Even if you read my article about signs that you are ready to adopt a dog published earlier this summer, you may not yet have taken steps and brought a new friend home. Well, I’m here to give you another nudge in the right direction by offering up some of the most inspired and inspiring dog adoption stories from the past year. National and international, they support the points I made when I wrote about adopting from shelters and rescue organizations, but also make it easy to see just how dogs can really complete our lives. Spoiler alert: You might need some tissues standing by!
The Seven Year Itch Is Finally Scratched
Imagine serving in combat with a trusted friend who keeps you safe at all times while also doing their duty. This is exactly the situation in which Nick Montez existed during his military service in Afghanistan. During his active duty, he was paired with a bomb sniffing dog named Mally, and they worked together in 2011 and 2012 doing extremely dangerous missions and seeking out IEDs that could harm or kill American forces and locals.
It was a bond that involved a lot more than missions, since it was Nick’s job to look after Mally’s health, including giving her IVs to prevent dehydration, doing grooming and ensuring her feet and ears remained healthy in such difficult conditions. The two trained together daily, too.
Nick finished his service and received an honorable discharge two years later, but never stopped worrying about Mally. In fact, for years afterward he kept tabs on her, what she was doing and petitioned to adopt her the minute her service ended.
In fact, he was so committed to Mally that he had her paw print tattooed on his leg alongside her official ID number!
While his time in the armed forces was complete, the military still needed loyal Mally to do her work. Fortunately, Nick was persistent and only this year he received a letter from his state senator (Idaho senator Mike Crapo) letting Nick know that Mally’s service was complete, and even more importantly, that she was ready to come home and he was the new lucky dog parent! After seven long years apart, Nick was able to fly to Texas where he picked up Mally at an Air Force base where she had completed her service.
The organization known as Mission K9 Rescue helped with lots of donations, and the pair is now happily and safely back in Nick’s hometown of Lewiston, ID.
It took years of dedication for Nick to adopt his friend, and hopefully that inspires you to enjoy a much easier process through a shelter or rescue.
Adoption a la Instagram
Rather than focus on a single dog adoption, this story looks at a wonderful method for finding homes for shelter dogs via social media. Photographer and Instagram sensation Rachael Rodgers loves to take photos of nature. Her @trailsandbears Instagram account features many examples of her work. However, it is the glamour shots of adoptable dogs that you’ll want to checkout.
It all started in 2017 when Rodgers created her account and began to wonder just what she might do with it. It was when her audience of fans and followers spiked after posting a photo of one of her own dogs that inspiration struck. She snapped a beautiful snow scene in which her dog Denali sits in a canoe and gazes out at a snow covered landscaped, while also being dusted with snow herself.
Both of Rodgers dogs are rescues and though she loves sharing images, the popularity of that one shot (and all of the new followers) inspired her to bring attention to other dogs. She had seen Instagram postings of dogs available but decided to use her own unique perspective and skill to highlight other dogs that needed homes. One of the first was a two year old beauty named Nomad whom Rodgers felt was not depicted in an accurate or flattering way. She did a re-shoot of his photo and got him a home almost immediately.
Instead of taking images that were reminiscent of “mug shots”, Rodgers decided that the dogs should be photographed outdoors where their natural brightness, happiness and “soul” could really shine. She partnered with a local shelter and began taking images that captured each dog’s unique character to allow “Potential adopters [to] see if it’s a dog fit into their lifestyle.”
The success of her first campaign has allowed her to branch out to other groups and shelters, and since beginning this innovative approach in late 2017, she has snapped images of almost three dozen dogs – and all of them have been adopted!
Her work has a single goal – getting people motivated to adopt, insisting that shelters and rescues have one advantage over purebred purchases. “Families haven’t even met the dog they will call their own [when they buy a pure breed]. All this when there is a beautiful collection of amazing and happy pups patiently waiting at different shelters.” Going on to describe adoption as a “gift of love and happiness” for both the adopter and the adoptee, she says her work is similar to online dating, with photos working to line up a puppo with its ideal partner.
Though she doesn’t have any compatibility profiles available, her success proves she’s on to something. Perhaps someone in your area is doing the same and can inspire you to adopt your friend in the “new fashioned way” through social media and online images!
Okay, the next few stories are the Kleenex stories…be prepared.
Two for One
Judy Obregon from Ft. Worth, TX received word from local police that there was a German Shepherd, that appeared to be homeless, living in a local park. As the head of The Abandoned Ones, a rescue organization operating in the area, Obregon was the right person for the police to notify.
