The Autostraddle Guide to Adopting Your Furry Best Friend: Dog Edition

What do queers love more than brunch and body modification? Pets, obviously. If you’re in that post-U-Haul stage, or feeling a furry best friend-sized gap in your life, you might be ready to adopt your very own dog.

Adopting a dog from a shelter offers a lot of perks, including, but not limited to:

+ Sticky kisses as wake-up alarms!
+ Fuzzy cuddles when you’re feeling sad!
+ Unconditional love when the stupid bigoted world is just too much!
+ Dog outfits for themed photoshoots, like Batman Dog or Drag Queen Dog or Chef Dog!
+ One million karma points for giving a needy dog the perfect home!
+ Plus, dogs are chick magnets and once you reveal that your dog is a rescue, you will need chick repellent. I’m serious.

Why adopt instead of buy from a breeder or a pet store?

There are between 6-8 million animals in shelters every year. The sad truth is that 3-4 million of these animals are euthanized. More programs are moving towards non-kill practices, but no-kill shelters are not the majority in the United States. Why is euthanasia such a common practice, and why are there so many animals in shelters? Practices like puppy mills, not getting pets spayed/neutered, and the unnecessary demand for purebred dogs contribute to the problem, as well as potential owners not being fully educated on the needs of their animal. Millions of the animals in shelters have been turned over by irresponsible owners, if not found abandoned or abused. This means that there are many more pets already in need of homes than there are in pet stores. It’s also significantly less expensive to adopt a best friend from the shelter than it is to purchase a purebred from a breeder or store.

So, are you ready for your best friend? Here are some questions you need to ask yourself before getting ready for adoption:

+ If you rent, does your landlord allow dogs? Are there any special circumstances in your building regarding pet ownership?

+  Does your lifestyle fit a new dog? If you’re always on the move, work away from home for long hours, or are planning on moving cross country after adopting, you might not be in the right place for adoption right now. Shelter dogs have already undergone difficult changes and need their new homes to be as stable as possible.

+ Is your living space big enough to comfortably accommodate a dog? Even the smallest dogs need space to play and do their business.

+ Do you have the financial means to cover food, collars, leashes, toys, medical expenses, and anything else a new dog might need? If your new best friend is special needs, he will require more medical help and therefore more financial resources. If you don’t think you’ll be able to afford medical care, there are ways to get help!

+ If you have roommates or live with your partner, have you checked in with them about their responsibilities to the new dog?

+ Are you willing to do the research to make sure you’ve found the right dog for you and your living situation? Make sure you consider factors like small children, time and space for exercise, and how often the dog will have to be alone. Different breeds have different needs, and you owe it to your best friend to make sure they’re met!

+ Are you ready to take on the huge responsibility and lifelong commitment that is owning a dog? Dogs are more than chick magnets and Instagram subjects. They are loyal animals who need your attention and care, and sometimes your discipline.

+ Are you ready to give your new best friend your very best love all of the time?

If you answered “yes” to all of these questions, or are willing to make adjustments to the ones you answered “no,” then congratulations! You’re ready to start looking for a dog.

Sites like Petfinder allow you to search through multiple shelters at once to find the perfect match. Entries will give you pictures, videos, and important information like vaccinations, behavior, and whether or not the dog can handle other pets or children. Shelters make sure they know their tenants inside and out, and they want their dogs to go to the right forever home. Most shelters will have you fill out an application before you can adopt, with relevant questions about your lifestyle, your living arrangements, and prior experience as a pet owner. They’re not trying to psych you out, I promise. They just want to make sure you and your new best friend are the best match possible.

Okay, have you found your best friend? Sweet! Before you can bring him or her or hir (dogs can be queer, whatever) home, make sure you’ve got a few things on hand first:

+ collar, leash, and ID tag – it’s okay if you haven’t picked out a fabulous name yet, you just need your telephone number.
+ dog bed, kennel, or similar safe/sleeping area – ask the shelter what your best friend prefers for sleeping arrangements!
+ dog food appropriate for size and age
+ water and food bowls
+ toys – FYI, you don’t need to buy expensive toys from the pet store, especially since those don’t tend to last very long. Tennis balls, knotted socks, and old jeans tied into ropes all work super well to keep dogs from chewing on things they shouldn’t.

