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According to ASPCA, an astonishing 6.3 million companion animals enter animal shelters every year in the US. Each year, approximately 920,000 shelter animals are euthanized (390,000 dogs and 530,000 cats). The numbers are so heartbreaking, it’s hard to wrap your head around the fact that many of the perfectly cute little animals don’t ever get their second chance in this life.

Luckily, however, more and more people are willing to give these lost furry souls their love and care, and bring them back to their forever family. So this post is a celebration of the rescued canines who, thanks to their loving owners, blossomed into these fun, cute, active, and smart woofers and pooches.

Thanks to Reddit’s wholesome corner known as r/BeforeNAfterAdoption, we prepared you an incredible collection of dog pics before and after they were adopted. The results are breathtaking and they give us hope that whatever happens, we are all going to be alright in this often chaotic world.

Psst! More inspiring woofer pics and stories can be found in our previous features here, here and here.

#1

Named Her Possum Due To The Tail Situation, But Not Sure That Applies Anymore

Named Her Possum Due To The Tail Situation, But Not Sure That Applies Anymore

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Adopting a rescue dog is a rewarding experience for both pup and owner. It’s an opportunity to give a dog a second chance at happiness, but it can teach you a lot about love, forgiveness, and loyalty. But this rewarding experience doesn’t come without challenges of its own, and there are some things every prospective dog owner should consider before becoming a forever family.

Joe Nutkins, accredited dog trainer, shared a couple of useful tips on how to welcome a rescue dog into your home. First off, when adopting a pooch, you have to get ready to make them feel safe and comfortable in the new environment they are coming into but don’t know anything about yet.

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    #3

    Lolita The Boonie From Guam - Saved From The Streets And Loved Back To Health

    Lolita The Boonie From Guam - Saved From The Streets And Loved Back To Health

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    #4

    My Husband And I Rescued Little Bowie Off The Streets Of Guam. He Was Covering In Ticks And Burs And His Back Leg Was Broken Presumably From Being Hit By A Car. And He Was Only 2 Months Old! Now, He’s 6 Months Old And Lives In Hawaii With 6 Humans That Adore Him. Rescue Is Beautiful.

    My Husband And I Rescued Little Bowie Off The Streets Of Guam. He Was Covering In Ticks And Burs And His Back Leg Was Broken Presumably From Being Hit By A Car. And He Was Only 2 Months Old! Now, He’s 6 Months Old And Lives In Hawaii With 6 Humans That Adore Him. Rescue Is Beautiful.

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    Dogs in rescue centers usually have a well-scheduled routine, where they get used to having their own space for meals and for resting. Nutkins’ advice is to “Ensure that you have provided some areas that will be quiet, secure, and away from busy thoroughfares such as the hallway so that your new shelter dog will be able to have a chance to rest.”

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    Secondly, it’s important that the dog has a room or a designated space that is ‘theirs’ so that they do not feel overwhelmed by their new home and can retreat there at any time. According to Nutkins, “having too much space can put pressure on a dog to be aware of what is happening in all areas. By closing off doors and giving your new shelter dog just a couple of rooms, they can focus on the smaller environment better, and this can lower their stress.”

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    #5

    Always Hard To Believe These Two Pups Are The Same Dog! What A Few Years And A Lot Of Love Can Do

    Always Hard To Believe These Two Pups Are The Same Dog! What A Few Years And A Lot Of Love Can Do

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    #6

    Our Little Rescue, Less Than 6 Months After Being Saved

    Our Little Rescue, Less Than 6 Months After Being Saved

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    glowworm2 avatar
    glowworm2
    Community Member
    1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    What an adorable dog. Love that little underbite they've got!

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    And third, as an adoptive dog owner, you have to be patient. Remember that most rescue dogs have gone through more than any other dog in their lives, and some of those experiences have stayed with them. They can be more shy, hesitant, and nervous. Adjusting to the new family is likely to take time, and therefore you shouldn’t expect immediate results, Nutkins explained. No matter how hard the beginning might be, it shouldn’t scare potential dog owners away from rescuing a dog.

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    #8

    My Girl, Before And After Adoption. 1st Pic At The Shelter As A Stray Pup, 2nd After Being With Me For A Year And A Half

    My Girl, Before And After Adoption. 1st Pic At The Shelter As A Stray Pup, 2nd After Being With Me For A Year And A Half

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    suzclark795 avatar
    Suzanne Clark
    Community Member
    1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    She looks like someone's sad, worn out teddy bear in the first pic and now she looks like the trail king.

