From Bentley’s mom:
We adopted Bentley when he was only 6 weeks old. We found a rescue that had rescued the momma pup from being abandoned and was left tied to a tree with a boat chain. Shortly after the momma pup was rescued, she had this litter of adorable pups. Even though we fell in love with his photo online, we actually weren’t sure if we wanted a boy or girl so the rescue was nice enough to bring over the whole litter of pups for us to meet them! A few days later they brought over the litter of pups and there he was, this tiny adorable brindle pup. Just spunky enough, just snuggly enough, and holy moly so tiny! It was love at first snuggle . Our family grew by 4 adorable paws. I’ve never met a dog who didn’t like being outside or enjoying sunshine, but geez is he the best snuggler. He doesn't care much for toys, if it were up to him he would just tear apart boxes all the time but he can never get enough cheese or treats! He’s the happiest pup when he has someone to snuggle and a blanket to hide under. He’ll follow you all around the house and he’ll scream as loud as he can when you get home because he’s so excited to see you.
He’s our baby and he’s had us wrapped around his little paws since the first day he came home. Bentley is the reason behind this whole project! His momma and he and all of his little pup brothers and sisters deserved and got a second chance at life and because of Bentley and our immense love for him, we wanted to share his story in hopes of others adopting a pup that brings them as much happiness as he brings to us.
*Today (August 12th, the day this was published) is actually Bentley’s 8th birthday! So happy to share his story with you.
From Kayla’s mom:
Kayla came into our lives just 2 years ago, she was about 3 years old then. The spunkiest and most energetic 3 year old pup I’ve ever seen. I was out with Bentley, our other pup, making a dog food donation to a rescue in Loxahatchee that was suggested to us by a friend. I drove up and Bentley and I got out and while I was chatting with some of the guys working at the rescue that day Bentley was trying to socialize with the pups through the fence. The guy asked if we had ever considered a second pup, and we had, but we were being kind of specific. We wanted an older pup who was over the puppy stage, a female and most importantly we wanted to adopt a pup that had been overlooked and no one had wanted. He told me to hold on a minute and walked towards one of the kennels. And then out came Kayla and my heart sank. She was this little black pup who was just happy to be out and playing. She was the first dog the rescue rescued when they first opened and even though they had taken her to adoption events and met with potential adopters, nothing ever worked. I was blown away, how was that possible. She had a horrible start to life before the rescue found her. She had had puppies that were taken from her, had been beaten up by other dogs, and yet she was as sweet as could be. She would just look at you with this “i’m just happy to be here face.”
We did a meet and greet, but Bentley being the cat like dog that he is was not amused so we had them bring her to our house for a meet and greet on his own turf. Once again, still not too impressed but that’s normal for him. We set up a foster to adopt situation, even though something would have had to have gone seriously wrong for us to not foster fail. We knew it. She came into our house and we just knew. 2 years later and every day she still looks at us with “i’m just happy to be here face” and it just melts your heart.
From Nala's dad:
March 22, 2016, just your typical Tuesday morning for me. That day sticks out to me more than any other Tuesday, simply because that day I almost had the most traumatic experience. I’m driving to a disturbance call near marlins stadium. Just my partner and I in the car. Windows down and having your typical conversations as a cop, what’s your favorite donut. Who remember these conversations? Something so dumb, pointless and honestly just a time filler. Well I do, just because during that conversation en route to that call I would almost run over a six week old puppy crossing the street. I slammed on my breaks and turned on my over headlights and legitimately ran to the puppy. My partner would make jokes saying that was the only time I have ever showed hustle on the job. I remember picking her up and immediately falling in love with her. At that very moment I know I was going to be in a lot of trouble with my superiors because I was going to either have a dog in my patrol car all day or I was going to leave early. Either way, no one was taking her away from me. My partner was on my back telling me that we had to go to the call just leave her on the side of the road. So naturally, I picked up the radio “Miami, cancel me from that call and place me at this location.” Little did anyone know, for the next 4 hours I would be stopped on the street trying to find ways to get this dog to my house. I called my parents, brothers, sister in laws and finally my girlfriend at the time. She was a sucker for dogs just like I was. Well needless to say, she came to pick her up and here I am almost two years later and this dog is more than just that. While she drives me crazy more often than not, it’s hard to imagine my life without her right now. I may have lost a lot of socks, Oakley’s, shoes, hats, prepped meals etc etc but I did gain an angel; even if that halo is being held up with little doggy horns.
