14 Shelter Dog Stories to Melt Your Heart


Thinking of visiting a shelter to view dogs for adoption but not sure whether they make for good pets? Well look no further. As the following 14 tales go to show, dogs rescued from shelters very often repay the favor.


Nine-year-old terrier mix Pogo wasn’t much liked by his previous owners. According to his rescuer, they were going to abandon him at a dog park. But all he needed was a little love; he was friendly, playful and, what’s more, apparently eager to help humans. After his rescue, he was trained up as a caregiver canine in New Jersey and placed among senior citizens, making people smile wherever he goes.



It’s a sad fact that many shelter dogs get euthanized, often for bad behavior. This looked to be the fate of Pacino, a former bait dog with aggressive tendencies. But one of the vets tasked with putting the pit bull down just couldn’t follow through with the job—especially after Pacino licked his face. His new owner gave him the surgery he needed, took him home and never looked back with regret.



Bear had been attacked by a larger dog when he was found on the streets of Lodi, California. After some long, lonely days at a shelter, he was rescued and ultimately placed into a new forever home. Although nervous to begin with, it took just four months for him to adjust better than anyone could have hoped.



When Lady’s previous owner passed away, she was left to the owner’s son. At what must have been a difficult time for the old yellow lab (after all, dogs grieve too), she spent much of her time chained to a tree without food or water. After some time in a rescue shelter, she was placed in a family with kids that gave her the TLC she deserved.



Ten-year-old Dachshund Kirby had been dumped in the mountains before arriving at a shelter for treatment. But, although receiving treatment for chronic dry eye, he was deemed to be unadoptable. Not so. His eventual owner fought hard to adopt the adorable little survivor and ultimately took him home.



Because of a hereditary condition, T-Rex was born at a disadvantage. And when his owner couldn’t sell him outside a grocery store, he was simply left there to die. Fortunately, a passer-by took him to a shelter and it wasn’t long before he found a new owner. He received surgery to help him walk and gave back plenty of love in return. He even paints pictures with his tail, the proceeds from which go towards grants for other animals’ vet bills.



Wesson was a stray picked up by animal control. Heartbreakingly, he was discovered with a serious gunshot wound in his back and bullet fragments still in his body. Without surgery and the love of a new forever home, he likely would have died in agony.



Otis née Chubby appears to have chosen his rescuers, rather than the other way around. When he saw the couple that was later to adopt him, he peed on them and sat by their feet. But once rescued, he proved to be a loving member of the family—filling a void left by the death of their grandparents the previous year.



Sometimes rescuing a dog from a shelter isn’t just one-way philanthropy. Sometimes the dog can rescue its new owner. Before Wiggie came along, for instance, seven-year-old boy Ty was struggling with loneliness and school. But the new puppy changed all that and before long everything changed.



Five-year-old terrier mix Whiskey seemed doomed to spend his life in a shelter. In fact, the shelter staff labeled him as destructive and claimed he’d never make a suitable pet. But one staff member wasn’t so quick to dismiss him. One month before the dog was due to be euthanized, he was taken into their family home and successfully rehabilitated.



Rocky’s rescuer, a prison employee, knew a lot about time behind bars. And it wasn’t something she wished upon a dog that had been found “riddled with buckshots.” She took him home to her husband Floyd, who in turn took Rocky on hikes. It wasn’t long before Rocky returned the favor. When Floyd collapsed on a hike because of an irregular heartbeat, it was Rocky who woke him up and led him back to the car.



Hit by a car and left for dead, Marcus was rescued by a shelter in Seattle. And although he had just one eye and three legs, he had enough personality to win over his future owners.



Henry was scheduled to die, but proved himself invaluable to a young family. Six-year-old Leo, a child prone to seizures, formed a strong bond with the dog on visits to the shelter. So Leo’s mother decided to rescue the animal. And, trained to detect when humans are about to have a seizure, Henry has since rescued Leo numerous times in return.



Vinny lost the use of one of his legs after being hit by a car as a puppy. Thanks to the tireless efforts of his new owner, however, he ended up happy, loved, and strong enough to manage with three.