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A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

Meet 53 Shelter Dogs That Need Forever Homes Right Now

These adorable shelter dogs are looking for their forever families. Welcome one of them into your home for unconditional love—and endless smooches.

Dog licking human hand through fence in animal shelterOleksii Karamanov/Getty Images

Adopting shelter dogs into your family

When you’re adopting a rescue dog, the animal’s history can be sketchy—or completely unknown—because it was a stray. Some rescue dogs have suffered horrendous abuse, while others were abandoned by their families. But what all shelter dogs have in common is a yearning for a fresh start in a loving forever home. They pay you back with doggy kisses and snuggle sessions. Yet the benefits of adopting a shelter dog go beyond gratitude (as seen in these incredible before-and-after dog adoption photos). Check out these adorable dogs that need homes right now, and give one a second chance to live its best life.

black and white mix breed shelter dog in he grasscourtesy Secondhand hounds

Soulful (Rex)

Breed: Labrador/boxer mix

Why you’ll love me

My name is technically Soulful, but my humans call me Rex. I don’t mind; I just want to be loved. I’m a family guy and love my humans and furry foster siblings. Want to go on a road trip? Take a hike? Hang out in the backyard? I’m one of those shelter dogs that’s up for anything. And if you have other dogs, know that I make a great sidekick.

Things to consider

I’m a snuggle bug and love being near my humans. And I have a side hustle as a security guard. I’m just trying to protect my family, so I bark at mail carriers and the people and dogs who walk past our house. It works—they keep walking! Having said that, once I know you’re a cool person (or dog) we can be friends.

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Rd Adopt A Shelter Dog Daisy Via Secondhandhounds.orgcourtesy secondhand hounds

Daisy

Breed: Husky

Why you’ll love me

It’s OK if you stopped scrolling because I have gorgeous eyes. I get that a lot. I also have a zest for life, and my heart is overflowing with love. If you long for a loyal dog breed that will never leave your side, then let’s chat. And I mean that literally! You know huskies are known for being chatty, right? My foster mom says she appreciates the way I fill the silence in her life.

Things to consider

I’m a happy pup when I can expend my energy outside. I’m up for just about anything with my humans. But other dogs (and cats) make me anxious, and I tend to overact a bit. I’m not aggressive, just nervous and choosy when it comes to making animal friends. I’ve been working on that and making progress! In fact, I’ve become BFFs with my foster dog brother. If you’re willing to work with me and help with my anxiety, I know we’ll become good friends too.

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Rd Adopt Shelter Dogs Patches And Frida Via Secondhandhound.orgcourtesy secondhand hounds

Patches and Frida

Breed: Dachshund mix and chihuahua

Why you’ll love us

Because we’re so cute together! We’re senior gal pals that are bonded, which means we need a forever home that will take us both. And really, why wouldn’t you want us both? There are a lot of good reasons to adopt senior dogs! We’re a dynamic duo, both spunky and fun-loving. Short walks, snuggling with humans and getting doggy ice cream are our favorite activities. I (Patches here!) love belly rubs, and Frida says she likes to have her ears scratched.

Things to consider

Just like humans, we can experience health issues as we get older. I have some arthritis in my hips, an enlarged heart (don’t worry—it’s not causing any issues) and some extra protein in my urine. Frida has some limping of her rear limbs, a heart murmur and kidney issues. Regular vet checkups are a must to monitor our conditions.

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light colored golden retriever sitting on a rug waiting to be adoptedcourtesy secondhand hounds

Sampson

Breed: English golden retriever

Why you’ll love me

You probably know one of the most popular dog breeds is the golden retriever, but did you know the English golden retriever is just as lovable and cute? The only difference is that dogs like me have a softer, lighter coat. You may notice that I’m a puppy. My foster mom says I’m mellow for my age and such a happy little boy. (She’s right.) My best days are when I’m playing with my foster brother and chickens.

Things to consider

Because of my neurological conditions, I have issues with overstimulation, focus, abnormal walking, accidents in the house, depth perception, hearing, safety awareness and training/comprehension. I need supportive and committed pet parents who are willing and able to care for my needs, like giving me regular meds; my quality of life is super important, and surgeries and anesthesia are too risky. Also on my wish list is a confident furry sibling to hang out with.

