10 of our favorite dog adoption stories of 2019 (so far)

Big woofers, smol floofs … we love puppers of all kinds! October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, bringing awareness to all the deserving shelter dogs in need of homes. It’s also the perfect time to celebrate the joys of adopting a dog.

Every year we receive hundreds of your adoption stories. While every adoption is special, we picked ten recent stories we love. Grab a box of tissues and get ready to happy cry!

1. Buddy

Buddy and his family

My husband got the okay to have a dog from the landlord the exact same day we adopted Buddy. We knew we wanted to adopt/rescue because of the many dogs waiting for someone to bring them home. My husband Tucker was out meeting dogs at a different rescue when I called him to drive to AHS Woodbury to meet Buddy.

I saw him online and it said he had been there for quite some time. He was 10 years old at the time with gentle eyes in his picture. I called the Woodbury shelter and they confirmed he was still there because people tend to pass over senior dogs. She told me he was such a sweet boy with a sad heart. I knew immediately that he was meant to be ours.

Tucker met Buddy right before closing and sent me a picture in the meeting room. I started crying and told him to do what he thought was best. A little while later I received a picture of Buddy in the passenger seat of the car, wagging his tail, and “smiling” from ear to ear. He was going home!

We had an instant bond and we are inseparable. Tucker has a very playful relationship with him and Buddy goes to him when he wants someone to play — for a senior dog he has a lot of energy and LOVES squeaky toys. We have a very loving and cuddly relationship, he needs to know where “mom” is at all times and rarely leaves my side. If I am sitting down, he’s cuddling me. He rarely gives kisses but he makes an exception for us.

He is our world and we love him so much. Buddy is very spoiled and we believe he is living his best life with us! We love our senior puppy!

- Cassie

2. Welles


I adopted Welles in January 2009. He was the opposite of outgoing – he was shut down in the shelter, barely acknowledging me when I visited with him, but when I scratched the right spot on his cheek and he leaned in slightly, the deal was sealed.

Right from the start he was a difficult dog — he struggled mightily with reactivity to lots of daily life stimuli and later, separation anxiety so bad he dug through the wall of my apartment in no less than five times. In a lot of cases, this would have been a setup for failure. But thanks to the variety of services and truly amazing trainers in the behavior and training program offered by AHS, Welles and I almost immediately began obedience classes and were set on the right path to deal with his challenges and help him gain confidence.

We started classes literally fenced off in the corner of the training room, practicing attention around the innumerable triggers (dogs, people, sounds, movements, etc.). We ended a few years later with Welles earning his Canine Good Citizen title and starting some basic Rally before we moved to Seattle. Ten years from adoption, Welles is a different dog — still reactive, prone to anxiety, and, at times, difficult to manage — but he is living a happy, healthy life and with a little management, stays home comfortably while we are at work and is able to meet a variety of other dogs happily and even lives with a second pup now!

Our second dog (a 2-year-old Golden) has improved his confidence even more, to the point where they have several neighborhood dog friends whose yards they insist on visiting during most of our walks. It may seem tiny to a lot of people, but seeing Welles calmly walk up to another dog and wag his tail never fails to surprise and delight me. He has a few doggie friends he even offers to play with although he’s now (at estimated 12 years old) arthritic and losing most of his hearing.

I know we wouldn’t have gotten this far without the good start assisted by AHS, so as I’m thinking back on how far he’s come these last ten years, I recognize we owe a huge debt of gratitude to AHS for both saving him and ensuring we were set up for success.

- Kate


3. Charlie

Our Charlie was brought to the St. Paul location by a family who loved him dearly. They didn’t want to leave him, but knew it was best for him. He was covered in fleas, his hair was almost completely gone and was full of crusty skin. The amazing caregivers at AHS loved him back to health for two months before he was even put on the adoption floor.

During this time, they performed many tests and tried to help him in his condition. They LOVED Charlie (the incredible vet would take her lunch in his kennel) and he was known as the St. Paul location mascot.