From Archer's Momma:
I was scrolling through Facebook on a lunch break at work when a video from the Gwinnett County Animal Control page caught my eye. It was this short, uncoordinated, white and tan pitbull on their “death row” post. I clicked on the link and watched the video maybe ten times in a row while crying my eyes out. His “description” read - Male Pitbull - 2 years old, found stray. And at the bottom- “Will do anything for a good ole tennis ball.”
He was on the urgent list as the shelter was filling up and he had been passed over due to his “aggressive breed” We went up to the shelter the very next day to meet him. They brought him out and the shelter worker stated “He pees on everything so be careful.” He led us out to the fenced in, concrete play yard with tennis ball in hand and anxiously waited to meet him.
A few moments later the door swings open and this filthy, wide eyed pitbull is dragging the animal control officer down the sidewalk.
At first I was hesitant. He sat and he let us rub his head and he chased the tennis ball. Then he flops over for a belly rub. We fell in love. We spent a few more minutes with him and then went to fill out the adoption paperwork. That was that. He was to join our family!
We brought him home a few days later after his adoption process was complete. At first he had absolutely no personality. He was basically “institutionalized” No tail wags, no cuddles, nothing - he simply just watched what everyone else was doing. He did however love our other two rescue dogs Ellie Mae and Dexter. They got along great from the start- which comforted me. He had a huge brown stain around his neck which I was guessing was stained from a large leather collar. That took a few weeks to get the stain completely out of his fur.
I’ll never forget when his personality started to peek through. About a month after we adopted him, in the middle of the night he was having what I can only assume was a nightmare. He kept crying and barking in his sleep. He woke up, walked to my side of the bed and nudged me with his nose. I patted his head, told him everything was going to be fine and he walked back to his bed and went to sleep. It’s like he knew he was safe. After that night we noticed him wanting to be around us more, then the tail wags began- a completely different dog from that first day. He’s been a huge part of our family and we can’t imagine life without him!
From Bella's Mom:
My funny, crazy, loving, protective, curious, sweet, playful & full of kisses Bella!
Bella & her seven siblings were found in a drainage tunnel near the Miami Dolphin stadium when they were just little pups. A family friend found six in the storm drain and another lady found two that got out walking nearby. The puppies parents ran off. Word had spread & I was asked if I wanted one but it wasn’t even a question once I saw the puppies! There were 4 girls & 2 boys, I kept one of the girls who became Bella. The best part is we were able to keep the six siblings among our family friends so they all get to visit each other & stay close 🤗. Keeping Bella is one of the best decisions I’ve made! ❤️
From Bruce's Mom:
The idea of getting a new dog came when Juan, my boyfriend at the time, and I where hiking in North Carolina. We came across a beautiful blue German Shepard and from that moment on Juan was on a mission to find a Blue German Shepard. While he was going crazy looking for that specific dog I was on rescue sites trying to convince him to rescue a pup.
I remember putting together an even with Jamies Rescue when I worked at Reebok Crossfit Miami Beach. So when we got back to Miami I searched on her website and sure enough, she had puppies that were thought to be German Shepard mix. I quickly filled out one of her applications to adopt a pup and sent it in.
I knew my chance of convincing Juan to rescue a pup would be much higher if he was face to face with these adorable puppies. I didn't tell him right away what I was scheming, I just told him I had a surprise for him and we drove to Jamies Rescue.
Once we got there I told him about the German Shepard mix puppies and I just saw his eyes light up.
As soon as we stepped on to the property there were all kinds of dog everywhere ( this rescue is cage free and the dogs get to roam around the property). Jamie took us to the back of the property where she has a little fenced in area for the puppies. There we met Lena, a Labrador mix, and her 11 puppies. At that moment the ideal of buying a pure bread dog from a puppy mill was finally off of Juan's mind. While there were so many energetic puppies, there was this one puppy in the corner, quiet and by himself. We fell in love this this puppy and would name him Bruce.
Being that it was initially Juan's idea to get a pup, it was only fair that Bruce would live with him... that and my parents warned me, I was not allowed to get another pup, as I already had two. The day after Bruce had gone home with Juan, we find out Juan's brother is allergic to Bruce and the pup cannot stay there.
