When it comes to moments that warm your heart, there aren’t many that top seeing a rescue dog’s joy when they realize that they finally have a new home. Much like Freddie Mercury, dogs in shelters are just looking for “somebody to love.” The drastic change between the sad-eyed, lonely looking pups in cages to the energetic, smiley dogs they become when they realize they’re headed home with their new forever family shows how grateful they are to have been rescued. Read on to hear some of their stories, but fair warning – you might want to have tissues handy.
Just in Time
Sweet Scarlett was scheduled to be euthanized at the shelter due to overcrowding and because she was suffering from a minor, curable skin condition. Her new owner took one look at that precious face and couldn’t say no!
Safely at home, Scarlett transformed into the happiest girl they had ever seen, full of smiles and tail wags. She’s now healthy, happy, and free, and it shows in the joy she brings to her new family. Thank goodness she was rescued in the nick of time!
All Smiles Now
After being overlooked month after month because potential adopters made assumptions about her breed, this precious pit mix named Princess Ru was finally adopted. Just look at the dramatic difference a little bit of love can make for a shelter pup!
Because they took a chance on her despite the negative stereotypes, this smiley girl has become the center of her new family’s world and it seems like the feeling is mutual. She’s now the queen of her own castle and it shows. That face is just priceless…all that’s missing is a crown!
The Sergeant’s New Best Friend
This Staff Sergeant attended an adoption event on his military base and ended up finding a perfect companion in this adorable English bulldog named Pinkerton. As you can see, the two bonded instantly, and this moment is sure to be the first of many kisses and cuddles to come!
In addition to their undeniable cuteness, pets can be extremely therapeutic to veterans because they provide companionship and comfort when it’s needed most. In fact, some shelters have programs that not only waive adoption fees for those who have served the country, but also provide new dog parents with a starter kit including leashes, bowls, toys and food to ensure that they and their pup are off to a great start.
The More the Merrier
Just look at those tiny paws and toothless smiles! Four adorable senior chihuahuas were all lucky enough to be adopted from the same shelter, and now they are living it up together with their new mom. These little guys have so much personality and charm, and they certainly make a great team.
The squad of senior pups are just as spunky and adorable as their younger counterparts, and still have so much love to give. Adopting a senior dog can be the most rewarding experience; you get the benefit of a relaxed, easygoing companion (who is probably already potty trained!) and they get a safe home and a loving family to spend their golden years with. Win-win-woof!
Can’t Handle the Sweetness!
This dog’s name is Donuts. DONUTS. If you think it can’t get any cuter than that, just wait. Donuts had been waiting at the shelter for his forever home for quite some time. Being a senior pup, as well as blind, deaf, and recently diagnosed with cancer meant that poor Donuts didn’t have much of a chance.
However, one day a guy named Matt came in looking for a new companion and absolutely fell in love with Donuts’ sweet face and personality. He took Donuts home that day, even knowing that their time together would be limited, and plans to help him live his best life as long as possible, with plenty of cuddles and playtime. We’re not crying, YOU’RE CRYING.
Just check out that blissful expression on rescue pup Luna’s face, and you’ll understand instantly what dog adoption is all about. She looks so happy to be riding home with her new best friend, finally exchanging the cold, lonely shelter life for one filled with love and laughter.
That sweet, gentle smile is enough to melt anyone’s heart, and you can just imagine the types of fun adventures she and her buddy will get into. The special bond between a kid and their dog is truly one of a kind. Scroll on to see more cute kids and their new best friends!
OMG, I’m ADOPTED!
Do you think Coso the dog might be a little bit excited to be adopted by this lovely family? We have a feeling that she might be. This excitable pup was so overjoyed to be going home with her new humans and couldn’t help but wave her paws in the air out of pure happiness!
Her new family is clearly delighted too! Everyone is all smiles as they pose for the camera, although Coso definitely takes the prize for “Most Excited”. They sure make a cute bunch, and Coso is well on her way to living her best life ever!
