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About 6.5 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year. Of those, roughly 3.3 million are dogs and 3.2 million are cats. The good news is that these numbers are a result of a steady decline—according to ASPCA estimates, there were approximately 7.2 million dogs and cats entering U.S. shelters annually around 2011. And while 710 thousand animals who enter shelters as strays are returned to their owners, 3.2 million are adopted.

To help the latter figure grow even more, the subreddit r/BeforeNAfterAdoption urges people to share the amazing difference a loving family can make on an abandoned or mistreated animal. It has 360K members posting pictures that reveal the spectacular physical and mental transformations their adorable pets have gone through after leaving the shelter, and Bored Panda is ending this difficult year with some of the posts that went viral on the subreddit this December.

#1

Frankie Was Born With Four Ears And An Eye Deformity But He’s Still Purrfect

Frankie Was Born With Four Ears And An Eye Deformity But He’s Still Purrfect

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Ani Archeron
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2 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This cat is a magic cat from a magic land, his other eye sees the other realm

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Remember, after you are done scrolling through the list, you can overload yourself with cuteness, firing up our earlier rescue pet photos from November, October, and September.

The coronavirus pandemic has affected lots of American animal shelters. "Since it began, COVID-19 has put an immense amount of strain on animal shelters across the country. Because this is an ever-changing situation, each shelter is facing unique challenges specific to its community,” Adoptions Promotions Manager at the ASPCA, Kelly DiCicco, told Bored Panda in an earlier interview.

#2

These Two Were Adopted 3 Years Apart From Different Cities. A DNA Test Revealed That They Are Long Lost Siblings!

These Two Were Adopted 3 Years Apart From Different Cities. A DNA Test Revealed That They Are Long Lost Siblings!

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Emptying cages in 2020 had been especially important because many shelters have reduced staffing due to social distancing requirements—which has meant reductions or limits to the number and types of services offered to the public. "Additionally, shelters have felt the financial impacts of the pandemic, with reduced donations and an inability to host in-person fundraising events, which often play a key role in annual fundraising efforts," DiCicco said.

#3

The Day After My Cat Died, I Went To The Shelter And Told The Employee That I’d Adopt The Cat That Had Been There The Longest. She Said, “It’s An Older Black Cat... Are You Sure?” I Was Never So Sure Of Anything In My Life. Meet Dita Von Panzer

The Day After My Cat Died, I Went To The Shelter And Told The Employee That I’d Adopt The Cat That Had Been There The Longest. She Said, “It’s An Older Black Cat... Are You Sure?” I Was Never So Sure Of Anything In My Life. Meet Dita Von Panzer

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Paul K. Johnson
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2 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

In the second photo she is confident that whatever she's staring at is gonna meet its end very woon.

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By adopting an animal in need – no matter the species, breed, or size – people are saving that animal's life as well as freeing up valuable shelter space and resources for other animals in need.

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Also, a huge benefit of adopting animals from a shelter is that shelter staff know the animals well and can provide detailed information about an animal's history, medical needs, behavior, and temperament. They also consider a potential adopter's lifestyle, home environment, and the animal's potential compatibility with children and other animals in the home, helping the person to bring home the best match they can find.

To find out more about pet adoption, visit this helpful guide by the ASPCA.

#4

As A Single Dad, I Had To Put My Foot Down And Tell My Seven Year Old Daughter That There Was No Way She Was Getting A Dog For Chanukah, No Matter How Much She Asked. Anyway, Meet Waffle

As A Single Dad, I Had To Put My Foot Down And Tell My Seven Year Old Daughter That There Was No Way She Was Getting A Dog For Chanukah, No Matter How Much She Asked. Anyway, Meet Waffle

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#5

He Was A Rescue. A Runt. Probably Blind, Deaf, Won't Make It Very Long, They Told Me. Well, Happy 10th Birthday, Buddy

He Was A Rescue. A Runt. Probably Blind, Deaf, Won't Make It Very Long, They Told Me. Well, Happy 10th Birthday, Buddy

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LOttawa
Community Member
2 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I was told something similar about a 5 year old dog many years ago (I was told she had cancer and wouldn't make it). I adopted her anyway. She lived another 14 years with me.