I brought Bruce home of course, my parents were less than thrilled to say the least but how can you say no to his precious little face?!
When Bruce was 5 months I enrolled him in puppy training classes. He thrived! He quickly learned commands and he was just so eager to please. He has now completed 3 courses- Puppy Training, Intermediate training, and the Tricks Course. He is doing great and shows potential to become a therapy dog!
From Kona's mom:
So i was originally looking at adopting a cat but i couldn’t really find one i wanted, or one that i was crazy about. so i got on craigslist and pretty much just started torturing myself with ads regarding puppy pitbulls. my first attempt at adopting an all white male pit fell through. then i woke up the morning of April 4th 2017, checked craigslist and saw an ad for a 5 month old blue brindle pit looking to get re-homed. i looked at the two pictures provided and all i saw were these two big bunny ears and i pretty much melted. i replied to his ad asking if he was still available and pretty much later that day i was meeting up with them to adopt him. the family i got him off lived in Lakeland, about an hour, hour and a half from where i lived in Orlando, and lived in a mobile home community. once there, Sondra brought out ‘Caesar’ and her young daughter outside, and instantly i died. he was all ears, and could barely manage to keep them upright. we gathered his things and my roommate helped pack them into my car while i bonded with Caesar and her daughter. she wasn’t fully aware of what was going on till her mom told her to say goodbye to him. she asked why, and that’s when i found out that the mother was going through medical issues, because that’s when Sondra responded with “mommy’s sick and has to have a lot of surgeries.” i could tell that they didn’t really intend on ever giving him away, but just kinda had to, given the circumstances. just minutes before leaving, the dad had come home, just in time to cup caesars head in between both hands and give him a good shake goodbye. overall, i could tell that they had taken good care of caesar and till this day i send them monthly updates with plenty of pictures of kona, to let them know he’s in great hands."
(& while Sondra gave me permission to change him name, i still haven’t told them because i don’t have the heart to)
"as for kona, he tested my patience a great deal when i brought him home. i had zero idea puppies could hold so much pee. i couldn’t get through a single episode of The Voice without stopping to let him out or clean up piss at least 20 times. i had to monitor his water intake and cut him off by 7pm most nights, because otherwise i’d have to get up 6 times throughout the night instead of just 3. but other than that, he was well trained. he wouldn’t eat until told to “get it”, he was always unbelievably sweet and gentle with younger kids, and has always been friendly with other dogs and people. we went to the dog park nearly every day and he was the star of the show pretty much anywhere we went. he’d ride passenger seat with me everywhere with the windows down, and i honestly couldn’t tell you how many times people would drive next to me or pull up beside me and compliment him. while he loves swimming, he has yet to learn his limit, because most times he goes under, just enough to give me a heart attack before he realizes he’s about to die. he loves all dogs, big or small, and he’s amazing with kittens. he licks and plays with our 3 backyard kittens everyday. he’s more than spoiled by his grandma, who shares her king size bed with him every night and now that he’s potty trained, he’s pretty close to perfect. i truthfully don’t ever see myself adopting any other kinda breed except a pitbull.
From Connor's mom:
I adopted Connor when he was barely a year old. He was a shy, timid, and an overall scared little boy. But he quickly warmed up to me and my family, and we fell in love with his quirky personality. He just turned 13, and in the 12 years I’ve had him... he’s known nothing besides love! I take him everywhere I can, and he loves spending time on walks or eating. He’s playful, energetic, and super silly. I know I can say I rescued him, but that’d be only partially true. This little guy rescued me, too.
Remember Kona the craigslist pup? Meet his new sister Kyra!
From Kyra's mom:
My girlfriend and I had originally gone into the shelter to turn in kittens we had been fostering for a few weeks. Once turned in, we decided to walk the dog kennels to torture ourselves a little, and instantly came across this terrier mix. She was terrified in the back corner of her kennel, shaking, and looking at us with the saddest eyes. Knowing that the potential to get another dog was a possible option.. with the approval of my mom first. We called her instantly and gave her the backstory on the dog. She agreed to see her the next day.
The next afternoon we went to the shelter and I showed my mom the dog and her heart broke for her. Still in the same corner, shaking, with the saddest eyes. I went to see the availability on her, and she had a hold until 5, meaning that if the adopters didn’t come before 5 to claim her, we could adopt her. Considering it was around 3:30 and my mom didn’t really look at any other dog besides her, we waited to see if the adopters would showed up and looked around for a possible second option.