Pure Puppy Love
This photo is almost too adorable. Rosie the pup met her new owner for the very first time and it’s clear to see that the two are a match made in heaven. With matching bright smiles, both dog and human are feeling the puppy love!
Rosie couldn’t be happier to leave the shelter for her new home with her enthusiastic owner, and her new mom looks almost as excited as she does! The cuddly couple are destined to become the best of friends, with many happy years of cuddles and pets ahead.
The Start of a Beautiful Friendship
This sweet older lady adopted a little cutie pie at a local shelter adoption event held at a park, and her reaction to her new dog is too precious for words. Her beaming smile as she cuddles with her new buddy exemplifies what we all feel when we see our cherished pets: pure joy.
You can see the love in the dog’s eyes, too! Leaning close to get a nice scratch on the chin, snuggled up close to her new owner, and giving the camera a little grin, this is one happy pooch! This friendship is sure to be one for the history books.
Eight Hours Later, She’s a Different Dog
Little Luna had a lot of reasons to be sad. Abandoned by her previous family, she was all alone at the shelter and she was severely overweight due to neglect. Day after day, she waited patiently for someone to come along and give her all the love she deserved.
One day, someone finally came along and scooped up this cute old lady, ready to shower her with all the affection she had been missing. 8 hours later, she was a completely different dog! No longer timid and downhearted, she beamed with happiness as she snuggled in the arms of her human, knowing that she’d never be abandoned again.
Finally Headed Home
This little fluffball took center stage in a selfie with his new family while riding home from the shelter. While his new parents look mighty proud, this happy pup is definitely stealing the spotlight with his silly grin.
No longer a lonely shelter dog, this cute little cloud is on his way to a life of being spoiled, pampered, and smothered with love, and he seems totally ready for it. You can almost hear him saying, “Let’s go, I can’t wait to get home!” With a new family and a new leash on life, you’d be smiling ear to ear too!
Did We Just Become Friends?
These two happy dudes met each other for the first time and it’s pretty apparent how they both felt about the situation. They were so excited, in fact, that they made identical facial expressions, both grinning wide and mugging for the camera.
These instant best buds are prepped for all the activities ahead, and one can’t help but picture the types of adorable shenanigans and heartwarming adventures they’ll emBARK on together. With a bond like this, it’s obvious that this duo will always have each other’s back, no matter what.
From the Street Life to the Sweet Life
When a pooch is found wandering the streets and the owners can’t be found, they often end up at the local animal shelter, waiting for someone to come along and take them to a warm, cozy home and a loving family. That’s exactly what happened to little Pablo.
Found as a stray, Pablo was taken to a local shelter, and he was in rough shape after living on the streets for so long. His new family immediately fell in love with the scruffy little pup, and took him home to his new life of luxury. It suits him well, based on the photos. He’s transformed completely from a sad, nervous street dog to a confident, happy, and well-loved boy!
Worth the Wait
Some dogs, like puppies and rare breeds, are always in high demand and have no trouble getting adopted right away. Unfortunately, this is not the case for all shelter dogs. Some pups, like Pippa here, end up waiting and waiting for the right person to come along.
Thankfully, after 103 long days of living in the shelter, the perfect family came along looking for a dog just like her. As you can see, they loved Pippa right away, and she was just as overjoyed to meet them. It seems like all the waiting finally paid off, as Pippa finally got the loving family she always dreamed of!
He Chose his Person
Sometimes you pick the dog, sometimes the dog picks you. The latter is certainly the case here, as sweet boy Chance strutted right over and plopped in his new dad’s lap, as if to say, “This one is mine now.”
Since it’s impossible to say no to a face like that, obviously Chance got his way! He ended up going home with them and is now an irreplaceable member of their family. This smart puppy must have seen something special in them and decided that they’d be the perfect people for him. Good choice, Chance!
Best Buddies for Life
The cuteness of this pair is almost too much to handle! This little puppy perched on his new dad’s shoulder on the ride home from the shelter and couldn’t stop smiling.
These guys look so happy together, and this little pup gets to grow up with a best friend who loves him like crazy! Puppies can definitely be challenging because of their need for extra care and training while they grow into adulthood, but something tells us that this handsome little guy is well worth the extra effort.