And most importantly, don’t forget to dog-proof your home before your new best friend gets there. Even the mellowest dogs can be stressed by the move, which might mean higher energy behavior like chewing or scratching. How do you dog-proof a house? Imagine you have a baby, but the baby has sharp teeth and claws and likes to chew through electrical cords and knock over fragile things. Pretend that image is not totally terrifying, and proof the house accordingly.

Once your best friend comes home, expect the move to be a bit stressful for them. They might have been housebroken at the shelter, but switching environments might mean they forget to go outside for a while. It’s kind of like how people sometimes pee themselves or throw up during standardized testing. It’s okay if your best friend seems a little shy or uneasy. Transitions are super hard for everyone and adjustment takes time. Before you know it, you’ll be cuddling and dog kissing and waking up in each other’s arms just like it’s the day after a lesbian one night stand. Brunch, anyone?

When you’re both settled in, there’s one more set of steps to follow. Last one. No more bullet points after this, I promise.

+ Spay or neuter your dog! I cannot stress this enough. Spayed/neutered animals live longer and healthier lives, and they’re not contributing to the problems that got them in shelters in the first place. The difference between a fixed and non-fixed dog is incredible in terms of energy and behavior, and it’s so much safer for the dog. But I want puppies, you say. You are not a breeder. Don’t try to be one.
+ Train your dog! Take the time to teach your dog a set of commands. Get your roommates or partner involved so everyone is using the same commands and directions. Tricks are fun and cute, but it’s also important that your best friend comes when they’re called, and can sit and stay for safety.

“Autostraddle Freaking Loves Shelter Dogs” Testimonies

Kate: This is Cooper. Coop is a lab/pitbull mix and the love of my life. Coop was abandoned by his owner in the White Mountains of New Hampshire when he was a few months old. Neighbors called animal control to report the dog being left behind, but Cooper was off and running. The local shelter kept an eye out for him, and got reports of him in and out of the woods. He was a charming scalawag, though, so families liked to leave scraps in their backyard, and restaurants reported him showing up to steal some leftovers before running out. He lived on his own in the wilderness and miraculously survived the winter all by his lonesome. When he was finally brought to the shelter, they removed over 200 ticks from his body. He was bone thin from tapeworms, but still incredibly strong. He has the pittie build — low to the ground and super muscular. People stop me when I walk him to remark on how jacked he is. Cooper was my Christmas present after a really shitty year, and I named him after James Fenimore Cooper because I was writing my thesis and whatever, I am lame. Cooper sleeps on my pillow next to me every night. He cuddles me, gives me wake-up kisses every morning, and literally never stops wagging his tail. I’ve been through a lot of rough shit and Cooper has been there with me, putting his head on my lap when I cry, letting me spoon him when I’m too upset to sleep. I cannot imagine my life without Coop. I rescued him, but Coop saved me.

Carmen: Eli and I have been together since August 19, 2011. Not even one year when I write this, but we’re already at this point where I can’t imagine what it was like not to have Eli. Eli is a Chihuahua-Terrier mix and he’s been described as “perfect,” “soft,” “sweet,” and “really soft.” He’s a small 15 pounds with a lot of spirit and a huge heart. He was abandoned by a family in early July of the year we met and I took him home because the night before I watched a documentary about C-List celebrities and their dogs called My Dog: An Unconditional Love Story. When they put him in the play room at the shelter there were three other people with me and Eli ran directly over to me and jumped into my arms and kissed my face. I love Eli more than anything else in the world.

Someone once described adopting a pet as “taking something someone else didn’t want,” and I got upset, really upset. I saved a life last year and ever since it has brought me deep joy. My life is different. Eli and I both have each other and we both have someone and that is so sweet and amazing and such a miracle. It didn’t matter that he was a mix, that he was potentially not trained, that he jumps on furniture and pulls on the leash. I love him. And so I gave him somewhere to sleep.