5 kennels down was Kyra. Originally named Izzy and a stray intake, she was sweet and very friendly, as noted on her kennel card. She had the sleepiest and sweetest eyes, and seemed timid but very trusting.
Luckily that day, both dogs got adopted, and in Kyra’s case, being the second option was probably one of the best things to ever happen to her. She now sleeps in one of the biggest dog beds I’ve ever seen, and gets spoiled daily by her grandmother. She’s sister to multiple felines and big sister to Kona. She’s the clumsiest, most forgiving, and sweetest edition to our family.
From their mom:
Maui’s story - I really wanted to adopt a pit. So I started looking on Craigslist every morning at the pit bulls that were getting listed because people could no longer take care of them. One morning I saw a post with Maui’s picture. I fell for his cute little face instantly and asked to go see him. Right away, He was a perfect fit for the pit bull I been looking for.
Kai’s story - One night on patrol duty, myself and other units received a call about a dog being hit by a car. When we got there there was about five stray dogs hanging around the street. One had gotten hit but fortunately suffered minor injuries. Kai was one of the stray dogs that night that instantly showed her friendly personality. She followed us all around and kept wanting to give us all kisses. I knew that night i was not leaving without her and that I was going to rescue her.
From Skyler's Parents:
"At the beginning of March last year we met an adorable 2 year old pit who needed a home. That night we spoke about adopting him and ultimately decided to go through with it and adopt him the next day. When we went back to the place (excited as ever) to adopt him, he was already gone. It was heart breaking. A couple days later, my dad texted me a picture of an adorable little pup and wrote “do you want her? She needs a home.” She was so perfect that I instantly assumed it was a cruel joke. BUT IT WAS NOT. There was Skyler. A beautiful little 7 week-old pit needing a home and we were not going to take a second thought at the opportunity so we picked her up that day. Everything truly happens for a reason and we are so lucky to have Skyler ❤️"
Meet Bailey (shep/chow mix; 7 years old): ‘I’ve been in the doggy daycare business for almost 12 years now. Bailey was a former client whose family did not spend any time with her. They had her in daycare 7am-7pm 6 days a week. When they said they were looking to re home her I immediately said I’d take her. She is so sweet, and weird and awkward. Her favorite food in the world is popcorn. She’s my grumpy cat.’
Meet Marcus (lab/pit mix; 5 years old): “A friend had heard I was looking for a third dog, and thought Marcus would be a good fit. Marcus was on death row at a local shelter simply because the shelter was too full. I agreed to adopt him without ever meeting him. I drove 500 miles to pick him up and all the while started to wonder if I’d made the right call. “What if he’s crazy?” “What if my other dogs don’t like him?” All of my doubts went away the moment I met him. He was so sweet, and scared and yet so trusting. He loves hiking and running and hunting (we never have to worry about mice in the house ). I barely had to work with him at all; he’s just a naturally balanced dog and it’s wonderful.”
Meet Summit (pit mix; 5 months old): “I lost my yellow lab mix Odie 3 months ago to lung cancer. He was my best friend and doggy soul mate. He was perfectly healthy until one day we thought he had pneumonia and then 3 weeks later he was gone. I knew I could never replace him and wasn’t ever going to try. But 3 weeks later I met this squishy, wobbly pit bull puppy and knew it was meant to be. Summit came from Lucky Pup Rescue here in Greenville. She was a stray and ended up at a shelter covered in ticks and with a hurt foot. Who knows where her siblings ended up . She will never replace my Odie Monster but she brings so much joy and laughter into my life. She lives to eat and to make new friends. She has a mild case of Cerebellar Hypoplasia which affects her balance and stability. She is a stubborn little thing and I’m so grateful for her!”
From Piper’s mom:
Meet Piper: Piper was picked up as an 8 week old stray in the woods of North Carolina and was soon after taken into the care of Hope Animal Rescue in Durham, North Carolina. Through the rescue Piper was adopted by another family within a few weeks, but for some reason it was not a great fit and she was ultimately returned. We had decided we wanted to add a member to our family and had been searching online and in local shelters for adoptable pets. When we came across Piper’s picture on Hope’s website we fell in love with her big ol’ ears, crooked posture, and deep brown and sad puppy dog eyes. We immediately put in an application.
