Plenty of pups became their best selves in 2015.
This year, shelter dogs far and wide blossomed after overcoming tremendous odds. These amazing pups bucked illnesses, shook anxieties and – most importantly – finally got the chance to be the smiling, affectionate goobers they truly are.
Whatever their journeys, these dogs remind us that anything is possible with hard work and love.
Here are 15 of this year’s most heartwarming dog transformations. Get ready for the feels, because they’re a-comin’.
1. Kale Chips
At the beginning of 2015, 85-pound shelter Beagle Kale Chips pledged to spend the year getting healthy. By November 2015, he’d lost over 40 pounds with the help of One Tail At A Time. Go, Kale Chips, go!
When Augustus was rescued by Hearts of Alabama Save Rescue Adopt, he was suffering from severe mange, worms and an ear infection. His rescuers couldn’t even tell what breed he was.
After months of rehabilitation, the lovable Border Collie mix has regained his shiny coat. He truly looks like a different pup!
Kelsey was found roaming the streets, hungry, bloody and covered in painful sores. Luckily, a compassionate rescuer rushed her to a clinic, where vets slowly nursed her back to health. Throughout the ordeal, Kelsey remained calm and affectionate – a testament to her sweet personality.
Today, she has a caring family – and even a few dog friends.
When Charlie’s owner could no longer care for him, the poor pup was surrendered to a shelter. But his rescue network noticed something: Charlie had a knack for sniffing and searching.
So Charlie entered police dog training – and passed with flying colors. Now, Charlie is able to sniff out drugs, money and weapons, and helps the Bedfordshire Police Force solve laundering cases.
“We are so proud of Charlie,” said his handler, Jason Keir. “He’s a great ambassador for rescue dogs and has shown how amazing they can be.”
Cody the Shiba Inu was adopted at 104 pounds in mid-2014. His pawrent Kim Lindy remembers that when she first got Cody, he “was so overweight that he couldn’t bend his legs, and they stuck straight out as he slept.”
So Kim and Cody embarked on an inspiring regimen full of swimming, walks and positive reinforcement. In October, he finally reached his weight loss goal of 36 pounds. Great job, Cody!
6. Eddie the Terrible
For a long time, Eddie the Chihuahua’s behavioral problems rendered him un-adoptable. Then, the staff at Humane Society Silicon Valley embraced his devilish side with a cheeky blog post about Eddie’s ‘tude. Sure enough, Eddie the Terrible went viral.
Eddie has since been adopted, but that’s not all – his behavioral problems have all but disappeared. He even serves as a support dog for his new dad.
7. Krusty Kristy
“Krusty Kristy” was suffering from mange and scheduled to be euthanized when she was rescued by Vet Ranch earlier this year.
Now, after a long healing process and a lot of tender care, she’s just regular Kristy. Or maybe… Kuddly Kristy? Just an idea.
Wildlife rescuer Dusty Showers found Shelly living in a burned-out home in Tampa, Florida. The bedraggled Lab mix seemed anxious at first – she was growling at Showers from inside her trap.
When Showers let Shelly out, the pup became more affectionate; however, she still couldn’t shake her nerves.
But that’s nothing a few cheeseburgers couldn’t fix. Mmm.
When Rescue from the Heart rescued Angel, she had been purposely starved. In fact, her health was so poor that her internal organs were shutting down.
But Angel’s new friends didn’t give up on her. Through painstaking care and rehabilitation, the precious pup completed her long journey to health. Her caretakers even documented her transformation!
Murdock spent the first five years of his life as a bait dog in a fighting ring, where he was beaten up by stronger dogs as a way to build their fighting strength. Even now, Murdock is covered in scars – but he’s got a new lease on life.
When his former owner was arrested, Murdock moved to Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter, where he was beloved by shelter workers – especially his “buddy” John W, who helped the pup transfer to Last Hope Animal Rescue.
At long last, Murdock was adopted by a family in Arizona. His hooman friends from Last Hope met the new fam in Oklahoma to sign paperwork and send Murdock off to his new home. The goober even got to sleep in a real hotel bed!
Clarabelle was a terrified stray when she sought refuge in a tiny crawl space. She was so scared, she covered her eyes with her trembling paws.
Luckily, Hope for Paws rescuers coaxed the Golden Retriever from her hideaway, cleaned her up and showed her a whole lotta love. That’s enough to put a smile on any pup’s face.
12. Abbey (and Zeke)
Best friends are important – they often help us transform for the better. And sometimes, best friends even end up getting married!
Timid Pit Bull Abbey struggled to make friends at Speranza Animal Rescue, and potential adopters often overlooked her. Then Zeke, another rescue Pit Bull with an abuse-ridden past, arrived. The two became best pals almost immediately.
Best of all, the two helped each other overcome their sensitivities. Abbey has become more accepting of other dogs, and Zeke has learned to trust humans again.
In late 2014, the duo was adopted by the Morretti family, and are living happily ever after. And in 2015, they tied the knot in a gorgeous ceremony at Speranza. Congrats, Abbey and Zeke!
Joker arrived at the Humane Society of Greater Kansas City with mysterious – and severe – chemical burns trailing down his back.
During his recovery, shelter workers noticed how sharp Joker was – he exhibited a different kind of drive than most other dogs, and wasn’t easily distracted during playtime.
Now, Joker is ready to make a difference. In November, he shipped off to service dog school, where he’ll train as an alert dog for patients with diabetes.
Explorers Cedar Wright and Alex Honnold were hiking through the desert when they discovered a tiny pup hiding in a lone tire. So, naturally, they decided to adopt him as their hiking mascot.
Wright and Honnold’s expedition, which involved biking 800 miles and scaling over 40 water towers, was called “Sufferfest” – so they named their adorable mascot “Sufferpup.”
More like Flufferpup.
15. …and this miraculous street dog.
India has struggled to control its high street dog population. And although spaying and neutering programs for strays are useful, the dogs are often thrust right back out into the streets.
The pup below was discovered on the side of the road. He was disease-ridden and seemed beyond hope – until Animal Aid Unlimited took him in. After two months of rehabilitation, he’s looking better already.
What a difference love can make.
Featured image via Humane Society of Greater Kansas City