Our top dog adoption stories in 2023

October is National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month and to celebrate, we’re sharing some of our favorite adoption stories. We ask all Animal Humane Society adopters to share their adoption stories with us on our Happy Tails blog and have selected a few that warmed our hearts this year.

Adoption can add joy, excitement, and companionship to your life. It not only changes your life forever but changes the life of an animal. Thank you to all who’ve chosen adoption at AHS and granted a second chance to these amazing pups.

We hope you find these stories as inspiring as we did.

Forest, a black and tan dog who was adopted from AHS.


We have lived in our house for 35 years and we have been without a dog for just 15 days! All four of our dogs came from Animal Humane Society.

A few weeks ago, we suddenly lost our beloved dog of 9 years to an aggressive cancerous tumor that burst in the night. About 5 days later, we decided that we did not want our future dog to remain in the shelter any longer. I had gone online to see the dogs available for adoption and noticed there were about 30 dogs in Golden Valley that Sunday. Among them were 4 “Special Project” dogs that were removed from a hoarder’s house.

When we got to the shelter, we saw many active and playful dogs and we took a couple of them for a walk. We decided to look at the “Special Project” dogs and noticed they were all lying on their beds, likely medicated, but still scared and anxious.

We decided to take “Forest” (a shepherd/lab mix) for a walk and then spent time with him in one of the visitation rooms. He was missing part of his ear and had scars on his head and legs, so we knew he probably had bad baggage, but his many weeks with Animal Humane Society’s staff had set him up for successful adoption. We decided to adopt him and the volunteers were overjoyed that Forest was going to his forever home.

Within a day, Forest was bonded to my wife and he lost his fear of me pretty quickly, too. We were able to take him off of his anxiety meds a couple of days later, although we still have not mastered the scary ride in the truck, yet!

Now, two months later, Forest is a happy and playful dog who is completely comfortable with us and even welcomes guests after they meet him. He is a loved member of our family.

Thanks to the staff, volunteers, and financial supporters of AHS for giving Forest a second chance at a good life with us!

Elwood, a small white dog living life to the fullest after being adopted from AHS.


I had fallen into a rut and needed someone to spend my days with. Amazingly enough, Elwood (then Baxter) was also looking for someone as well. I could tell he was going to be a little rascal from the moment I met him at Animal Humane Society’s Golden Valley location. Luckily I am a teacher, had the summer off, and have developed lots of patience to help Elwood practice safe behaviors. He has genuinely changed my life. I rarely feel depressed with Elwood at my side. I look forward to spending many years together exploring the world with my curious boy.

Bo, a black and white Border Collie mix, who was adopted from AHS.


I took a spur of the moment visit to AHS with a friend on a rainy Sunday (in fact, we hit all your locations that day!). I had zero intention of adopting quite yet, as I had just moved to the area. I couldn’t tell you what it was, but after seeing this beautifully shy, brown eyed, border collie mix, I couldn’t get his face out of my head. Something pulled at me all day thinking about him, so much so I came back before closing time, and put a deposit down on this special little boy. Bo (formerly Bot) has been through so much with me including countless moves, marriage, and becoming a parent. He’s empathetic on a level I have never seen in any dog before and am so blessed to have him. A scared little boy from Missouri is now living his best life on our 80 acre property, chasing endless frisbees, following his human brother around for crumbs, and sleeping anywhere he pleases!

Doctor, a Husky mix who was adopted from AHS.


Two months ago, I went to the golden valley AHS to look for a cat – but I told my girlfriend to not let me bring a cat home because I wasn’t ready. Plot twist, I brought home a ten-month-old husky puppy one hour later. She ran away from everyone except me, laying her chin on my palm as if to say “You have no choice, sucker”. I named her “Doctor” so that I wouldn’t forget my professional goals.

She is a quick study, killing it in her obedience courses. Her hobbies include making snow angels, singing, and trying to train me. She is the ideal skijor and longboard-jor companion, with an intense need for speed. She can go for hours and hours full force. When visiting my favorite breweries, I don’t need to worry about filling up my car with gas anymore. She is the cheapest form of transportation, and the most expensive personal trainer in one soft, loving, sheddy package.

Chewie, a bull dog mix with big ears and a big smile, lounges after being adopted from AHS.


Two months ago I went to Animal Humane Society just to visit and see the animals with my sister and nephew (or so I thought). As we were meeting and feeding the dogs, Chewie’s big smile caught my eye. I spent time with him in his pen, and he was just the cutest thing.

After visiting him, I originally told myself that I didn’t have the time for a dog and so we left. Only a few miles down the road I started crying, and we turned around so I could put him on hold. That day, I went out and bought everything I needed to bring him home and then picked him up the following morning.

While there was a bit of an adjustment period and a lot of work to get him trained and settled in, Chewie quickly became a part of my family. Now that he is home, I get to see his big smile which brightens my mood every day.

Linus, a black and tan dog, who was adopted from AHS, is pictured with owners on a hike.


We walked into the shelter with no dog in mind. Linus caught our eye right away. He was a little shy but opened up quickly! We decided he would be a good fit for our family and adopted him. He opened up so quickly in our home and has been loving ever since! He has so much energy when playing but can be calm and snuggly when it’s time to be. He has adjusted so well this past week and we are extremely happy we chose to adopt him! The staff at Golden Valley were so helpful during the process and made us very comfortable when adopting Linus. THANK YOU!!

Louie, a tan dog with a black face is pictured enjoying his new forever home.


I just can’t even really explain what happened. This guy really needed me I thought. I even asked you to do the paperwork in the visiting room so he could stay with me. He was so frightened. I made a promise to him that day that I would always be by his side. Funny thing is: I think I had it all backwards. I needed him, and he will never leave my side! 😊 Louie (formerly Nanook) has been the easiest to train, most rewarding dog I have ever had. Thank you! 😊

Allie, a black and white Pit Bull mix, is pictured enjoying life after AHS with her new family.


How can I thank you two so much for such a wonderful dog? ALLIE!!! We are all doing wonderful. She is an absolute joy. She is the most friendly dog in the world. She has settled in nicely to our home and three cats. Everyone is getting along great. Sometimes she sleeps with me in bed otherwise she likes my closet or the couch. We don’t care where she sleeps. She loves to chew!!!! It has been fun trying to find good toys that she can’t rip up in 30 seconds. :) We all love her so much and are so grateful for your help with adopting Allie. We really got a gem!!! I am attaching some fun pictures. Even a picture from the day we adopted her.

Armadillo, a white and tan Pit Bull mix, playing with his new brother after being adopted from AHS.


We adopted Armadillo, we brought him home when he was experiencing stress and stomach issues. After having him home with us, all that went away and he fit into our family just great. He loves having a friend to play with and a little kid to love. He does so well staying in his yard and definitely still loves his walks.

Brulee, a big black dog with tan feet, enjoys the outdoors after being adopted from AHS.


I adopted a beautiful pup (now named Brulee). I brought this beautiful, timid pup home to my cabin at six-months-old. Three hours out of the adoption center, she fell into the Brule River while looking at her reflection (I fetched her out immediately). She loves chasing squirrels and wading in the water. She is protective, quiet, and loyal.

Are you interested in opening your heart and home to a new dog?

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.

For caring, compassionate advice and resources to address all your animal concerns.

Contact the Pet Helpline