Gabrielle: Hey guys, this is Kimberly. She only had the party hat on for this picture, because it was my birthday, I promise. I’ve had her for about a year, and she’s nine years young. My girlfriend and I adopted her from a local rescue where she was anonymously dropped off by someone running an illegal backyard breeding operation. Kimberly had been in a cage for her entire life, and since she’s kind of a fancy dog, a toy poodle bichon, she probably was forced to have like, a million puppies. Sometimes I think about how they were taken away from her and sold to rich people and I cry. Anyway, when we first got her, she was in really bad shape. She had such a bad mouth infection that we had to have most of her teeth removed (now she only eats wet food). She could barely walk, and she wouldn’t eat or drink water. She wouldn’t even defecate until several days after living with us. We essentially had to teach her how to be a dog. It was really challenging but also really rewarding. She didn’t even know what grass was! And now one of her favorite things is rolling in it. Since she didn’t understand how to play with toys, we put them in a bag of treats over night to entice her with the smell, which worked like magic. Since she was never house trained, she pees up to 10 times a day, so we’ve had a lot of luck with wee wee pads rather than trying to take her out every hour. Also, she’s a bundle of anxiety, and is afraid of things like black garbage bags, noise in general, the dark, stairs, solitude, the outside, strangers, rain, etc. But recently she’s been getting much braver and will approach the things that scare her while making a noise that sounds kind of like a telephone ringing while wagging her tail. She’s also the cuddliest creature of all time, which is how she earned the name Colonel Cuddleton. In the past year, she’s gained 2.5 pounds (which is a lot considering she was only 5 pounds a year ago). She still can’t walk up stairs or jump on and off furniture (she doesn’t know how to land, she literally just catches herself with her face on the ground) but she’s grown into the sassiest, sweetest, most lovable little bear in the world.

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Full-time writer, part-time lover, freelancing in fancy cheese and cider.

Kate has written 130 articles for us.


  1. While I love me some dogs and have two at home in my parents house (no dogs allowed in my apartment) I have to say I’ve found the biggest chick magnet to be my ferret. Or people magnet in general, really, you can not go out with a ferret and not be stopped every five seconds by people wondering what the heck you have at the end of that leash.

    • I’ve always wanted a ferret, I would totally be freaking out with joy if I saw one on a leash

  2. My dog died last year and I am still completely heartbroken… it’s been hard for my non-pet friends to understand the grief, too.

    This might be a bit inappropriate for an adoption post, don’t mean to bring it down! I just feel a big lump in my throat when I see people cuddling their doggies.

  3. OMG I have so many feelings. My rescue dog, Sebastian, is basically the only topic I ever talk about. He’s currently snoring on his futon (yes, he has his own person futon in my living room). He’s a white pit bull with a few brindle spots, including one that forms a heart eye patch when he’s sleeping. Also, he has a chunk missing from his left ear. I think someone tried to crop his ears and didn’t do a very good job because the one is always up and the other is always down. He loves playing the hose game (evidence! ) and is an excellent snuggler. I have literally ended friendships because people bought a puppy from a breeder instead of adopting a dog from a shelter or rescue. I know this comment is getting out of control, but I just really love dogs, you guys, and I’ve had a lot of coffee, so. Pro tip: most shelters will let you give a dog you’re in the process of adopting a toy or some sort of cuddle situation. Get your smell all over that sucker, and it will help a lot with the potentially stressful transition between the shelter and your home.

    • Ohmygosh. That video is adorable. He’s so freaking cute. My Loki doesn’t really know what to do with hoses and water not in a bowl. Also, is there supposed to be no sound? Or is my computer just freaking out?

      • Aww, thanks!

        I turned off the sound because there were some annoying kids riding bikes and screaming nearby.

    • What a cool little guy! He looks so happy. My dog hates all forms of water so I could never play this with him unfortunately.

  4. “Before you know it, you’ll be cuddling and dog kissing and waking up in each other’s arms just like it’s the day after a lesbian one night stand. Brunch, anyone?”

    Love! This!

  5. I’ve always had a dog from since I was little, and was heartbroken each time I lost one. There’s a little saying that’s been floating around those ‘kitch magazines’ lately painted on a plaque; ‘It came to me that every time I lose a dog, they take a piece of my heart with them. And every new dog who comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough, all the components of my heart will be dog and I will become as generous and loving as they are.’