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#6

Old Man Ed's "I'm Getting Adopted!" Smile Is Both Handsome And Proud!

Old Man Ed's "I'm Getting Adopted!" Smile Is Both Handsome And Proud!

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#7

We Just Adopted The Most Snuggly, Beautiful, Chonk Of A Cat. Welcome Home, Bill

We Just Adopted The Most Snuggly, Beautiful, Chonk Of A Cat. Welcome Home, Bill

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#8

I Just Adopted Atticus This Weekend. He Was A Stray And They Told Me He's A Very Fearful Cat. I Slowly Introduced Him To My Closet With Some Food, A Bed I Warmed Up In The Dryer, And Some Pets When He Allowed. Just This Morning He Sat In My Lap And Purred

I Just Adopted Atticus This Weekend. He Was A Stray And They Told Me He's A Very Fearful Cat. I Slowly Introduced Him To My Closet With Some Food, A Bed I Warmed Up In The Dryer, And Some Pets When He Allowed. Just This Morning He Sat In My Lap And Purred

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#9

Within 2 Seconds Of Meeting The Cat I Was Adopting, She Climbed Onto My Shoulders

Within 2 Seconds Of Meeting The Cat I Was Adopting, She Climbed Onto My Shoulders

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Janine B.
Community Member
2 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

My cat did this when we went to see if we would adopt him. He came home with us and never climbed onto my shoulders again. Guess he wanted to tell me I was his chosen kitty slave.

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#10

Dandy Had Part Of Her Face Shot Off (Before I Adopted Her). I Love Her Two Derpy Top Teeth

Dandy Had Part Of Her Face Shot Off (Before I Adopted Her). I Love Her Two Derpy Top Teeth

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Francis
Community Member
2 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

i wish people who hurt animals all the bad things in the world! may their pants always pinch, may their sleeves always slide down into the water while they do the dishes and may they always have tiny stones in their shoes! may their glasses always be dirty right after they tried to clean them. may they never feel happy again!

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#11

They We're Meant For Each Other

They We're Meant For Each Other

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#12

We Adopted A Kitten Last Month... We Now Have Nightly Ritual Of Checking The Fridge And Other Small Spaces To Make Sure He's Not Trapped Anywhere Before We Go To Bed

We Adopted A Kitten Last Month... We Now Have Nightly Ritual Of Checking The Fridge And Other Small Spaces To Make Sure He's Not Trapped Anywhere Before We Go To Bed

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#13

Adopted A Void Yesterday. Shelter Said She Didn't Like Laps. It's Been An Hour. Send Snacks

Adopted A Void Yesterday. Shelter Said She Didn't Like Laps. It's Been An Hour. Send Snacks

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Paul K. Johnson
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2 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I doubt a cat's behavior at a shelter very closely resembles how they'll behave in a forever home.

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#14

Went To The Shelter To Look At Dogs, They Didn’t Have Any There But Once This Lil Girl Saw Me She Started Pawing At Her Cage. Now I Have A New Forever Friend

Went To The Shelter To Look At Dogs, They Didn’t Have Any There But Once This Lil Girl Saw Me She Started Pawing At Her Cage. Now I Have A New Forever Friend

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#15

I Just Adopted The Sweetest Kitten...her Name Is Olive And We’re In Love And We’re Gonna Run Away And Be Pirates Together

I Just Adopted The Sweetest Kitten...her Name Is Olive And We’re In Love And We’re Gonna Run Away And Be Pirates Together

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#16

Just Look At This Little Tripod I Adopted

Just Look At This Little Tripod I Adopted

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#17

My Sister Adopted A Senior Dog - Meet Zombie

My Sister Adopted A Senior Dog - Meet Zombie

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#18

Society Says Black Cats Are Considered Less “Adoptable”. Society Is Wrong

Society Says Black Cats Are Considered Less “Adoptable”. Society Is Wrong

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#19

I Adopted This Baby From The Dominican Republic 1 Month Ago- My Mom Didn't Believe Me That It Was The Same Dog. I Named Him Remi And He Suffered From Mange And Malnutrition, Not Anymore!

