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Our 10 most heartwarming dog adoption stories of 2023 (so far) – part 1

What does love look like? A wagging tail at the door welcoming you home. A paw on your knee, reminding you to go outside and play. A soft nuzzle on your cheek after a bad day.

When we adopt a dog, we change their life. But dogs’ unconditional love changes our lives for the better too — we receive dozens of adoption stories from our community every year telling us so.

So grab a coffee, kick back, and get ready to feel all the feels!

Our 10 most heartwarming dog adoption stories of 2023 (so far)


Laura says, “We adopted Charley in January of 2019. She was from Texas and had been in a shelter for months before we found her. She’s my first adult rescue and the most incredible dog I’ve ever met. She adores people, loves the snow, and will give you the biggest smiles you’ve ever seen. She loves to cuddle next to you and bring you her toys. When we adopted Charley we didn’t know she has some dog reactivity. It was a challenge because we had another dog at the time. We’ve been working on this with her and she’s so much better. She’s intelligent and so loving, and can make anyone smile.

I cannot thank you enough for all you do. You’re the reason Charley was brought into our lives, and I will never be able to express the gratitude I have for that. She’s become me and my family’s whole world.”

Leo, a dog adopted from AHS, with his adopter


Leo, a shy Great Dane/Mastiff mix, spent nearly a month in our care last year overcoming health issues and waiting for the right family to come along. Turns out the wait was worth it! This gentle giant found the perfect home.

Krystle says, “Leo (formerly Arlo) is our third dog adopted through AHS. He was timid and wouldn’t greet us or move when we looked at him. It wasn’t until we got him on a leash to walk outside and meet him that he showed us his true colors. He had some anxiety and trust issues, which we’ve worked to overcome. He’s turned into a great addition to our family and we love him to pieces!”


Patrice interned at Animal Humane Society and formed a special connection with one dog specifically, but not in the way you’d imagine!

“I’m a senior veterinary student at the University of Minnesota,” she says. “It’s been a dream of mine since starting school to adopt my first solo spay dog. So when I was on an externship with Animal Humane Society and that happened, I had to bring her home. Kiwi joins two other rescue dogs at home, a Cattle Dog mix and a Shepherd mix. It’s quite the trio. I’m also very excited to say that I have accepted a veterinarian position with the Animal Humane Society after graduation!”

Moses, a puppy adopted from AHS, in a car


Jamie says, “Going through a divorce is hard, going through one in the middle of a pandemic is harder. My two daughters were begging for a dog and I had put in applications at different rescues only to be told multiple times that the dogs had too many applications.

I finally got an email from AHS that said they were going to do in-person meetings again. I was waiting at the computer for registration to open up, and chose Golden Valley because I saw a puppy named Artichoke. I got an appointment at 4 PM on the first day they were allowing people to come in-person.

I was convinced he would be gone with his blue/grey color and soulful eyes, but there he was waiting for me. He was a typical puppy jumping everywhere, but when I picked him up he just stopped moving and hugged me back. I knew he would be perfect for my 8-year-old who just wanted a puppy to snuggle.

I took him home that day and the next day when my girls got home they both started crying when they saw him. My 8-year-old described him as the missing piece to her puzzle. Artichoke quickly became Moses, and he is a loyal sweetheart that loves to snuggle. He was exactly what my girls and I needed.”


It can take more than one adoption for dogs to land in the right home, but the process is always worth it when animals like Scooby find their person.

Mackenzie says, “Scooby was transferred from Missouri to the [now closed] St. Paul location. She was then returned twice before I met her. A note on her stall stated she was highly destructive and energetic, and I knew the odds weren’t in her favor. So I took a chance on her (my first ever dog, mind you) and it took A LOT of hard work and long days. Six years later she has matured into a well-behaved young lady who is my best companion and friend. She’s the classic story of ‘who saved who?'”


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