Fast forward four months to the evening we visited the humane society so that I could visit with a bunny they had. While I played with my now pet Lola, the rest of the family was visiting with Charlie.

We didn’t anticipate adopting a dog at that time so we went home with our bunny and my husband and girls all were sad to leave Charlie. Two weeks went by, my husband kept bringing him up and checking the website daily to see if he was still there (Charlie spent six months there and was put on hold several times, sadly with no one taking him home). After many calls asking how he was with this and this and this, we took him home. How has it been three years already?!

Charlie is the best dog. He’s so loving and handsome. Everyone that has met him has fallen in love and we are so thankful for the humane society! Thank you for all you do and caring for our creatures in need.

- Missy


4. Sammy

Thank you for the absolutely incredible work your team does. I feel compelled to share my adoption story with you so you can truly know what a difference Animal Humane Society makes. Not only for animals in need but for the family that needs the love of a four-legged family member.

One year ago my family visited the Golden Valley location. We visited with very heavy hearts after saying goodbye to our 14-year-old Belgian Malinois, Zoe, just months earlier. We fell in love with a sweet girl named Paula. She wasn’t even a year old yet but had been adopted and returned three times. That was after she was born in Texas and moved to Alabama, all before coming to Minnesota at 8 months old. My heart broke for her. I knew all she needed was a family to love her.

Your staff did their job. They told us her horrible story. When we met her it was a done deal. We chose her and she chose us.

Since that day, our lives have been full. We adore her and can’t imagine life without her. I hate to think about what her life was like before us. But now, she only knows love. Thank you so very much for all that you do to give second chances to the “unlovable.”

We renamed her Sammy. My 10 year old’s choice. She’s happy and incredibly loved. We’re so thankful to have her. Thank you to the amazing staff for making her feel loved when she was alone. We love her so much. She tips over a lot, tummy up. We think she might have a balance problem.

Thank you, Animal Humane Society for giving us this silly, funny, loving, snuggly, smart family member.

- Jessica


5. Beso

I started fostering Beso in 2015. After getting him home, it was clear that his health was in decline. Considering he was 14 years old, this wasn’t a surprise. My husband and I decided to adopt him with the hope of making his final days as comfortable as possible.

We fell in love with him and watched his health improve gradually. More than four years later, Beso is still with us! He loves sitting in the sunshine, walking around the back yard, eating, snuggling with our 2-year-old son, and spending time with his brother, Jango (also adopted from Animal Humane Society).

He is a member of our family and we are so happy we decided to take him!

- Ellen

6. Sassy

For years I’ve wanted to adopt a dog, but I always made excuses. “Oh, I won’t have time.” “I’ll choose the wrong one.” “Maybe next year.” On a cold day in January, though, I was going through my routine of looking at Animal Humane Society’s website, and I saw her face. Her name: Sassy, a 7-year-old Chihuahua/Dachshund mix. I fell in love instantly and went to the St. Paul location after work.


She immediately took to me, and I to her. I had concerns about her weight (she came in obese), her age and health, so I put money down and slept on it. The next day I brought her home.

Of all the decisions I’ve made in my life, adopting Sassy is the best thing I’ve ever done. She is obsessed with me, but I’m just as obsessed with her. She is ridiculously happy all the time. She lives for fetch and is excellent at returning the ball. Her weight and age concerned me about just how active she would be able to be. I am an active person, and while Sassy isn’t a runner, she LOVES to walk. We go on walks in the morning and in the evening, and she enjoys exploring South Minneapolis and Minnehaha Falls.

Sassy is an absolute delight, my best friend, the light of my life. I think about her all the time.

Sassy is a reminder not to dismiss someone outright because of initial appearances. Yes, she was a bigger girl when I got her, but she’s so active and spunky that the pounds are just coming off! She’s nimble, quick, smart and adorable. Older dogs are often overlooked for their younger counterparts, but I would caution folks to give every dog a chance. Had I dismissed Sassy because of her age and weight, I would have missed out on the best part of my life. I’m glad I chose her, and I’m thankful to have her.