I Adopted This Baby From The Dominican Republic 1 Month Ago- My Mom Didn't Believe Me That It Was The Same Dog. I Named Him Remi And He Suffered From Mange And Malnutrition, Not Anymore!

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Kathryn Baylis
Community Member
2 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Poor pup had almost given up. You basically brought Remi back to life!

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#20

I Adopted 12 Year Old Brutus A Few Months Ago. He Is Sluggish, Stubborn, Gassy, Hogs The Bed And Drools So Much I Have Actually Slipped On My Kitchen Floor. And I'm Head Over Heels In Love With Him

I Adopted 12 Year Old Brutus A Few Months Ago. He Is Sluggish, Stubborn, Gassy, Hogs The Bed And Drools So Much I Have Actually Slipped On My Kitchen Floor. And I'm Head Over Heels In Love With Him

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FoxxySucks
Community Member
2 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Old English bulldogs are just the best . I adopted one 2 years ago and she is just the biggest snuggle monster ever

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#21

This Is Bella. First Dog I Have Had In 20 Years

This Is Bella. First Dog I Have Had In 20 Years

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#22

My Wife And I Just Adopted This Sweet Old Dude

My Wife And I Just Adopted This Sweet Old Dude

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#23

Adopted A 16 Year Old Bird Named Banana Last Week And She Finally Trusts Me Enough To Perch On My Shoulder

Adopted A 16 Year Old Bird Named Banana Last Week And She Finally Trusts Me Enough To Perch On My Shoulder

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Roxy Eastland
Community Member
2 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Much underappreciated are budgies, I had one for ten years and they have such great personalities.

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#24

She Was Rescued From A Colony Of 30 Feral Cats In NE Ontario. She Follows Me Around For Snuggles, And Will Snuggle Me For Hours. I Think This One's Gonna Be A Foster Fail...

She Was Rescued From A Colony Of 30 Feral Cats In NE Ontario. She Follows Me Around For Snuggles, And Will Snuggle Me For Hours. I Think This One's Gonna Be A Foster Fail...

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#25

Four Days Since Adoption And New Kitten Charlie Is Loving His Big Brother Tipsy

Four Days Since Adoption And New Kitten Charlie Is Loving His Big Brother Tipsy

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#26

This Is Bonnie. She Is Happier To See The Food Aisle Than Just Recently Being Adopted

This Is Bonnie. She Is Happier To See The Food Aisle Than Just Recently Being Adopted

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#27

Jenny - My Parents’ New Rescue. Saved From A Life Of Being A Breeding Bitch. 5 Years Old, Doesn’t Know How To Play. Adopt, Dont Shop!

Jenny - My Parents’ New Rescue. Saved From A Life Of Being A Breeding Bitch. 5 Years Old, Doesn’t Know How To Play. Adopt, Dont Shop!

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Lisa Yario
Community Member
2 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I have a breeding bitch that was shot in the head because the gang bangers didn't like her puppies. Luckily for her a wonderful police officer got her to a vet and she survived. Now she's my princess. Never found out what happened to the puppies.

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#28

After 3 Long Months Of Trying To Get Her Trust. This Cutie Has Finally Adopted Me!!

After 3 Long Months Of Trying To Get Her Trust. This Cutie Has Finally Adopted Me!!

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Leo Domitrix
Community Member
2 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This makes me cry. I socialize ferals that I tend in our local colony, and when one decides it is time to "come in out of the cold"... It's magical.

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#29

Rescued A Couple Brothers This Weekend

Rescued A Couple Brothers This Weekend

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#30

Adopted Two "Undesirable Cats" At The Animal Shelter- A Very Scared Feral Kitten (Still Trying To Get A Good Face Pic) And The Fattest Cat In The Building- I Already Love Them So Much!