    My girlfriend and I already know that when we can finally live together we’ll have a dog in addition to a cat or two. I cannot wait for this day to come.

  6. I’m really happy about all the pitties in this post. I freaking love pit bulls. My Loki is pit/boxer mix rescue and is freaking awesome and I’m about to foster another red nosed pit and I’m really excited about it. Seriously guys, if you’re looking for a dog and can handle a bigger one with a fair amount of energy, get a pit or a pit mix. They are the sweetest things ever and so freaking smart (meaning easy to train).

    • red nosed pits are the cutest!! i want to foster dogs when i have an actual house and some semblance of a stable life situation

    • I’ve known some incredible pits. Some of the most well behaved and sweetest dogs I’ve met! They definitely get a bad rap.

    • We have a pit bull/rottie rescue named Rudy, he’s all red and is taller like a rottie, he’s the best dog ever. We adopted him from the vet, someone dumped him there are sickly and they helped him for free, I couldn’t resist him so I took him home where he is ruled by 2 senior cats and loved by all.

      Even if you don’t have the time/space to adopt, there’s a lot one person can do…foster a dog for a little while, volunteer to walk dogs at the shelter, donate a few $$$ (we know how that works!) or even just like/share shelter type stuff on FB.

    • word. APBTs for life! if anyone’s interested in adopting a pitty i highly suggest going for a black one; they’re almost always the first to be euth’d in kill shelters, unfortunately. something about “aggressive appearances” or some bull. adopting any pitty is a win in my book though!

  7. Once I get my own place I plan to adopt and even though it’s a while away I’m still super excited.

  8. oh my goodness this article and the comments are slaying me. my dog paddy (sort for padraig because he is an irishman you know) is one of the best things to ever happen to me. he scares off cat callers, is one of my few comforts during a panic attack, became a fixture at therapy sessions and just provides an unconditional love i didn’t know could exist. our family adopted him in my freshman year of high school and i spent the next two years coming home every lunch hour to take care of him. i’m getting far too verbose here but i cannot express how wonderful it is to have an animal in your life. thank you for this article! i hope it inspires a bunch of people to adopt some animals in need of a good home.

  9. Awesome, awesome post! I love most dogs more than most people. I loved all the great pictures too. Kimberly in that hat is such a cutie.
    My other favorite pets are guinea pigs, I had one when I was a kid that traveled with my family on the road from Washington to Arizona and then up here to Alaska. So she was a very experienced little gal.

  10. I WANT A DOG SO BAD IT’S RIDICULOUS. Too bad I’m a poor college student living in dorms.

  11. Just wanted to say that speutering is not always the ‘healthier’ option. If you don’t think you can handle the responsibility of keeping an intact animal from reproducing, than by all means, have your dog altered. But I hate all of the misinformation out there stating that it’s so much healthier for them. Yes, neutering means no testicular cancer…but there have been studies that show it may actually increase the risk of prostate cancer. If an intact dog gets testicular cancer it’s very easy to just castrate the dog. Prostate cancer is usually harder to treat. Early spay/neuter has also been linked to increased incidence of osteosarcoma and ccl injuries as well as higher rates of utis and incontinence. Are their benefits to speutering? Sure. But I hate seeing it blindly labeled as the right thing to do for all dogs. in all cases. ever.

    I also want to point out that buying from a reputable breeder is in no way a lesser option than adopting from a rescue or shelter. I have yet to meet one responsible breeder who was not in some way involved with rescue. They might foster, transport or donate their time and/or money.

    Breeders have a lot to do with advances in healthcare as well. A lot of the research that has been done to help understand and prevent canine illnesses would not have been possible without the support reputable breeders give to those causes.

    Sorry for being all ranty. I work in the shelter system and the majority of the people I work around demonize breeders and seem to think people who keep intact animals should be stoned. It just gets really old listening to them harp about what horrid people breeders are when the breeders I know do just as much to help dogs as they do.

    • My dog Bentley has a puppy playdate on Wednesday thanks to the Boston Autostraddle group!!