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    #9

    This Is Lenore Before And After Being Rescued ! After Receiving Lots Of Love & Tlc, Lenore Does Not Even Look Like The Same Dog Anymore

    This Is Lenore Before And After Being Rescued ! After Receiving Lots Of Love & Tlc, Lenore Does Not Even Look Like The Same Dog Anymore

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    #10

    My Brother's Dog, Ricky, Before 'N After Adoption. He Cleans Up Nicely!

    My Brother's Dog, Ricky, Before 'N After Adoption. He Cleans Up Nicely!

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    Adopting a dog with special needs or an elderly dog may be more tricky. Although older dogs deserve love and care just like younger pets do, many people feel reluctant to adopt a senior woofer for various reasons. They include anything from veterinary costs to the fact that you will have shorter time together than if you would have adopted a puppy.

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    There are some more things to know about taking care of elderly dogs, so we reached out to Lori Bierbrier, the Senior Medical Director in Community Medicine at ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).

    Bierbrier explained that dogs begin to show visible age-related changes at about seven to 12 years of age. “The most common sign that your dog is aging is a decreased activity level. Some of this is part of normal transition from being a young puppy to being an adult. But, it can also be associated with osteoarthritis and other degenerative changes. There are metabolic, immunologic and body composition changes, too.”

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    #11

    Dumped At The Shelter On The Brink Of Starvation With Five Puppies, And A Chest Full Of Bb Pellets

    Dumped At The Shelter On The Brink Of Starvation With Five Puppies, And A Chest Full Of Bb Pellets

    Now She’s My Gentle Goofy Girl Who Likes To Tie Herself Up In Knots On The Sofa And Sticks Her Tongue Out When She’s Happy

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    #12

    From A Scarred And Infected Street Pup To A Handsome Wind Blown Pack Leader

    From A Scarred And Infected Street Pup To A Handsome Wind Blown Pack Leader

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    #13

    Dachshund/Chihuahua Rescued Sept 3rd

    Dachshund/Chihuahua Rescued Sept 3rd

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    According to the senior medical director at ASPCA, some of these may be unavoidable while others can be managed with appropriate diet and exercise. “When feeding your older dog, the main objective should be to maintain health and optimum body weight, slow development of chronic disease and minimize diseases that may already be present.”

    #14

    From The Streets Of Qatar To The Great White North. Happy 3 Months On Canadian Soil To My Amazing Boys!

    From The Streets Of Qatar To The Great White North. Happy 3 Months On Canadian Soil To My Amazing Boys!

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    elp200 avatar
    Kharyss
    Community Member
    1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    I live in Qatar and yes, it is heartbreaking sometimes. There is a big problem with street dogs and cats, but only a couple of animal shelters run by charities with no government support. Most of the population here are Expats and a large proportion of them have adopted as many as they can handle. But there’s always more since the street dogs aren’t neutered. People do leave food and water out for them and try to help out. I wouldn’t say it’s an exclusively Muslim thing, although there isn’t really a big culture of pet ownership here. Except for falcons and racing dogs of course. I hadn’t even been here 3 months and I “acquired” a stray puppy. By the time I leave I’ll probably have a pack 😂

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    #15

    Gizmo After A Little Bit Of Love

    Gizmo After A Little Bit Of Love

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    Moreover, as your dog ages, health issues may arise, including deterioration of skin and coat, loss of muscle mass, more frequent intestinal problems, arthritis, obesity, dental problems and decreased ability to fight off infection.

    “When dogs are growing older, they may not show outward signs that we normally associate with pain like whimpering or crying. Sometimes an animal will continue to eat or drink in spite of pain or disorientation. Some physiological and behavioral signs that your pet might be experiencing pain include excessive panting or gasping for breath, reclusiveness, reluctance to move and food pickiness,” Bierbrier explained.

    #17

    I Promise These Are The Same Dog. Far Left Is A Picture I Took In The Shelter In Bvi

    I Promise These Are The Same Dog. Far Left Is A Picture I Took In The Shelter In Bvi

    Third photo in the collage is when she was in Florida. The pool pic is an update her adopters sent to our rescue… even my jaw dropped to the ground when I saw what an absolute miracle her glow up was!

