We asked our readers to share before and after pictures of their rescues so we could feature the long way these pups have come and the humans who gave them their furever homes. These stories will make you feel some serious feelings so proceed forward with a trusty hanky or kleenex box.
1. Nook Nook
“My baby Dogo Argentine, Nook Nook. He is 100% deaf so was unworthy to use for breeding or fighting in California. He was in the pound and had two days to live. My favorite rescue in Colorado, Peanuts Pit Bull Rescue, saved him. He lived there for about 6 months when I came out to volunteer. I fell in love instantly and even more so, loved his deafness. He now knows a full set of sign commands and is our big lap dog. Who says money can’t buy love, when all you have to do is pay an adoption fee for something so wonderful?” — Ariel Nichole Dehart
“This is my baby Phoenix! I chose that name for a reason…he was owner surrendered to a shelter when he was only 11 weeks old in Tennessee and had 3 days to find a home or he would be euthanized. I couldn’t get his sweet little face out of my head and I knew I had to save him! With the help of (we believe) his brothers’ mom Lisa Ciotti, we adopted him and he made his way up to PA. He had a bad case of demodex mange with a bacterial infection on top of that, but it wasn’t anything that some love and medicine couldn’t fix! He’ll be a year old at the end of March and is healthy and demodex free! He’s spoiled rotten and loves us unconditionally. We can’t wait to rescue a sibling for him this summer!” — Danielle Baldwin
“This is Chad’s story: He and his mate, Clarisse, were abandoned at their house by their family. It wasn’t just the two of them, though. There were bigger dogs and, in the fight for survival and to protect Clarisse, Chad was badly bitten by one of the other dogs and it quickly became infected. Luckily, a neighbor was aware of their situation and called animal control. While that call is not always a good one for most dogs, it was Chad’s saving grace.
People from the Georgia Jack Russell Adoption tag-teamed to save them from the shelter. Chad’s infection was easily treated, but Clarisse’s heartworms were too severe. She did not survive the treatments and left us all heartbroken, including Chad. Exactly one year ago our family decided to take him home with us to foster him and help him overcome his fears. Through all his former experiences he had developed a phobia of men and a big fear of strangers. He is still shy around strange men but has come a long way. In this past year he taught us the most. First how to handle a very fearful dog in different situations, but also how loving, giving and thankful a rescue dog is. And last but not least, that sometimes you have to give up fostering and admit, this living being is a part of you now and you will never be able to give him away, no matter how awesome another family could be. Thank you Chad for this amazing year full of laughter and fun, kisses and cuddles and most of all endless love. Happy Rescueversary!” — Isis Maria
“This is Riley! We adopted her last summer. She was rescued from an animal control facility in Georgia, and had mange at only a few months old (see before photo). We came across her profile on her rescue group’s page, and knew she felt like a good fit. She was brought up to CT in August, and as soon as she came out of the truck to meet us, she started rolling around for belly rubs and gave kisses. She’s adjusted to her new home very well, and loves playing in the snow! As you can see from her “After” photo, she’s grown into a happy pup, and we couldn’t love her more!” — Jacki Loomis
“This is Waldo, formerly known as Diego. I had signed up to volunteer at a local Petsmart, but the event ended up being cancelled. I asked where the nearest animal shelter was so I could see about volunteering there instead. I didn’t go there looking for a dog, but Waldo found me. A volunteer asked, “Have you seen Diego?” And from that first sloppy kiss on my cheek, he was my new BFF.” — Jenn Mill
“Our sweet Otis (formerly known as Chubby) was found at a local rescue near our home. When his mommy was pregnant with him and his litter, the owner’s child was struck by a car. The family knew their child would need constant care, so the mommy was surrendered with the pups. My husband and I were never pet owners in our lives, but we really wanted a pup. We took the trip to see him, and he peed on my shirt and sat right by my husband’s feet as if he was actually picking us. We knew that it was a done deal for us. After losing both of our grandparents the previous year, Otis did his job in filling a void we thought would never be fully healed. He has quite the personality and we love him to pieces!” — Krystal Noel Finneran
“This is my boy Wesson. The top picture is the day after Stray Rescue of St. Louis found him bleeding and shaking from fear in an animal control cage. When a Stray Rescue staff member saw him at animal control she called the founder of Stray Rescue and immediately had him moved over to their facility for medical care. They discovered he had been shot in his back and had bullet fragments still inside him. They performed surgery on him to remove the fragments. Today he is good as new and happy in his forever home with me.” — Liz McKibben
“This is my 10+ year old Dachshund Kirby! I volunteer at a shelter and they brought this little guy in who had been dumped in the mountains. He has chronic dry eye and needs eye drops and medications several times a day so they said he was “unadoptable.” But I fell in love with him and I fought to adopt him. I won and he is now part of my weiner dog pack.” — Pramini Kanakaraj
“Remmy was found by the Arizona Humane Society as a stray with a broken leg in April 2014. Unfortunately for Remmy, his leg couldn’t be saved. My boyfriend and I adopted him in May 2014 after a friend of ours posted his photo on Facebook. Two days later, we adopted him and he’s been the perfect dog! We take him hiking, on road trips; his favorite trick is High Five, and he’s been a phenomenal brother to two dogs I’ve fostered through the Arizona Animal Welfare League. We can’t imagine life without him! #tripawd” — Brianna Bero-Buell
“Meet Whiskey, he’s a 5 year-old Terrier mix. When I meet Whiskey he was at a veterinary clinic as a “semi-permanent” resident. He had been there about 4 months after his previous owner had tried to euthanize him for having a low positive heartworm test and being “extremely aggressive.” The girls at the clinic (where I happened to work) labeled him as destructive (since he marked his kennel) and he would never make a house pet or family dog. I worked at the clinic for about 6 months and knew instantly that this quiet and shy dog was my soul mate. About 5 months into my job I was informed Whiskey would be put to sleep for being at the clinic for as long as he had. I couldn’t keep him where I was staying but my parents (who also love dogs) agreed to take him in while I found a dog-friendly place. It’s been over a year since we rescued Whiskey and I can honestly say he’s one of the best dogs I’ve ever owned! He is not the least bit destructive of my stuff (though his toys are a different story) and loves my 8 year-old brother and 1 year-old niece. And after being treated for heartworm he has a clean bill of health. He’s a big ham who loves treats, car rides, and attention and he’s my baby.” — Brittany Engeldinger
11. Clover Belle
“My Clover Belle in a Georgia kill shelter and one year later at her furever family’s picnic.” — Sarah Snyder
“Pacino was brought in to my animal hospital to be euthanized for being “too aggressive” after he was used as a bait dog in Camden. I decided to rescue him because when I met him that day he licked my face & I knew he was an angel. He had extensive surgery and I took him home looking like the left picture. About 1 year later on the right, he is my pride and joy and the sweetest couch potato I know. He loves dressing up and showing off his handsome face!! His story is proof that Pit Bulls are, in fact, born inherently good. We love BarkBox!!” — Brittany Elder
“Hope was spotted in our local wildlife preserve by a local resident. After 5 exhausting days of searching she was finally caught. She was extremely emaciated and had a broken hip. She is now healthy and finally healed from hip surgery. She is staying with me until her forever home is found. She is truly a miracle, we adore her to pieces.” — Cassie Hezel
Thank you readers for sharing your wonderful stories! While we were unable to feature all of the rescue stories on here, we’ll be doing more posts like these, so watch out for your pup’s story!
For those interested in adopting a shelter pooch, check out BarkBuddy! You might just find your pup-mate on there.