We anxiously waited an entire week for the next adoption event to meet Piper. We showed up to the event perfectly on time, looked all around for Piper; no one was going to beat us to this little dog. We spotted the 20 lb furball being held by one of the volunteers and ran over to introduce ourselves. We stayed for the entire 2 hour adoption event to bond with Piper (although, she didn’t seem like she really cared about us!). Piper seemed like a calm, easygoing animal, and we couldn’t wait until she was officially ours!
The following Tuesday, we prepared our house for our newest addition. We picked up food and water bowls, toys, a leash and collar, and some treats. That evening Piper was brought to our house after she was spayed. It was obvious the poor thing was still feeling her medication because she was stumbling everywhere in our house. Regardless, we were so excited to have this adorable puppy in our home. Piper still didn’t seem to care too much about us.
Quickly, Piper grew from a 20 lb pup to a solid 45 lb bundle of love. Piper began coming out of her shell and her true personality shined. What we thought was a calm puppy actually was a high-energy dog that wanted to play every chance she got! It was amazing to see her personality transform.
We’ve had Piper for almost two years and we couldn’t imagine life without her. To Piper, no dog is a stranger. She could give or take humans (except her Mom and Dad!). Piper enjoys weekly visits to doggy daycare to play with all her friends. Some of her favorites include walks, belly rubs, and cuddles with her humans. Every couch and bed in the house is a bed for Piper. She loves to chase every squirrel and rabbit that comes into sight. To all who know her, Piper is best known for her puppy zoomies—one minute she may be asleep on her back and the next she’ll be sprinting and zig-zagging across the yard.
Piper goes wherever we go, and one summer morning outing we took her to our favorite local coffee shop. We had just finished our coffee and were about to leave when a man walked by and said, “Wow, that dog looks just like a dog my daughter used to foster. Her name was Piper and she was with Hope Animal Rescue.” We were shocked! We told the man, “You are looking at Piper!” We talked with the man, and we all realized he was the father of Piper’s original foster. Through him, we connected with Piper’s original foster, and set-up a mini reunion. Piper was the very first foster animal for this lady and she was a little heartbroken about her experience of Piper being returned to the animal rescue. Piper’s original foster was able to see the little puppy all grown-up and witness the ultimate happy ending for Piper – finding her forever home!
From Azzurri’s mom:
Meet Azzurri Heisenbergy: I saw her after looking at several shelters and instantly knew she was perfect! She was a perfect balance of chaotic playfulness and cuddle machine with ears ridiculously too big. I wanted to wait and be sure the timing was right; I called the shelter multiple times to check on her but it was only one full day before I knew I had to go back for her. I am so glad I did because she has been an amazing companion now for 5 years. She's been through a lot of changes with me - a new city, multiple apartments, break ups, a career change, long hikes and road trips, and a summer up north. She has been an exceptional therapist and best friend and I wouldn't change anything for her. My fiancee even said she was the best money I've ever spent; she is great with my step daughter and Azzurri will be the flower girl at our wedding!
Azzurri lives for tennis balls and treats. She dreams if retiring in the beach. She prefers people over the average dog, and will coax you into a game of fetch rather than chasing your dog at the park. She is even great with kids, somehow knowing to be calm and alert with them. Many times she has chosen a small human to play with or keep an eye on. I was a trainer and kennel tech when I first got her so she grew up playing and learning. Her intelligence has amazed me since the beginning and I love her even more for it.
Black dogs have a hard time at shelters. The Atlanta Humane Society even told me that my perfect puppy would be at the shelter while I take time to decide purely because she is black. I can't imagine how so many people passed up such an incredible dog, and while I think its fate we ended up together, it really made me think about the discrimination against all the poor black puppies and seniors waiting in shelters. Across breeds, black dogs are significantly more likely to be euthanized purely because of some crazy ideas that they are boring, or scary, or whatever. I hope one day to change that reputation with my own rescue.