How does a dog feel when they finally get to go home with a family? This newly adopted girl’s goofy face says it all. She’s so happy she can’t contain herself!
She might be a little nervous, too, which is to be expected when a pooch is experiencing all kinds of new sensations and getting to know her new family. Ultimately, though, we’re sure that this pup will settle in just fine as her new family spoils her with lots of treats and hugs! If you liked this girl’s silly grin, make sure to check out the next dog on the list.
Thankth for Rethcuing Me
Speaking of funny faces, this sweet girl’s pronounced underbite gives her quite a unique look! Luckily for her, her new owner loved her quirky appearance, and knew that she had to take her home.
Special needs dogs, although they are sometimes more challenging to care for, can be some of the most rewarding pets ever. There are lots of amazing dogs out there in shelters who just need a little something extra, and they show their gratitude by loving with their whole hearts. Just look at that chin scratch face; that’s an appreciative pup!
A Boy’s Best Friend
If you had a pet dog as a kid, do you remember the day you brought them home for the first time? There’s nothing like that feeling of overwhelming delight as your new pal climbs into your lap and happily licks your face, and you wrap them in a big hug, knowing that from that moment on, you’ll be the best of friends.
These two met for the first time not long before this photo was taken, and they’ve already hit it off. Judging by the expression on this little boy’s face and how comfortable the pup seems to be already, these two are destined to become close companions as they grow up together.
Frank the Tank Gets a Home
This little guy was waiting at the shelter for a home, and how he wasn’t adopted immediately is a mystery. That precious pout could break the internet, and it almost did after somebody visited the shelter and posted his picture on social media.
Responses started rolling in, and so many people wanted to help give this sweet, lonely boy a loving home. Soon after, a family come by to meet him, and the rest is history! His new owners named him Frank the Tank (such a perfect name) and promised to give him all the belly rubs and cuddles he could ever want. He even got a new dog brother. It certainly looks like Frank is much happier these days!
All Tuckered Out
Getting adopted can be an overwhelming experience for a little puppy! All the excitement of meeting their new family and exploring a new home and yard can take a toll on a pooch, but luckily a good nap can help them perk right up again.
This little gal clearly had too much fun meeting her new family, and she’s so comfortable with them already that she just conked out right in her dad’s lap on the drive home. Doesn’t looking at that snuggly little face just make your heart feel all warm and fuzzy? Speaking of sleeping dogs, check out the next slide for another slumbering cutie.
No Explanation Needed
They say a picture is worth 1,000 words. For this particular picture, we’re guessing all 1,000 of those words would be “happy”. This little guy’s smile is so heart-wrenchingly sweet!
Some people say dogs don’t smile; to them, we suggest taking a look at this photo. That cheery expression is undeniable and it’s obvious that this good boy is having the best day ever. He looks like he’s ready to head home and cuddle on the couch with his new human right away!
All tuckered out from the adoption day’s excitement, this funny dog decided to get some rest in his cozy new abode. He’s definitely making himself right at home and enjoying his new digs.
After getting some beauty rest, he’ll get to explore his new home, but for now, he seems to be channeling how we all feel after arriving home after a particularly full day (especially the facial expression). Here’s to the first of many relaxing naps on the couch for this little goofball!
Best. Day. Ever.
Duncan might just be the happiest puppy ever. After being adopted, he got a brand new bandanna and went out on his very first hike with his new family. We think it’s safe to say he enjoyed it.
Duncan’s endearing smile is enough to turn even the toughest person into a quivering pile of mush, and we’re betting his new owners feel the same way about their precious pup. It looks like Duncan found the perfect family for him; it’s no wonder he’s so happy!
A Rey of Hope
It’s hard to believe that the sad, scared little puppy cowering in her kennel on the left is the same dog as the ecstatic pup on the right, but that’s the power of love for you! Little Rey had plenty of reason to be frightened; she had been scheduled for euthanasia just days before she was adopted.