Adopted Two "Undesirable Cats" At The Animal Shelter- A Very Scared Feral Kitten (Still Trying To Get A Good Face Pic) And The Fattest Cat In The Building- I Already Love Them So Much!

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ƒιѕн
Community Member
2 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I love feral kittens! Its like very patiently waiting to open your present but not knowing when you can.

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#31

Our New Rescue Dog Patches. He Is Deaf And Would Have Been Put Down If We Didn't Adopt Him. He Is Now The Best Part Of Our Lives! I Have Cuter Photos If People Want To See!!!

Our New Rescue Dog Patches. He Is Deaf And Would Have Been Put Down If We Didn't Adopt Him. He Is Now The Best Part Of Our Lives! I Have Cuter Photos If People Want To See!!!

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#32

Recently Adopted A Kitten, This Was A Pic Of Her First Night Home!

Recently Adopted A Kitten, This Was A Pic Of Her First Night Home!

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Kathryn Baylis
Community Member
2 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Hi! Is this for real? Do I get to stay here forever and ever? Really? Wow! Awesome!

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#33

Our Recently Adopted Old Pup Is Enjoying His New Rocket Jammies

Our Recently Adopted Old Pup Is Enjoying His New Rocket Jammies

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#34

We Adopted A Retired Racing Greyhound That Was Too Afraid To Interact With Our Other Dog. A Few Months Later And They’re Over Here Smoochin

We Adopted A Retired Racing Greyhound That Was Too Afraid To Interact With Our Other Dog. A Few Months Later And They’re Over Here Smoochin

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Kathryn Baylis
Community Member
2 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I understand retired racers become total couch potatoes once adopted. Incredibly sweet and goofy couch potatoes. I love that.

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#35

Adopted This Guy Last Month. He's Settled In Nicely

Adopted This Guy Last Month. He's Settled In Nicely

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Kathryn Baylis
Community Member
2 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Yeah. I don’t know why, but I think he’s pretty happy to be living with you.

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#36

Dog's Reaction After Being Adopted

Dog's Reaction After Being Adopted

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#37

Exactly A Month Ago He Was A ‘Feral’ Cat Suffering From Multiple Infections. Today He’s My Little Old Gentleman In A Christmas Bow Tie. Merry Christmas And Happy Adoption, Gizmo!

Exactly A Month Ago He Was A ‘Feral’ Cat Suffering From Multiple Infections. Today He’s My Little Old Gentleman In A Christmas Bow Tie. Merry Christmas And Happy Adoption, Gizmo!

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Kathryn Baylis
Community Member
2 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Gizmo looks very dapper in his bow tie. And very happy to be spending his first Christmas with you!

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#38

Adopted These Two Little Beauties From The Animal Shelter. Say Hi To Loki And Thor

Adopted These Two Little Beauties From The Animal Shelter. Say Hi To Loki And Thor

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StormWolf
Community Member
2 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Dunno why, but i hope the ginger is Thor and the smaller one Loki, that seems to fit better ;-)

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#39

I Did Not Adopt This Dog. I Started Fostering Her And She Decided She Lives Here Now So I Guess She Does. Welcome To Your Forever Home Bellanova

I Did Not Adopt This Dog. I Started Fostering Her And She Decided She Lives Here Now So I Guess She Does. Welcome To Your Forever Home Bellanova

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#40

Adopted Him From The Streets Today ... Welcome Buddy

Adopted Him From The Streets Today ... Welcome Buddy

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Kathryn Baylis
Community Member
2 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Thank you for giving this fur baby a home. Best. Christmas. Gift. Ever.