- Matthew


7. Georgia

Two years ago I was lost and broken, struggling with addiction. When I was ready, I reached out for help and eventually moved into a sober living program in St. Paul.

Fast forward two years, and I was thriving, living a life I never thought possible. But, I couldn’t help but feel as though something was still missing. I felt lonely at times. I searched for what felt like forever for the “perfect” dog for my lifestyle, and nothing felt right. Until the day I met Georgia.

To this day, I swear that she picked me. She has brought joy and light into my life, has reminded me what unconditional love looks like, and is the best little side kick a girl could ask for! I now work in the field of Addiction and Chemical Dependency, and Georgia is my little recovery pup – she comes with me to work every day. She has helped bring love and joy into the lives of others who, like me, struggled for so long to find their way.

 I am forever grateful for AHS, and this little love-bug of mine.

- Ree

8. Axel


My daughter convinced me we needed another dog (we only had a little 4 lb. Chihuahua). So I decided if we were going to get another dog I wanted to get an older one so that we could give it a happy home for its final years.

We ended up visiting Animal Humane Society toward the end of the day and had decided that we were going to return the following day for an old pointer. He wasn’t as old as I wanted, about 6 years old, but my daughter really liked him so we put him on hold.

When I returned the next morning, as I was walking in, I saw and older German Shepherd and I felt an automatic connection with him! I asked his age and how long he had been there. I was told he was 9 years old and had just arrived. I asked immediately to meet with him. I absolutely fell in love with him. His demeanor, personality, and his very kind eyes. Although he has some health problems he was perfect!

I brought him home that day! I was surprised that I had decided to take him because he is such a big boy. It was like it was meant to be. He immediately became attached to my youngest. He sleeps with my kids, goes for walks, and loves to play. We love him so much and he has brought so much joy to our family.

I can’t see our lives without him anymore we have been blessed.

- Lydia


9. Barry

We have always been “dog people,” but with a young family, we weren’t ready for the additional responsibility. Finally, the time came and we were ready to welcome a dog into our home. We went to Animal Humane Society in St. Paul to start looking for a dog. We thought the process would take a while to find a pet that fit with our family, but we met Barry that very first night.

Our son, Paul, knew right away that Barry was right for our family, and insisted that he take him home. On the way home with Barry, Paul exclaimed (with his arms wrapped around our new dog), “I can’t believe how happy I am!”

The last two months have been pure joy for our family. Paul refers to Barry as his “twin brother” because they’re so close and love the same things. Barry rarely leaves Paul’s side, and has brought so much fun and laughter to our house!

- Kristin

10. Rain


January 2, 2018 was the start to a new beginning. I had just been prescribed an emotional support animal a week prior. I originally wanted a dog that was at least a year old, but soon fell in love with this little girl surrounded by her brothers. Everyone advised me not to get her because of how rough she and her brothers were playing. However, with the knowledge I have from four years of vet clinic/kennel work and a degree in animal science, I knew that it was all just play. She was only 3 months old and didn’t know anything else. I officially decided to call her mine.

At first it was rough with potty training and teaching her how to be gentle. As she got older, she had a bigger job than just being a house dog. She learned very fast how to signal to others when I’m having an anxiety attack. Also, she learned when she heard crying to come to me, lick me, and get me to give her attention so that I stop focusing on what’s on my mind. She will be 2 years old on October 2 and I couldn’t have asked for a better companion. It took time, but she knows exactly who her mama is and what to do.

She is my world and I would do anything for her.

- Brandi


If you loved these happy tails, start your own adoption story today! Meet the dogs currently waiting for families by visiting our adoptable animals page.

Looking for more sweet dog stories? Yoshi was found tied to a tree in Texas – learn what happened to this Shiba Inu mix next.

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