Her new mom saw her and knew at once she had to save this adorable creature from such a dark fate, and took her home that day. This spunky survivor looks completely different now that she’s free, and that smile certainly shows how grateful she is to have been rescued.
A New Fuzzy Friend
This nine month old Samoyed named Nook looks so thrilled to be adopted! As the living embodiment of fluffy clouds, these gentle pups make great household dogs and get along great with kids.
They’re known for their soft fur and quirky personalities, and this cutie has both in spades. Nook seems like he’s having a great time acclimating to his new surroundings, and this smart boy already knows the best way to thank his new humans for taking him home: a high five and a big smile!
Can’t Stop Smiling
This sweet girl found her fur-ever home and couldn’t stop smiling! The corgi/german shepherd mix named Vera won the heart of her new dad with her darling looks and personality, and he knew right away that she was going to be his dog.
In fact, they get along so well that her new owner is planning on training her to be an emotional support animal! Vera is yet another dog who was in line to be euthanized due to shelter overcrowding, so the ending of this story couldn’t be more heartwarming.
This adopted puppy couldn’t be more in love with her new mom. Just look at the way she’s staring lovingly up at her with the deepest admiration. That little Aussie smile just takes the cuteness level over the top!
Her name is Bella, and she’s a seven year old mini Australian Shepherd. Mini Aussies are a popular breed, valued for their smarts and loyalty, as well as their compact size, making them perfect family dogs and wonderful companions. Based on the photo, Bella is fitting in perfectly with her new people, and her new mom looks like she loves Bella as much as Bella loves her!
Lost and Found
When Nicole Grimes went to her local shelter looking for a dog, she came across a poodle-pomeranian mix who reminded her a lot of her beloved puppy named Chloe, whom she had been forced by her parents to give up for adoption several years prior. When she looked further, she discovered an unbelievable coincidence.
This dog was not only her long lost pal’s twin, but also shared her name and was the exact same age! Though it seemed too crazy to be true, when they met at the shelter, Chloe came bounding out and started licking her face. Nicole knew then that she had to be the same dog she remembered, and when the vet scanned her microchip, it was confirmed! Chloe now lives with Nicole and her daughter (baby and pup have become the best of friends, by the way), and they couldn’t be happier.
With a smile like that, it’s no wonder this cute puppy is named Kodak! You’d never know it from his happy-go-lucky expression, but he was actually rescued from an animal hoarding situation. His new mom saw him and it was puppy love at first sight!
This good boy and his owner are two of a kind with their big, cheerful smiles, and clearly meant for one another. Now that they’re headed towards a bright future, this precious puppy will get all the attention and love he needs, and the sad memories of his past will be long forgotten. Talk about a Kodak moment!
So This is Love
The look of joy on this little dog’s face so clearly shows how delighted he is to have been adopted. As he snuggles close to his new mom, (who looks almost as happy as he does!) you can feel the love between these two blossoming.
This little guy would be a perfect apartment dog because of his compact size. You can find all kinds of dogs at shelters, and by evaluating what your wants and needs are, they can help you find a dog that will be perfect for your life and your family. Who wouldn’t want to experience a moment just like this for themselves?
A Two Way Street
Sometimes we walk into dog shelters and immediately find that perfect puppy that we have been searching for. But sometimes, things don’t exactly work out that way. Instead, sometimes the dog chooses us. And that is exactly what happened when it came to adopting this dog named Sunny.
Sunny’s new best friend posted a picture of him smiling on his way home from the shelter on the day he got adopted. “The thing about resuces is that they aren’t the only ones who get saved,” the post read. “On adoption day, I could’ve picked any other dog, but you were special and you were mine.”
From Raggedy To Riches
We’ve all heard the fairy tales about a rags to riches story. But for this one lucky puppy, this usual bedtime story is his own reality. And this fairy tale started the moment that he got adopted and taken home for a little pampering.
One Reddit user posted these pictures of her brand new shelter puppy named Rusty. She captioned the photos with “The day we first adopted Rusty vs. 4 month after, amazing what some love & TLC does.” And we must admit, living the good life in his new forever home looks amazing on this little, curly haired guy.