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#41

Adopted Teddy For Christmas, Safe To Say She’s Pretty Happy About It

Adopted Teddy For Christmas, Safe To Say She’s Pretty Happy About It

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#42

“Uncontrollable Tippy-Taps Right Before Adoption

“Uncontrollable Tippy-Taps Right Before Adoption

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#43

His Previous Owner Put Him Up For Adoption Because He Is So "Rude". This Is Him On His Second Day With Me

His Previous Owner Put Him Up For Adoption Because He Is So "Rude". This Is Him On His Second Day With Me

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Kathryn Baylis
Community Member
2 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Some people—-make that idiots instead—-need to consult the dictionary for the actual definition of rude, instead of making up their own. Then again, this cat is luckier to be with her than still with that other jerk.

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#44

My Friend Asked Me If I Would Adopt A Puppy. Of Course I Said No. This Is My New Puppy

My Friend Asked Me If I Would Adopt A Puppy. Of Course I Said No. This Is My New Puppy

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Kathryn Baylis
Community Member
2 years ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Let me guess. You met the puppy and were immediately smitten. In. Deep. Smit.

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#45

My Newly Adopted, 11 Year Old Daisee Enjoying... Life

My Newly Adopted, 11 Year Old Daisee Enjoying... Life

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Lisa Yario
Community Member
2 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Pitties have such a bad rep. They are wonderful pets. They fight because they are forced into fighting. The methods of "training" are horribly cruel.

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#46

The Day I Adopted Lulu. She Was Slated To Be Euthanized The Following Week, But Through A Local Shelter I Was Able To Adopt Her In Time. I Love Her So Much

The Day I Adopted Lulu. She Was Slated To Be Euthanized The Following Week, But Through A Local Shelter I Was Able To Adopt Her In Time. I Love Her So Much

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Kathryn Baylis
Community Member
2 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I believe the feeling is mutual. She knows you saved her life, and she will always love you for it. You are her hero.

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#47

My GF Is A Vet Nurse And Often Brings Home Strays Handed In. She Said "It's Only Until She's Big Enough To Give Away"...

My GF Is A Vet Nurse And Often Brings Home Strays Handed In. She Said "It's Only Until She's Big Enough To Give Away"...

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Kathryn Baylis
Community Member
2 years ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Our most recent rescue, Tabby, was dumped in our yard this past May. She was about 5-6 weeks old, weighed barely 1 lb, and was left there all by herself. And had the loudest meow. We heard her the night before we adopted her, but couldn’t find her. Next day, she started howling again, and we located her hiding behind a thick bush next to the chimney. Terrified. She clung to me for the first week, on my shoulder, hiding in my hair, sleeping on my neck every night. After that, she started wanting to explore the house, the other cats, and the dog (all of whom were also interested in meeting her and playing). She’d still stick close, but was curious and becoming more independent. She’s eight months old now, and fearless, feisty, playful, and still very sweet. She gives you kisses on your face if you hold her close. She blended with our other four-legged kids right away, and they all love each other very much.

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#48

I Decided To Adopt Gus After Fostering Him Through His Heartworm Treatment. He Is Perfect

I Decided To Adopt Gus After Fostering Him Through His Heartworm Treatment. He Is Perfect

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#49

Found W/ No Tags, No Microchip & Adopted After Waiting Period At The Pound; He Is Now My Everything

Found W/ No Tags, No Microchip & Adopted After Waiting Period At The Pound; He Is Now My Everything

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Kathryn Baylis
Community Member
2 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Rescued my dog straight off the street. Some kids playing nearby told me he was pushed out of a car not long before I came along. Between 3 and 5 years old (vet’s best guess), starving, no collar or chip, hair mats over an inch thick all down his back, toenails so long they were crossing over each other, and not neutered. That was almost 10 years ago. Scruffy is now fat, happy, fixed, and totally in love with us and his pack of 4 cats.

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#50

This Is Kodi. He's A 4-Month-Old Rescue We Adopted. Not The Brightest Bulb On The Tree. Kind Of Cute Though

This Is Kodi. He's A 4-Month-Old Rescue We Adopted. Not The Brightest Bulb On The Tree. Kind Of Cute Though

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Note: this post originally had 90 images. It’s been shortened to the top 50 images based on user votes.

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