From Axel’s dad:
Meet Axel Groot Miller! // “He is 2 and his birthday is the same day as my sobriety date! he came from Greenville animal care. I came across axel, who’s original name in the shelter was Patrick, scrolling down fb. My friend Kali shared a poster about him and i knew the second i saw him he would be my pup. I was in a recovery Oxford home at the time and my house voted the idea down of me having a dog saying “i wasn’t ready or it’s just too much trouble “ so my goal in life became to find him a home period because it was love at first site. I found a girl to adopt him and she is who named him axel. She allowed me to doggy sit him one week and it was one amazing week. I prayed over him that whole week asking God to make a way ONE day for me to have this dog as my own. The next day after moving out of the Oxford house and getting my own place she (axel’s mom) called me and asked if i wanted to keep him because life was becoming difficult for her and of course i did! That same week i got a call back for a second job i had applied for The Noble Dog Hotel to pay off some debt and a way was made for me to take him to work with me so he isn’t cooped up all day. Axel was simply meant to be mine.”
From Rebel’s mom:
Meet Rebel: We adopted Rebel in 2016 in Virginia. He was relinquished by his previous owners because they were having to leave him in a crate for 16 hours a day and they didn't have time for him. He was immediately comfortable with our family which included a 6 year old and 1 year old at the time. He was so gentle and calm around the baby it was a perfect match. We've had him two and a half years now and through many moves. We travel for construction jobs and so we've had an insane time trying to find places that would allow him just because of his breed. He's a great dog, never been aggressive towards anyone but yet still rental properties push him away. We would never dream of getting rid of him, he's a part of our family and he'll stay that way. Fun facts: his favorite treat is peanut butter, he can sit, lay, roll over, and shake, he's saved my kids in the back yard from 2 snakes over the summer, he was the only one that knew they were there and alerted us to them. He put himself in between the snake and the kids both times and kept them away from it. He never lets them play outside by themselves, if one wants to go to the back yard, then Rebel is right behind them.
From Seneca’s mom:
Seneca (formerly Katerina), was found wandering around upstate SC with her five puppies. She ended up in a kill shelter and was rescued, along with a few of her puppies, by SQ Rescue, a foster-based rescue in Columbia, SC. Her puppies were adopted very quickly but she stuck around for six more months, waiting for us to adopt her. She was heart worm positive and was extremely skittish. Unbeknownst to us, she also had the worst case of storm anxiety we had ever heard of, injuring herself while attempting to escape out of our house, and even succeeding on multiple occasions. We worked through a lot of her anxiety alongside our vet, trying everything possible from a Thundershirt to medication to holistic alternatives. It’s still something we deal with on a daily basis, but she is the sweetest dog we could have ever asked for, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Hi! My name is Cora and I’ve never met a stranger! Dog, human, or hippopotamus, I love them all. My life started out kinda “ruff” with my sisters in Georgia. I can’t remember it really, but they tell me we were kept chained outside and when the kind people saved me I had some bad boo-boos on my back. I wasn’t at the shelter very long before I met my Mom and Dad. They came and played with my sisters and I for a long time and then left me. I was really sad because I really wanted to go home with them. The next day was very scary because I was brought into a scary room first thing in the morning. I got really sleepy and when I woke up my belly really hurt. After a few hours my Mom came back and picked me up with a new collar and pretty leash! I was sad to leave my sisters, but my Mom said it was ok because they were going to happy families too! I slept almost all day, but I was so happy. Ever since then my life has been really great. I get to sleep all day on the couch and play with my furry brothers. They make a weird “Meow!” sound when they bark, but I love them. When my Mom and Dad get home, I get all the snuggles and we go for long walks around our house to see the other dogs in my neighborhood. On the weekends, we go hiking and take road trips all over. My parents take me everywhere they go. I get the whole back seat to myself and sometimes I get to see my best friends: Sully, Miller, and Trigger. They are rescue dogs like me too! We go camping with them and get to play in the woods and waterfalls. I’m really smart and recently I got a Good Canine Citizen award for learning all sorts of tricks like “place” where I run to my special spot in any room and stay there until I get a treat. My mom says the cutest thing about me is my puppy eyes and pouty look because of my under bite.
From Lilly’s parents:
Lilly was rescued with a little luck and a lot of love. I was 24 and I had just purchased a house and was getting settled in when, on Father’s Day morning, I received a call from my mother asking if, out of the blue, I had adopted a dog. She had a dream that night and was convinced. I shrugged off her question and its slightly awkward timing for a young single man, and carried on with my day. I was going to a friend’s house for a barbecue that warm Spring afternoon, nearly all of us trying ansplants in Greenville without family nearby, using the holiday as a fun opportunity to get together.