  12. While adopting a dog is an AWESOME thing to do, I do hope people follow your advice and think long and hard before adopting – you might never know what kind of trauma the poor thing has been through before you came along, and a dog who’s not 100% stable/cared for could be potentially so very dangerous (esp mixed-breeds, a lot of unknown factors there!). Seriously, I’ve seen some really bad cases, and it’s so heartbreaking. That said, probably 99% of rescues can become incredible well-behaved cuddly friends for life with correct training, but PLEASE be completely sure you’re prepared to take on that responsibility. Training, training, trainingggg!!! (Really that goes for any dog tho, adopted or not)

    I have acquaintances (don’t wanna call ’em friends…) who’ve adopted several dogs because 1) they’re cheaper ofc & 2) they think they’re doing a good thing, but then they neglect training them – at this point, I avoid visiting their houses because those poor dogs are completely unpredictable and frankly dangerous. It’s so sad to see what they’ve been turned into, because if they’d been adopted by someone else they could have been excellent family dogs, but now…yeah, I wouldn’t let children anywhere near them.


    • Gah, yes TRAINING. PLEASE TRAIN. It can make all the difference in the world, especially with smaller, usually more harder to train breeds people love to have as companions. I’m not saying you don’t need to take your lab mix to a class (because you do), but I cannot begin to count how many small, horribly behaved dogs I’ve seen in the city. Just because it fits in a purse doesn’t mean it’s exempt from needing manners. For whatever reason a lot of people think otherwise.

      Sorry, this is a happy article but seeing as I’ve been at the vet several times this month and I’ve watched quite a few little dogs completely lose it and their owners have clearly not bothered to train them it’s been on my mind lately. Especially since I was sitting there with a very patient 16lb cat on a harness and leash (none of the dogs were reacting to my cat, btw, they were just being terrors to anyone who came near them).

  13. I’m happy with my cat, but in the future once I get a house with a yard I want to get a Rottweiler or Husky. I love big dogs, my rottweiler/lab mix was 100+lbs of lap dog.

  14. My wife adopted a beautiful Australian Shepherd before we got together. He has since adopted me. This dog is my life. We throw him a birthday party every year and I bake him a peanut butter birthday cake. He is 13 now and I am terrified of losing him. Yesterday we went on a hike and my lady let him off leash. I was exploring a lower path and he and his other mom were exploring a higher path when he saw me down below him and decided to jump off a 8 foot cliff to get to me. Poor guy landed on his face, jumped up and ran over to me. Miraculously, he was totally fine! It made me cry, but he acted like it was the best adventure ever. I love my rescue pup!

  15. Yay for a dog post! I love kittens, don’t get me wrong, but I wasn’t feeling the dog love from Autostraddle.

    I have a rat terrier named Juniper that I adopted from a couple that had a new baby and couldn’t take care of her anymore. She’s 11 years old and is the most adorable thing. When she wants to play she climbs on my lap and literally does somersaults.

  16. yay adopted dogs! we adopted my dog a little over two years ago. she replaced me when I left for college haha. We’re not totally sure how old she is, but she’s about eight or nine. When we first got her she was terrified of everything and spent all her time with her tail curled up between her legs. But now she comes over to us and pokes us with her face so we’ll scratch her neck! She’s so cute <3

  17. Me and my roommate did not follow any of this advice when we got our dog–we didn’t talk about it, we didn’t plan; I didn’t even know we were getting her until my roommate showed up at the door with a tiny puppy (she was a gift to my roomie). Luckily, I am a big animal lover and quickly fell in love with her–but DON’T DO WHAT WE DID! It could have ended badly.
    Now my dog Xochi is the sweetest pet you could ever have. She’s a schnauzer maltese mix (and I didn’t even like small dogs before we got her!) and she loves everyone and she’s always happy to see me. It’s a nice change of pace from my cat, who is mean and hates everyone (I also love him, but it’s different, you know?).
    Dogs are the best!

  18. Excellent article! I’m a dog trainer, dog walker, and dog rescuer ad love seein dog related stuff on AS. My number one advice for new dog owners is please please please hire a reputable dog trainer! You can even get a trainer to help you evaluate potential dogs to make sure you get the best match.
    Also if your thinking about getting a pit bull BAD RAP(bay area dog owners responsible about pit bulls) has a ton of really great info and resources on their website Educate yourself!