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black and white pit bull mix breed dog sitting wearing a bandana that says "adopt me"courtesy secondhand hounds

Coco

Breed: Pitbull mix

Why you’ll love me

I’m past the rambunctious puppy stage, and I make a pretty great best friend. Some of my favorite things are cuddling on the couch, going on walks, relaxing in the sun and taking car rides, so if you’re looking for a partner for weekend trips or just someone to keep you company in the backyard, I’m your girl! Shelter dogs always possess at least one superpower. Mine is the ability to keep your feet warm when you’re sleeping.

Things to consider

My foster mom thinks you should know I take some meds for anxiety to help me stay calm. I have diabetes and need my insulin every 12 hours, but it’s a piece of cake (not that I eat cake) to deliver my shot. I know needles sound scary, but my foster mom says it’s super easy to give them to me. It’s just a tiny poke, and I’m off to the races again!

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mixed breed dog standing with a blue toy in his mouth in a gray studio backgroundcourtesy Ohio SPCA & Humane Society

Louie

Breed: Beagle/Doberman pinscher mix

Why you’ll love me

Am I a handsome doggo or what? Check out my black and tan markings and sleek coat! Short-haired dog breeds are awesome because we don’t have to go to the groomer for trims. I guess that means you can spend more money on toys for me. This is great because I have to carry something in my mouth when we’re on walks and out and about. It’s like a security blanket for me, and truth be told, everyone says it’s super cute!

Things to consider

Sadly, I recently lost my owner. It used to be just the two of us, so I came to appreciate a quiet house. Because of that, I would be most happy in a forever home with no other animals or children. I’ve got so much love to give that you probably won’t need other pets in your life.

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black and white mix breed dog with a gray studio backgroundcourtesy Ohio SPCA & Humane Society

Milo

Breed: Pit bull terrier and husky mix

Why you’ll love me

I’m an adorable black-and-white dog breed mix and super affectionate. (What can I say? I love humans and dogs alike.) I enjoy walks in the neighborhood and am loads of fun when it comes to playtime. If you want to teach me a new trick and keep my manners in check, there’s nothing that motivates me more than a treat! I won’t turn down a good belly rub either.

Things to consider

There are a lot of things shelter dogs want you to know, but the most important is that we want to have a second chance at happiness. I was brought in as a stray, and no one claimed me, but I don’t have any known medical or behavioral issues. When it comes to family life, I get along with most dogs and am most comfortable around kiddos 5 years and older.

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Rd Adopt A Shelter Dogs Amelia Courtesy Lisa Marie Conklincourtesy Ohio SPCA & Humane Society

Amelia

Breed: Pit bull mix

Why you’ll love me

I’m sweet as maple syrup and just want to love and be loved. It took me some time to get to this point. I was brought to the shelter as a cruelty case. It’s quite possible I was used as a bait dog in dog fighting, so understandably, I was shy and scared at first. I was never mean or vicious, though. That’s just one of those pit bull “facts” that are totally wrong. These days, I’m not afraid of other dogs and am excited to make more four-legged friends.

Things to consider

I’m not sure how I feel about cats yet, but I do well with kids as long as they understand basic boundaries. A fenced-in yard is essential and will keep me safe. I have a flighty demeanor—or a sense of wanderlust, as I prefer to call it.

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Rd Adopt Shelter Dogs Artica Courtesy Lisa Marie Conklincourtesy Ohio SPCA & Humane Society

Artica

Breed: Dogo Argentino

Why you’ll love me

Even though my stunning white dog breed has been around since 1928, I wasn’t recognized by the American Kennel Club until 2020. I kind of give off a large-and-in-charge vibe to people who don’t know me. I’m not unfriendly, just naturally protective of my humans. In all honesty, I’m a genuine powder puff around my fam. I’m also quiet and loyal, and I prefer to keep my kennel very tidy. For fun, I like to splash in a kiddie pool.

Things to consider

All dogs are individuals, but my breed was created to hunt lions and be a family companion. Admirable qualities of courage, bravery, loyalty and affection—all rolled into one fabulous doggo like me—require an experienced dog parent for proper training and nurturing.