I remember meeting Lilly very clearly, or as clearly as one can remember a blonde blur. I was standing in the back yard when my friend Jennifer arrived, opened the back door, and a streak of tiny white lightning came ping-ponging through the yard. She looked like a mini polar bear, and was full of electric smiles.
It turned out that Lilly was recently rescued by Jennifer’s aunt from an intoxicated homeless man in Falls Park. Both Jennifer and her aunt had already rescued multiple dogs and were looking for a caring home for their tiny energetic new addition. With my spacious new living arrangements, my love of our family dogs, and my mother’s premonition, I told Jennifer that I would sleep on the decision - even though my heart was ready to move. Early the next morning, with the giddy energy of young pup excited for a new adventure, I called Jennifer and told her I was in!
Nine years later, Lilly is still exuberantly full of life and I am now married. She is a pillar in our family, and it’s all my wife Brittany can do not to spoil her too much. She loves to run, nap on her lounge chair on the back deck, and chase chipmunks. She is always the life of the party and adores giving new friends big, sweet, fluffy hugs. Like many other’s animal family members, Lilly is the constant we’ve come to rely on seeing first at the front door after a hard day at work.
Looking back after all these years, I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect Father’s Day on that sunny afternoon, with shiny streaks of fur careening through the grass. Lilly’s passion for life has in turn truly changed ours.
Meet Chance! // “A month after our previous dog had passed very suddenly, I felt like my life needed purpose again. I had been looking at the local humane society's instagram page & that's when I came across Chance's photo. His big cheesy grin lit a spark in my heart, and I knew I had to get him. The shelter had him for 7 months, and become their resident dog. Their theme for him was "Give Chance a chance!"
We were so proud and honored to bring him into our family, where we desperately needed our spirits lifted.
Chance has become our shining light, our family mascot. His personality is always beaming. He's always the star at the park & everyone immediately falls for him. He's obsessed with strangers.. anyone who is willing to show him some love. He loves playing with other dogs, and he loves sharing his toys with them. He's everyone's friend. Never met an enemy. When he's not playing, he's the most cuddliest boy you've ever met. He loves to sleep close to your heart, of course taking up the entire bed and kindly leaving you a sliver. I stay in bed way longer than I should because all I want in the world is his cuddles.
He saved us at one of the most difficult times, and we can't imagine life without his sweet & playful personality.”
Meet Rocky! // “My boyfriend and I had been in a long distance relationship and my one condition to moving here was we get a dog! A couple weeks after we moved here I started scouring adopt-a-pet.com and found Rocky and his litter mates were up for adoption at Saving Grace and her fury friends. His litter mates had been surrendered to the rescue, the owners had an accidental litter. I put in an adoption application and a few days later we were doing a meet and greet! Rocky was the last one left but we loved him! We didn’t know anything about the Belgian Malinois breed but we got a great trainer who knew the breed. Rocky was only 9 weeks old when we got him, he’s just over two now. He’s such a goof ball, he has the biggest personality. He loves to rip every toy apart as soon as her gets it or run around squeaking. I hope that Rocky’s story not only inspires someone to adopt but also shows the importance of spaying and neutering your pets!”
Meet Maya! // “I first saw Maya’s photo on the urgent dogs of Miami page. Maya had been owner surrendered to the shelter, later adopted and then came back in as a stray and her adopter never came in for her. This labeled her as an urgent dog at the shelter, meaning her time there could be up at any moment. I immediately called the shelter and said I’d foster but since I was a Broward resident I couldn’t. Thankfully, All Things Pawsible stepped up to rescue her if I would foster. I brought her home a few days later, she was so scared but immediately connected with my other dog, Rocky. They shared toys, bones, the dog bed- not something you see so quickly in a rescue dog. Even though Maya and Rocky connected and played so well together- Maya had serious leash aggression. But we knew we couldn’t give up on her, she went to a board and train program for 3 weeks where I visited at least 3 times a week to also train with her. When she came home we just implemented the same tools I had learnt and now she’s the most amazing and obedient dog. Nothing makes me more proud or happier than watching her run around at the dog park, swimming in the lake or playing with other dogs! Maya has completed our family of 4. I hope Maya’s story inspires others to adopt a rescue dog and to not lose hope. Maya just needed to know she was safe and I just needed to learn the tools to help her.”