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    #18

    Iris Was Found As A Starving And Terrified Stray Wandering With Her 6 Pups In Rural Virginia

    Iris Was Found As A Starving And Terrified Stray Wandering With Her 6 Pups In Rural Virginia

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    #19

    Xena When We Rescued Her From Her Monster Owner And Her Progress In A Bit

    Xena When We Rescued Her From Her Monster Owner And Her Progress In A Bit

    We Know That It Would Be A Long Battle For All Of Us As Well As Xena But We Will Never Forsake Her Again... We Will Do Our Best To Shower Her With Love And Medical Attention She Needs

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    The most important thing you can do for your elderly pet, just like any adopted pet, really, is to minimize any pain or distress they are experiencing. Bierbrier suggests consulting with your veterinarian and treating any health problems, since undiagnosed issues can cause discomfort and rapid deterioration.

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    Moreover, you will have to surround your pet with their favorite things, like a warm blanket or special squeaky toy. “Since pressure sores can develop in pets with limited mobility, it’s also essential to provide a warm sleeping spot with plenty of cushioning.”

    #20

    From Being Abandoned And Chained Up In Romania To A Happy, Healthy And Sun-Loving Sweetheart

    From Being Abandoned And Chained Up In Romania To A Happy, Healthy And Sun-Loving Sweetheart

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    #21

    Our Senior Girl 6 Months Into Her Retirement

    Our Senior Girl 6 Months Into Her Retirement

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    #22

    Our Sweet Boy Before & After We Adopted Him

    Our Sweet Boy Before & After We Adopted Him

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    Another thing to consider before taking a senior dog to your forever home is that some older pets may develop incontinence or the loss of bladder control. Bierbrier reminds owners to be sure to check your furry friend regularly for any wetness or soiling. “If your pet needs help getting up to urinate or defecate, you can purchase a sling or use a large towel to wrap under their body and assist them.”

    “It is also important to maintain a consistent diet as older animals are more prone to stomach upset from a change in food. That being said, if your dog needs something extra special in their food to keep them excited to eat, be sure to consult with your veterinarian for recommendations of safe items to add,” she explained.

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    #23

    Sylvi After I Saved Her In China (10/2017), And Her Well-Deserved Life In The USA Now

    Sylvi After I Saved Her In China (10/2017), And Her Well-Deserved Life In The USA Now

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    #25

    From In The Shelter And Scared Last Wednesday To Forever Home And Happy. Meet Paisley

    From In The Shelter And Scared Last Wednesday To Forever Home And Happy. Meet Paisley

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    Animals, just like people, need time to adjust to new routines and changes, especially if their mobility may decrease as they age. Bierbrier argues that you can help your pet by being patient and giving them time to get acquainted with their new normal. “Depending on what challenges your pet might be facing as they age, there are many steps to make your home safer and more comfortable. Remove any wires and other items from the floor that could cause your pet to fall or trip.”

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    She also suggests moving plants and fragile objects to a safe area that is out of reach for your dog. “Create a safe space in your home for your pet to be away from any additional stressors,” Bierbrier concluded.

    #26

    I Adopted This Terrified Shaggy Dog A Week After She Had Her Leg Amputated In April 2021

    I Adopted This Terrified Shaggy Dog A Week After She Had Her Leg Amputated In April 2021

    Now she’s full of life, love, and doesn’t let being a tripod limit her

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    #27

    Changeover Happened After Lots Of Love, Food And Water. Meet Apollo

    Changeover Happened After Lots Of Love, Food And Water. Meet Apollo

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    #28

    This Is Rosie Before And After Adoption. She Turned Out To Be A Majestic Beauty

    This Is Rosie Before And After Adoption. She Turned Out To Be A Majestic Beauty

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    #29

    From Scared Puppy To A Handsome Boy Living His Best Life

    From Scared Puppy To A Handsome Boy Living His Best Life

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    knightsofren1105 avatar
    Archer Harris
    Community Member
    1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    I always love how when people adopt dogs and other animals and give them lots of love their colors are more vibrant and defined.