  19. I… I just really, really love dogs. I work at a shelter and see dogs (and cats, for that matter) I want to take home every single day. I moved apartments mid-semester so that I could keep my 12 year old Shih Tzu Lhasa mix whose previous owner could no longer care for him. I adore him, despite his vet bills. Nothing is a better ice breaker or heart mender than a dog. DOGS.


    I got my dog from the streets of Puetro Vallarta We were sitting on the beach one day, and this super cute beach dog came wagging up to us and asked for food. Which is pretty standard practice in PV, except this one stayed and sat next to us all afternoon. Then when we got up to leave, she followed us, and we were like, “well, looks like we have a dog now.”

  21. One more voice saying that pet stores and breeders aren’t the same. Good breeders (i.e. people who love their dogs with an insane passion and are insanely knowledgeable and care about temperament and health before anything else) are doing good things by breeding sound dogs with great socialization. Bad breeders are useless at best, seriously damaging at worst. Pet stores are selling dogs who are nearly impossible to house train and have terrible socialization and likely to have breeding related problems.

    Also, book recommendations: start with The Other End of the Leash, but also look for comprehensive guides to training. Sirius has a good rep.

    Also also: take your dog to class! Makes a huge huge difference.

  22. Yayayayay dogs. My rescue lab mix is the best. Also, there is a dog with my name. I would find that super weird if she wasn’t so damn cute.

  23. PLEASE SPAY YOUR DOG AS SOON AS YOU ARE ABLE or you will have the problem my parents have with our dog lilly who is apparently the horniest dog in alabama and every goddamn time we try and spay her she’s pregnant again

  24. Byaayyyyy! I LOVE this post. +2950359 brownie points for Auto.

    I’m a pet photographer so I spend a lot of time photographing homeless dogs at the shelter to help their chances of adoption. There are sooo many sweet dogs out there that need homes, it’s for real girls, your best dog friend is waiting for you.

    Shameless plug for all you rescue fiends:

    I also maayyyy have just posted a video of the most ADORABLE Pekingese rescue puppies I puppysat last weekend on facebook. If you’re into that thing. Rescues can be purebreds too yo!

    • I LOVE your photographs! And those peke puppies are ridiculous! I’ve fostered for Family Dog before and am good friends with Kay from Loup Garou. I love when my worlds collide : )

      • @caitlin thank you! I have some pretty cute models.

        @Luccia – haaaayyy worlds collide for sure, I know Kay too! I am guessing you’re the Luccia she has told me so much about. When I was struggling with one of my rescues that couldn’t be saved (he was dog and people aggressive and had major separation anxiety to the point that he would injure himself) she told me about a Luccia that had gone through a similar situation and was going to have us meet up at some point. I was kind of a mess during that time so I didn’t follow up on it. Rescue can be so hard sometimes because it’s true that you can’t save them all. But the ones you save make it so worth it.

        • Yes, I am that Lucia! I remember Kay telling me about your situation, I’m so sorry you had to go through that. Dealing with that with my own dog was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, and probably ever will do. Have you seen this article yet?:
          It was hard to read, but it’s nice to get some outside validation that our tough choices were the right ones. The dogs we can save definitely make it worth it. I feel like trying harder for the ones I can fix will maybe eventually help erase some of the pain from the ones I can’t, you know?

          • I did see that post, it hit close to home, like right in the heart. :( It’s true though. That was one of the hardest realizations with my dog (Stew), all the sudden I understood that despite my every effort and how much I loved him, he really wasn’t happy or comfortable. I was trying to help him, but I couldn’t save him from whatever was happening in his head. I couldn’t make him happy or take back whatever happened to him. As he passed on, he finally lost his stressed out eyebrows and looked a peace for the first time I had seen. It was the most heartbreaking thing I’ve gone through with a pet, but I know it was for the best. I thought I could NEVER do rescue again after that, it hurt so bad, but I did and it just makes everything worth it when you see them find their forever home. Big hugs to you Lucia, I’m sure we’ll cross paths in person sometime soon.