Meet Marcus! // (lab/pit mix; 5 years old): “A friend had heard I was looking for a third dog, and thought Marcus would be a good fit. Marcus was on death row at a local shelter simply because the shelter was too full. I agreed to adopt him without ever meeting him. I drove 500 miles to pick him up and all the while started to wonder if I’d made the right call. “What if he’s crazy?” “What if my other dogs don’t like him?” All of my doubts went away the moment I met him. He was so sweet, and scared and yet so trusting. He loves hiking and running and hunting (we never have to worry about mice in the house ). I barely had to work with him at all; he’s just a naturally balanced dog and it’s wonderful.”
Meet Wilson! // “Wilson (named Leo at the time) was brought to Greenville Animal Care by Animal Control in August of 2018. His family never let him inside, neglected him & didn’t feed him so neighbors called to have him rescued. From what we were told, Animal Control threatened to fine the owners if they didn’t willingly surrender the poor pup. Only at the threat of a fine did they finally agree to surrender the dog who was later brought to the pound malnourished with flea & bug bites all over him. He was subjected to eating trash, leaves and anything he could find in his yard so he was frail. He was so thin you could tell it hurt him to sit down and move around. He had little energy but still was loving.
We found him on the Animal Care website and it was love at first site. He looked small but I didn’t realize the extent of his situation at the time. I sent his picture to my husband and asked him to go check him out after work. He liked him but told me his backstory and admitted he didn’t have much of a personality probably due to being weak. Once I got off work, we went back to Animal Care together and my heart melted. He was so abused & neglected my first thought was to get him out of the loud & chaotic shelter at any cost. He was very excited to see people so I knew it was a good sign and that he just needed some love and care. We thought since he was 1-2 years old at the time he would be potty trained and some social etiquette had been learned but he had never been inside or cared for so it was a learning curve but he caught on quickly!
We had to rename him because we already have a handsome rescue cat named Leo. Leo and our other cat Odin could immediately tell he was not well and loved on him. It was an instant connection.
Over the course of the next few weeks we gave him a lot of love while feeding him chicken, rice & eggs and just like that he gained over 20 pounds! His personality started to shine and he became a happy, playful & loving dog. Once he got to a safe weight of about 60 pounds we transitioned him to dog food.
While we were doing this photo shoot he was a little bit shy and unsure of the noises coming from the camera. He has come so far from this but he still doesn’t trust all humans unfortunately. Once he feels comfortable around you he is extremely friendly. He loves playing with other dogs, looking out our windows, going for rides and getting pets.
We couldn’t imagine a life without this pooch! He has brought so much love into our lives. We can sense he is so grateful for everything we have done as he is so appreciative and happy. We even got him tested and he is a mix of Chow, Lab & American Staffordshire Terrier. He has wonderful qualities of all of these breeds that we see daily. Rescuing an animal brings a joy that is unexplainable until you feel it first hand. We thank Greenville County Animal Care for all they do for animals and adopters alike!
Meet Cary! // “This is my co-pilot, my therapist, my friend and protector; my dog Cary. I adopted Cary from a local shelter here in Greenville, South Carolina. My previous dog had just passed, and feeling that he would want me to give another pup a good life I went to the shelter. Cary’s shelter name was Donner the Reindeer as he was brought to the shelter around Christmas time but I renamed him Cary after Cary Grant-because of his big handsome face. He was the featured dog that week. He was a frisky big dog, and about a year old. Being 6’4’’ myself I love big dogs. I went in the kennel to play with him and squatted down to play with him. He knocked me flat on my butt and gave me love immediately. I took him home that day.
He has a big yard here to play in and all of the love he can handle. He enjoys playing with the chickens (he was kind of afraid of them at first) and loves to play fetch. We go skateboarding together. Being a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog he is a work breed and loves to pull. So I bought a long board and a good harness and he gets to run as much as he wants to. We go on hikes, to the lake, visit our family, play in the waterfall downtown, and go out to eat together. His favorite foods are pizza crust and cheese. I bake him fresh sweet potato treats, and he gets as many as he wants. Everyone loves him everywhere we go and everyone tells him how handsome he is. My mom even calls him her Granddog. Cary is a big cuddler, a loud snorer, and takes up more of the bed than I do. He’s currently right under 100 pounds and is made of drool, tail wags, cuddles and love. Always adopt, don't shop. You might be missing out on a great best friend like Cary.”