So, she headed to Echo Lake Park and soon realized that she was in for a difficult time. The dog was very elusive and clearly unwilling to interact with humans. Rather than putting up a trap, Obregon proved her dedication to animals by heading to the park at around 4:30 AM each day to watch and feed the dog. She was using the long game.
Explaining that she had to let the dog come to think of her (Obregon) as a stray herself, she slowly built up the animal’s trust. It took three weeks before the dog did not run away at the sight of her car. Soon, she waited for food. And then something amazing happened…
One morning as Obregon was arriving and bringing a nice morning meal to her less hesitant friend, the German Shepherd emerged with another dog, a gravely injured dog showing signs of older wounds. This dog was not at all hesitant and walked right up to her, tail wagging.
As Obregon explained, it was if the German Shepherd was actively watching her and weighing whether or not she could be trusted, and only then did she bring out her friend. “It was almost like was like, OK you’re going to take me, but you’re going to take him too. This is my buddy, he’s been protecting me,” Obregon said.
Knowing Pit Bull personalities, Obregon realized that she had to get them both rescued right away, since the Shepherd had the wisdom to keep a distance but Pit Bulls are likely to walk up to anyone and trust them fully. It took only two days to catch them, and Obregon used the Pit Bull to get the Shepherd to come along, and after a lot of medical care, both have recovered and are together in a foster home.
Off the Menu
We’ve all heard about the horror stories of the dog meat industry. Prevalent in different parts of Asia, it involves the raising and slaughter of many kinds of dogs, and often includes festivals in which dog meat is the focal point of the affair.
Luckily for two dogs this past year, Canadian figure skater and Olympic champion, Meagan Duhamel stepped up to gold medal status in the dog rescue category. While participating in the figure skating events during the Winter Olympics in South Korea (2018), she spoke out about the horrors of the dog meat trade. Not being one to rest on her laurels, she has been one of the loudest voices in the fight to end the trade.
The skater has been travelling in Asia and campaigning tirelessly against the activity for 15 years. She began with monetary donations and by volunteering on rescue flights bringing dozens of dogs from Asia to North America – after escaping the meat trade. And that is precisely how she found her own two puppos. Duhamel explained, “I thought: why would I hope this dog gets adopted and rescued — why wouldn’t I bring the dog back myself and keep him and give him a loving home?”
That is how her adorable Dachsund mix, Moo-tae came into her life. Even more recently, she added adorable Daegong to her household, another meat industry rescue. With almost 2.5 million dogs raised and slaughtered annually, there is a lot of work ahead. However, the good news is that industry leaders admit that interest is waning since younger people no longer desire such dishes and avoid dog meat altogether. In the past few years, many farms have shutdown and their dogs were rescued.
If you are eager to help bring an end to this horrible trade, you can also look around for dog meat rescues in your area.
A Bit Like Paddington
In a sincerely tear-jerking tale out of Texas, one young poodle was able to have a much happier ending to what could have been a sincerely tragic tale. Though most animal shelters have more than enough sad stories to share, they are also places in which happy endings are just as common. From remarkable health or behavioral turn arounds to stories about the giving and caring people who volunteer so much, there are many sweet stories.
Yet, the store of Lee the poodle really stands apart. Why? Found in a crate left at the Harris County Animal Shelter in the Houston, TX at some point during a holiday weekend, the one year old poodle was in bad condition. He seemed trapped by his dense mat of dirty, unkempt fur. He was covered in urine from being in the crate too long and was intensely frightened.
Yet, it was the note attached to the dog that ended being the most heartbreaking part of the situation. Requesting that the shelter take care of the dog, the owner indicated that there was no money for his care. “His name is Lee. He will listen, he will bark, and will not bite. Please don’t put him down I love him, but can’t afford to keep him,” said the heartfelt plea and, naturally, the shelter had no intention of letting Lee down.
However, the shelter is intensely overcrowded with most cages at more than twice their capacity. It took Lee several days to begin adjusting, and then he was able to be finally shaved and liberated from his smelly, unappealing coat. It was then that his funny, quirky and “smiling” face appeared. He quickly proved he was the smart and appealing fellow described in the note, and Lee was soon the focus of two families that both petitioned the shelter for the opportunity to adopt him!
Hopefully, the family that did not get Lee still moved forward to adopt one of the hundreds of other pets available at this one shelter.
There are so many reasons to adopt a dog from a rescue, and maybe you can become one of the viral adoption stories I write about next year. If not, and you just find a furry friend in need, chances are you’ll discover that your happy story of how you adopted your new pal can inspire others to do the same.