  25. Excellent! I’ve been hoping AS would post an article on this subject. Love all the pit lovin’ as well; it’s like a breath of fresh air from what I’m used to hearing.

  26. My ex-girlfriend/ex-roommate (don’t ask) had a miniature dachshund (who might have actually been some sort of blend, e.g. chiweenie–his legs aren’t THAT short) and I had never really liked dogs before BUT I LOVED HIM SO MUCH. When I moved out I wanted to steal him and before he came into my life I missed him so bad.

    Anyway, when I move to a first floor apt in this complex with a little backyard I want to rescue a dachshund. They are the best.

    • I’m not a big dog fan, either, but 90% of the exceptions have been dachshunds. My favorite was named Cookie, was like a sausage on tiny legs and, no lie, mooed when he was happy. Mooed!

      • Oh my god I want one JUST LIKE IT. The dachsie I have loved was named Beegee and I called him Beej. Which is inappropriate. He was the best little spoon I’ve ever spooned.

  27. Aahh, Gabrielle, that is so great that your dog situation is working out okay. When my girlfriend and I went to the shelter to adopt our lovable rascal, the first dog we spent time with had also been dropped off from a puppy mill. She was an unbelievably beautiful pup whom we watched play happily and adorably with her roommates before we got to take her outside . . . but then it turned out she just did not know how to interact with people or the outside world at all. Wouldn’t climb stairs. No response to anything we or the shelter staff did. Apparently she’d actually begun the adoption process with another woman who brought her back after only a week because she couldn’t handle the stairs of the apartment or make any progress in being house trained. Being apartment-dwellers with full-time jobs, we had to go with a dog who needed less help learning to do normal dog stuff, but I do think about that other one and hope that she found the right situation. Anyway, this is all just to say that it’s really wonderful to know that it’s possible to reverse some of that kind of damage.

    • It’s definitely possible to reverse the damage, but it’s good that you decided to go with a dog whose temperament and history matches the pace of your life. I was working part time when I got Kimberly, and now I work from home, so that has totally made a huge difference in her progress. I don’t think I could have gotten her if I wasn’t in a position to become a full-time puppy cuddler.


    While I do not currently have a shelter dog (I have a shelter Maine Coon, which is like having a shelter dog but that’s another story), I am looking right now. Things need to line up in the next week or so for me to pull the trigger on it, so I’ve become that horribly impatient person who refreshes Petfinder every day and lurks around etsy for cute collars and tags. It’s bad, guys.

    Non-Shelter Dog Story: We got the family dog three days after we suddenly had to put the old family dog down. After the third day of not having our lab my brother and I both got home from school and told our mom “It’s really weird now that Molly’s gone, no one’s here to greet us when we get home.” :( So we ambushed my dad at like seven at night and at around nine ended up in someone strangers backyard an hour away were we picked up the first puppy that fell asleep on my brother’s foot. And now she’s seven but she acts like a five year old child who wants to hang out with her big siblings all the time and has adopted at kitten she sleeps with at night. She also has her own recliner in the living room.

  29. Brilliant, brilliant timing! I just rescued a boxer-pug mix three days ago and she is the most affectionate creature I have ever encountered, despite having spent the first nine months of her life literally living in an overturned garbage can. Not ashamed to admit that I cried when I had to leave Idgie Threadgoode to go to work today…why is puppy maternity leave not a thing yet?!

  30. We have an Alaskan Malamute now but if we get another puppeh (a friend for her or if she ever leaves us) it will be a rescue dog. Hopefully this time a puppeh who understands its own size when it gallops through the house like a tornado… well, a galloping tornado. On crack. ^_^;

  31. I love (my) dogs!!! we should all post pics of our best mates or something like that, it’d be cool

    and I’m happy you guys are supporting the adoption of shelter dogs, so many doggies still need cool owners :/

