The most incredible and inspiring animal transformations of 2021

Every day, amazing transformations take place at Animal Humane Society. Shy dogs gain confidence, sick cats regain strength, and injured critters heal and thrive. There’s nothing more rewarding in our work than seeing an animal rise from adversity and blossom with new life.

As we ring in the New Year, let’s take a look back at a few of the most heartwarming transformations you helped make possible in 2021.

Gianni before and after care at AHS


When Gianni arrived at Animal Humane Society, she barely resembled a dog. The Cocker Spaniel was covered in thick, snarled mats that carried a foul odor. It was clear her health and wellbeing had been neglected for most of her life.

As our veterinary team groomed her, they made a sad discovery. Gianni's left front leg was completely immobile, stuck to her torso by matted fur. She would need weeks of physical therapy to be able to walk again. Gianni remained in our care for nearly a month, healing from multiple ear and eye infections and rebuilding the muscle in her leg that had been left to waste away.

Through it all, her spirit remained unbreakable. She greeted everyone with a wagging tail, waiting for the day she could become someone’s beloved pet.

Just three hours after making her debut in the adoption center, Gianna got her wish. She was placed on hold by a family that could give her the unconditional love she deserved! Today, Gianni is thriving in the comfort of her new home, feeling healthier and happier than she has in years.

Cheesecake before and after care at AHS


Found limping on bloody paws down Highway 95, Cheesecake was in extreme pain. She’d been hit by a car, the strength of the impact causing her tooth to puncture her lip, her eye to swell shut, and bruising all over her body.

The 3-month-old tabby needed help immediately. Cheesecake required stitches to close her wounds and medication to easy her pain. But despite suffering severe trauma, she was incredibly calm and loving — purring with gratitude for the lifesaving care she was receiving from our expert staff.

After almost a month of healing, Cheesecake was finally ready for a home of her own. Given her sweet demeanor, it’s no surprise it only took this sweet kitten one hour to find the right family.

Clover before and after care at AHS


Clover was skin and bones when we first met her. Weighing only 24 pounds, she’d been left to waste away in a terrible act of neglect and abuse. Our hearts broke knowing Clover would have to gain back so much more than weight — her confidence had been shattered, and she was terrified of even the slightest touch.

Our veterinary team started her on a careful feeding schedule and our behavior staff worked with her every day, showing her that humans can be kind and loving. With every pound she gained, she also gained a little more strength, a little more trust, and a lot more confidence.

As we monitored her progress, Clover spent time recovering in foster care. One month after she arrived at AHS, the young pit bull mix was ready for adoption, and a friend of one of her former fosters claimed her right away! Today, Clover is almost unrecognizable from the dog we first met. A confident, playful lady, she loves meeting new friends and walks proudly with her head held high.

Baylor before and after care at AHS


Baylor, a Shepherd puppy, was rescued by our partners in northern Minnesota and transferred to AHS for emergency surgery. He had been found in a window well, barely responsive, with a tie-out cable wrapped tightly around his abdomen.

Baylor's surgery to repair his injuries was successful, but recovery would take several weeks. We reached out to our foster volunteers asking if anyone had a comfortable, quiet home where he could heal. Mariah received the email and responded immediately. She'd seen the young dog's tragic story on social media and knew she wanted to help somehow.

Mariah was surprised by Baylor's resilience, amazed at what a happy puppy he was despite what he'd been through. Playful and smiley, he fit in perfectly with her other dogs. He mastered potty training and commands quickly thanks to his love of treats.

After just two weeks in foster care, our veterinary team decided he was ready for adoption and let Mariah know she could return Baylor to the shelter ― it was time for him to meet his new family. But Mariah knew he was already home! She finalized his adoption in the spring. Since then, Baylor has grown into a happy and healthy boy who loves playing with his three rescue dog siblings.

Sugar Loaf before and after care at AHS

Sugar Loaf

Attacked by a predator, Sugar Loaf limped slowly down a busy Minneapolis street, hoping someone would come to his rescue. Luckily, an animal lover spotted the young tabby and brought him out of the winter cold to Animal Humane Society for care.

Sugar Loaf was suffering from a severe upper respiratory infection and had significant wounds to his face and legs. Our veterinarians tended to his injuries and started him on medication, ensuring he was well fed and comfortable while he healed.

It wasn’t long before he was feeling much better. That’s when his fun-loving personality started to shine through. Once shy and guarded, he now loved playing with toys and cuddling. We knew he’d bring joy to any home he ended up in.

Just two days after being medically cleared for adoption, Sugar Loaf’s new family walked into our Coon Rapids location and immediately knew he was the one.

Dutch before and after care at AHS

Moose (now Dutch)

When Moose was just 6 weeks old he was attacked by another dog, suffering major trauma to his face and skull. He needed weeks of medical care to heal and underwent a special operation when his damaged eye couldn't be saved.

During Moose's recovery, an AHS veterinary technician fostered him in her home... and he never left! Her family fell in love with the young German Shepherd mix and renamed him Dutch.

Dutch is now completely healed, healthy, and just enjoying puppyhood. He's learning the ropes of being a good boy from his older siblings Moe and Dixie, and is spoiled with plenty of fun romps outdoors and Caribou "puppy lattes."

Looking for more inspiring animal stories?

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