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    #30

    Georgia, A 5 Y/O Golden Retriever Rescued From A Puppy Mill Associated With The Dog Meat Trade

    Georgia, A 5 Y/O Golden Retriever Rescued From A Puppy Mill Associated With The Dog Meat Trade

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    michellesavage226 avatar
    Michelle M
    Community Member
    1 year ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    Unfortunately, Dog meat trade is thriving in some parts of Nigeria and there's only so much one could do. How do you convince someone to give up dog meat, when you are guilty of eating beef, pork, chicken and more? Dogs are pets to me, animals to love and cherish, but to some they are food and a means of livelihood. You can't just tell someone to give up their meat because you think it's cute, man's best friend (or other reasons). It's a conflicted argument. For this, the trade will keep thriving in China, parts of Africa, Asia, Europe and more. You want it stopped? Great! But you must also check your diet and be ready to fight for other animals too.

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    #31

    Luna Has Been With Us For 6 Months Now! She Was So Dirty, Matted, Scared/Angry, And In A Lot Of Pain From An Injury And Abuse

    Luna Has Been With Us For 6 Months Now! She Was So Dirty, Matted, Scared/Angry, And In A Lot Of Pain From An Injury And Abuse

     Those first few months were admittedly difficult, but she is now such a silly, sweet, confident girl and it just makes me so happy for her! 

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    #32

    Gotcha Day 11/9/19 And Few A Weeks Ago

    Gotcha Day 11/9/19 And Few A Weeks Ago

    Poor Guy Had A Very Nasty Bite Wound Hiding The Funk On His Head

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    valisbourne avatar
    Valisbourne Spiritforge
    Community Member
    1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    So much floof.... and only going to get more as he recovers and gets healthy again!

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    #33

    Peach & Chubbs Are A Bonded Senior Pair From The Home Of An Elderly Woman Who Passed Away In Late 2020

    Peach & Chubbs Are A Bonded Senior Pair From The Home Of An Elderly Woman Who Passed Away In Late 2020

    Because Of Their Age, And The Fact That They Had To Be Adopted Together, They Weren’t Popular At The Rescue. Until We Came Along

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    luvianane avatar
    L.V
    Community Member
    1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    They look exactly like the type of dog I imagine an old woman would have. Glad they could be adopted together.

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    #34

    Adopted Last Week. From Pound Pup To Pampered Pooch. Chloe Bear

    Adopted Last Week. From Pound Pup To Pampered Pooch. Chloe Bear

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    #35

    Teddy Was In A Shelter Before I Started Fostering Him

    Teddy Was In A Shelter Before I Started Fostering Him

    He Came Full Of Ticks And Scars, 9 Months Later, He’s A Bundle Of Joy Thats Been Adopted In Canada And Will Soon Go There

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    xeniaharley avatar
    Xenia Harley
    Community Member
    1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    I wish more people would foster! No, you will not "Every one." you will see a transformation first hand. Thank you for fostering. (Yes, I have fostered numerous dogs.)

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    #36

    Before And After 2 Years Of Being Rescued

    Before And After 2 Years Of Being Rescued

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    #37

    Sophie, Age 6, A Puppy Mill Rescue When I Adopted Her vs. Her A Year And A Half Later Full Of Fluff And Mischief

    Sophie, Age 6, A Puppy Mill Rescue When I Adopted Her vs. Her A Year And A Half Later Full Of Fluff And Mischief

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    #38

    Shelter Photo vs. 2 Months At Home With Us Best Decision We Ever Made. We Love You Moon!

    Shelter Photo vs. 2 Months At Home With Us Best Decision We Ever Made. We Love You Moon!

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    #39

    King Louie Was Surrendered On Saturday After A Year Of No Grooming. Very Nice Glow Up Since Being In Our Home

    King Louie Was Surrendered On Saturday After A Year Of No Grooming. Very Nice Glow Up Since Being In Our Home

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    kathrynbaylis avatar
    Kathryn Baylis
    Community Member
    1 year ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    I bet King Louie feels so light, cool, comfortable, and happy without all that matted fur weighing him down and trapping heat and air to his little body!

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    #40

    June, 2017. At The Shelter. To Less Than A Year Ago. It’s My Favorite Photo Of Him. He Has Uveodermatologic Syndrome

    June, 2017. At The Shelter. To Less Than A Year Ago. It’s My Favorite Photo Of Him. He Has Uveodermatologic Syndrome

    He no longer has eyes, actually! We had them removed about 3 years ago due to a great deal of issues. It just felt like a necessary decision to improve his quality of life.

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    Note: this post originally had 72 images. It’s been shortened to the top 40 images based on user votes.