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Rd Adopt Shelter Dogs Kona Courtesy Lisa Marie Conklincourtesy Ohio SPCA & Humane Society

Kona

Breed: Shepherd and boxer mix

Why you’ll love me

The volunteers who care for me at the shelter all say the same thing: I’m a playful and happy gal! To be frank, it’s taken a lot of time and patience to earn my trust. One of the things to know before you adopt a shelter dog is that it can be very scary for those of us in a shelter. The change in environment, noises, other dogs and new people are unsettling. But a loving and nurturing forever home will give me a sense of security, and in time, I’ll reveal even more good things about myself!

Things to consider

For my safety, I need a home with a fence. And I’ll be ever so grateful to be your only pet.

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Rd Adopt Shelter Dogs Chance Courtesy Lisa Marie Conklincourtesy Canine Humane Network

Chance

Breed: Labrador mix

Why you’ll love me

I embody everything you love about puppies. You’ll swoon over my cuteness, friendliness and lovey-dovey nature. (Oh, and my kisses.) I’m playful and an all-around fun little boy. There are cats, dogs and kids living with me in my foster home, and we get along great! My foster fam says I’m smart, so puppy training should be a cakewalk. Just avoid these puppy-training mistakes so I can learn good manners for a lifetime.

Things to consider

Like most curious puppies, I sometimes get the hankerin’ to explore. A yard with a fence will keep me safe.

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Rd Adopt Shelter Dogs Olympia Courtesy Lisa Marie Conklincourtesy Canine Humane Network

Olympia

Breed: Beagle and hound mix

Why you’ll love me

I love people so, so, so much! I love to follow my humans to ensure they don’t feel alone, and I’m always ready for spontaneous snuggle time. When I doze off, have your camera ready, because I get into some silly configurations. Trust me—you’ll want to figure out what dog sleeping positions mean when you get a load of me. I’m OK with dogs but a bit picky about who my doggy friends are. There’s nothing wrong with knowing what you like, right?

Things to consider

I had surgery to correct my limp and decrease the pain in my back hip. I’m totally fine, but after walking or playing, I might have a little limp. That’s a sign I need to take it easy. And while I adore people, older children (13 and up) would be best because I’m so playful.

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Rd Adopt Shelter Dogs Gertie Courtesy Lisa Marie Conklincourtesy Canine Humane Network

Gertie

Breed: Anatolian shepherd mix

Why you’ll love me

The people who meet me say I’m the sweetest dog in the world. They can’t get over how much I love humans of all ages. I’m low-key, affectionate and quiet. Give me the sofa over rambunctious activities any day. That’s not to say I’m totally lazy. All dogs need to exercise, and I’m a dream to walk. No pulling from me!

Things to consider

I love and dote on my humans, but when it comes to cats … not so much. I know some dogs are good around cats, but I’m just not crazy about them. And I guarantee you’ll get enough love from me that you won’t want another pet. I should mention that I’m dog selective, particularly on walks, so routes without the chance of puppy encounters would make both of us happier.

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Rd Adopt Shelter Dogs Ruby Courtesy Lisa Marie Conklincourtesy Canine Humane Network

Ruby

Breed: American Staffordshire terrier and border collie mix

Why you’ll love me

Talk about adorable puppy pictures that make your heart melt! But wait, there’s more. My foster family filmed a video to show you just how stinking cute I am (it’s in my bio, so click the button below). But there’s more to love beyond my expressive face and black-and-white coat. I’m spunky, brave, athletic, fun to be around and generally the life of the party. When my puppy energy runs out, I’m ready for cuddles and snuggles.

Things to consider

I’m wicked smart, so I’m hoping to find a forever home with an active, dog-savvy family that’s willing to train me with positive reinforcement so I can grow into a good canine citizen. Who knows? I might turn out to be a shelter dog hero! And not to toot my own horn too much, but I’m pretty great with kids, cats and other dogs too.

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Rd Adopt Shelter Dogs Charity Courtesy Lisa Marie Conklincourtesy Canine Humane Network

Charity

Breed: Mountain cur and labrador retriever mix

Why you’ll love me

My foster family says my name suits me to a T. I have a heart of gold and adore my humans. My temperament is chill and gentle—I’m one of those calm dogs that’s totally happy cuddling with you on the couch. Honestly, I’m so polite that you’ll think I wrote the book on canine manners. Leash me up! I make a delightful companion on evening strolls.