  32. My rescue pup has brought so much joy into my life. She was so neglected that by the time I got her at 5 months, she had never been indoors, and her little puppy collar had grown into the skin of her neck. Training her (intensively!) was so worth the effort, and there is nothing better in the world than rescuing your best friend.
    My biggest piece of advice is make sure you have a LOT of money available to spend, because freak accidents and emergencies happen. I had 500 dollars put back for any sort of issues aside from vet check-ups and vaccinations, but it wasn’t enough. Only a week after I rescued her, some random Kamikaze cat jumped out of a bush and attacked her while we were on a walk. The cat shredded her poor eye, and several surgeries and emergency vet fees later, I owed over $2,000 dollars for a puppy I had only had for days. Not to mention the emotional and physical burden. I had to carry that little overgrown teenager puppy up and down the steps several times a day, while also having a constant emotional breakdown because her post-op recovery time took two months, and it was two months of her crying and panting and being absolutely miserable instead of being a regular puppy. It broke my fucking heart in two. Then, after several expensive yeast infections later, we find out she has horrendous food allergies. So she is the most expensive dog ever!
    Although I know that me and my dog have had some ridiculously horrible luck, all I am saying is that commitment to adopting an animal starts at day one. And you have to be prepared for anything and everything, because they are your family and are relying on you to give them the world. They will give you the world back, but sometimes there are some hurdles to cross first :)

    • Two words. Pet insurance. My day job gives me pet insurance (no joke) for a small fee. And while it may prove to be useless because apparently my cat is made of bionic steel (I’ve witnessed him fall 12 feet from the second floor of my apartment and prance jauntily back up the stairs as if he totally meant to do it), it buys me peace of mind knowing that I’ll be able to cover it if he ever does get seriously hurt or sick.

  33. This is great!! Carlytron and I love our little rescued schnauzer Arthur!! He had his issues, but what makes adopting so rewarding is you watch them become completely new animals, with your love and support. :) Adopt a pet!!!!

  34. My partner and I adopted our son Theodore two years ago from a woman who was going to have them put down because they were a litter of “mutts”.

    I don’t know what i’d do without him today xoxo

  35. We got my little mongrel Seymour from a shelter at 2 weeks old. My Dad wasn’t going to let me have him because he would have been so much hassle at 2 weeks. I was 8 years old, and I woke up every morning at 6am for 3 weeks, two hours before I’d have to go to school to feed him milk through a syringe. Now he’s 7, the best thing to spoon ever (although he takes up more room in the bed than I do with his fat ass), greatest feet warmer in the winter in history, grumpy towards everyone but me, has a gammy back leg that stops working if he’s been on it for too long, and blind in his right eye from when he thought it would be a goood idea to try and make friend’s with the neighbour’s cat. I love him so much <3

  36. Even though she was technically from the puppy mill, Bugsy was a rescue. My dad had stopped by the pet store on Christmas eve to buy treats for our other dog, when he found out they were going to euthanize a yellow lab puppy that had grown to big for her cage. So, being my father, he bought her and brought her home without telling anyone. We had to teach her how to be a dog. She could barely even walk, let alone tackle the steps. She ran all lopsided, and she chewed on everything. She’s so damn loyal, and so insanely hyperactive, and she eats EVERYTHING. Basically, she’s Marley. She will drag your ass across the entire neighborhood on a walk, but the second you let go of the leash she sits and whines for you to come get her. My other dog is a total mutt, and 10 years old. She wasn’t weaned right, so she can’t eat most dry food. While Bugsy will plow you (and any nearby toddlers) over with her love, Sandy’s quiet and gentle. She takes hours to walk, because she takes her sweet time and stops to smell every single blade of grass. She doesn’t tackle or whine or break things. She always seems so shy when she wants to be petted. She doesn’t wag her tail. She wags her entire back half.

  37. The worst part about adopting a dog is that you become ridiculously obsessed. Showing-photos-to-strangers-when-drunk-or-not-drunk-at-all obsessed.

    St. Louis is fortunate to have a bangarang no-kill shelter called Stray Rescue, which encourages people to foster dogs so they can experience normal, comfortable lives while waiting to be adopted. I had fostered Vince for a month when I was informed that someone was interested in adopting. Took me about ten seconds to dibs; we’ve been BFF ever since. Kind of like a Lucille-Buster relationship. Borderline unhealthy.

    Anyway, check to see if your city has an organization as awesome as SR, which offers free one-on-one training for life and a foster program so you can test the waters. Yay dogs!

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