We could not think of a better example of “turning that frown upside down” even if we tried. This former shelter dog’s before and after adoption photos really shows how good it must feel for these puppies to finally find a home.
After suffering in a home where he did not receive the love and attention that he deserved, Charlie found himself in a shelter. But after living in a cage, this smiling puppy was finally free to live with a brand new family, who spoil him with love, support, and all of the stuffed ducks that he could ever need. Just look at that happy little face!
Now, those are some puppy eyes if we’ve ever seen them! This puppy named Tucker was adopted by a family who was ready to spoil him rotten. In an album online titled “Ex con gets a new lease on life,” Tucker’s owners show the internet how this puppy went from a life behind bars to a life of absolute freedom.
In the album, Tucker is living the dream. He quickly went from shelter dog to smiling pup, wrapped in warm blankets, passing out on his new couch, riding in cars, and chewing on a brand new bone. Oh, the good life.
Forget taking a road trip with a few friends or family members. This kind of road trip seems so, so much better. One dog lover adopted both of these smiling puppies from their local animal shelter. And if these two pups weren’t smiling in the shelter, that certainly changed when they were given a forever home.
According to the person who uploaded the post, despite the two dogs looking totally different in each picture, they were both taken only two hours apart. As opposed to the shelter, they were both all smiles on the way home. Yes, that’s the kind of affect getting adopted can have on a dog’s life.
Head Over Paws In Love
Is there anything better than one of those before-and-after transformation movie montages where the main character undergoes a full makeover? Surprisingly, there is! And that’s seeing dogs before and after they are finally given the amount of love and care that they truly deserve.
That could not be truer for what happened to this golden puppy. She first arrived at the shelter looking frail and malnourished. But just after a lot of love, some proper feeding, and a good visit to the groomer, her new family has reported back that their puppy is strong, happy, and thriving. Now that’s really the kind of makeover that we love to see.
Smiles For Days
It is amazing to see what a little bit of freedom and love can do for a puppy. But for one dog, being stuck in a shelter did not mean that she couldn’t show off that floppy tongue to all the shelter’s visitors. And it worked!
This black and brown puppy got adopted by a loving family, and is truly living her best life. “I just adopted this sweet girl, Georgia,” one Reddit user wrote. “She was abandoned. Picture on the left is at the shelter and picture on the right is yesterday, coming home from the dog park. She is such a sweetheart.”
A Not-So-Pouty Puppy
Why so serious? When this puppy was photographed at the local animal shelter, he definitely did not seem happy to be there. But he had no idea that soon not only his home would change, but so would his name.
Anyone who has adopted a shelter dog knows that sometimes these dogs come with some pretty strange and unexpected names. And this case is no different. The new parent of this brown pitty wrote that she changed his name from Pumpkin to Pepper, and called him “the goofiest, full-tiltiest dog I’ve ever met!” And judging by how happy he looks, we’ll have to take her word and agree on that one.
No Snout About It
Some adoption stories mean taking a sad moment in a dog’s life and changing it for the better. And for one dog named Georgia, that was definitely the case. Georgia used to live with a family she thought was her forever home, until the family moved homes and left this poor pooch behind.
But after just a few weeks, Georgia was adopted by a new family who say they are there to stay. Just a week after leaving the shelter, Georgia’s new parent wrote that this pup moved to New Jersey “with a mom, dad, and a tubby kitty brother who loves him beyond words. I think he knows.”
One Wonderful Week
A week is enough to change anyone’s life. And for this one adopted dog, a week was enough to change just about everything. In just seven short days, this puppy went from sad to all smiles with his new adoptive family.
A member of his new forever family posted the before and after photos on Reddit alongside a caption that reads, “Meet Fluffycus Augustus Maximus Rex (working on that name). Exactly one week apart,” before writing more about “Fluffycus” harrowing story of escaping a bad home. While the family was originally just going to foster this puppy, they eventually fell in love and now he is there to stay.
This story was originally published on Science101: 30 photos of shelter dogs the moment they get adopted
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