuahua, this little guy was part of a breeder release. When breeders release dogs it can be for a variety of reasons, but it’s always better that they release them to rescues than simply have them put down.
When Cracker came to live with me as a foster, he was what behaviorists would call feral, or unsocialized. It’s likely he wasn’t handled much growing up and he found people to be terrifying. In the beginning, he would pee whenever I picked him up, and hide whenever I looked at him. After a few weeks with my pack, he began to realize I wasn’t so bad, and that’s when the fun really began.
In my opinion, feral dogs are some of the absolute sweetest once they acclimate to life with people. Since they were raised solely by other dogs, they retain all of their natural instincts and innocence that a lot of puppies forget when they are raised by humans. Cracker was no exception to this rule and he played like the cutest puppy you have ever met! He would wrestle with Kenny for hours and play bow and nibble my fingers when I was laying in bed. He also started sleeping right next to me every night.
I almost kept Cracker, but before I could make the decision, the perfect family applied for him through Reno Ranch. His new mom had another Chihuahua and two beautiful daughters. I took him over for a meet and greet with them and they all fell in love.
Each of these stories is filled with love and hope. While all the dogs are very different, each is now living the good life, thanks to a dedicated foster and an amazing rescue. If you are looking for your own rescue dog and are in the Ohio, Kentucky, or New York area consider checking out Louie’s Legacy! If you are in the Kansas City area you should check out Reno Ranch, KC Pet Project, Unleashed Pet Rescue, or Midwest Animal ResQ! All are amazing rescues with great dogs just waiting for their new forever families! To learn more about adopting check out these great articles (insert adopt vs breed and what to know before shelter).