Things to consider

Unfortunately, I am currently heartworm positive. The good news is that I’m young and have no symptoms, so I’m expected to fully recover! And my shelter is paying for the rest of the treatments, so no worries about cost.

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Rd Adopt Shelter Dogs Cookie Courtesy Lisa Marie Conklincourtesy Adopt Me Rescue

Cookie

Breed: Maltese mix

Why you’ll love me

Aside from being irresistibly cute and as sweet as the day is long, I’m a smart cookie! Even though I’m blind and have diabetes, I learned quickly how to get around in my foster home, and you bet your bottom dollar this ol’ gal will navigate a new home too. I have a polite bark for when I need to go potty or when I’m hungry or thirsty. I’m the ultimate cuddler and love to nestle in as closely as possible, whether with my humans or doggy friends.

Things to consider

Because of my health conditions, I require more hands-on care and daily attention than some dogs. My foster family says caring for a dog like me has been extremely rewarding. And I don’t let a day go by without showering my human with sweet, tiny kisses.

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Rd Adopt Shelter Dogs Penny Courtesy Lisa Marie Conklincourtesy Adopt Me Rescue

Penny

Breed: Miniature pinscher/dachshund mix

Why you’ll love me

I’m a cutie patootie toy dog breed that will stay puppy size forever. Speaking of puppies, even though I’m three years old, I still have loads of puppy energy and have the best time running around the yard and playing fetch with crinkly toys. You see, before I came to the foster home, I never went on walks and was kept in a crate most of the time. That’s why I love my newfound freedom! When it’s time to wind down, I savor snuggles.

Things to consider

I’m still a bit shy with new people, but once I warm up, watch out! I’m sweet as molasses. My foster dog brothers are super fun to play with, and I would like to be in a home with another dog.

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Rd Adopt Shelter Dogs Art Courtesy Lisa Marie Conklincourtesy SPCA of Texas

Art

Breed: Mixed breed

Why you’ll love me

Have you ever seen a dog in a suit? Take a look at me! I’m a handsome dude in a brown tuxedo ready to steal your heart. I was rescued after being terribly abused. The staff at the shelter showed me a world where humans have good hearts and want me to be happy. It’s amazing! I have so much fun searching for the best dog treats hidden in my toy bin. The staff can’t resist laughing at my adorable snorts and grunts as I sniff my way to the snacks.

Things to consider

The shelter says I’m a “masterpiece all by myself,” so no furry siblings for me, please. As far as human siblings go, anyone over 15 years old is A-OK by me. Oh, and a securely fenced yard is essential to keep me safe.

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Rd Adopt Shelter Dogs Courtesy Bella Boop Lisa Marie Conklincourtesy SPCA of Texas

Bella Boop

Breed: Dogue de Bordeaux mix

Why you’ll love me

If you like a smooshy, flat-faced dog with a pouty lip, check me out! I’m crazy about toys, treats and playing in the water. I would love to show you my trademark zoomies. (Wait till you see me go!) I’ll be honest: Being in a shelter was tough, but I’ve come a long way and was even promoted to the front office. I provide comic relief with my full-body wiggles whenever my co-workers greet me. Plus, I have good manners and can sit, relax and entertain myself.

Things to consider

Everyone has pet peeves, and mine are big, loud trucks and gardening equipment. They give me dog anxiety. My ideal home is peaceful and quiet, with no young ones or other critters running around. We can do a foster-to-adopt trial period to make sure we’re a match made in heaven.

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Rd Adopt Shelter Dogs Apollo Courtesy Lisa Marie Conklincourtesy SPCA of Texas

Apollo

Breed: Mixed breed

Why you’ll love me

I’m charismatic and dedicated to my peeps. I don’t even mind sharing toys and snacks with you. (I even like veggies!) My favorite pastimes are sunbathing, getting belly rubs, chasing squirrels, watching sports on TV and cuddling for nap time. And just when you thought I couldn’t be more amazing, there’s this: I am house-trained and nondestructive, can entertain myself and do well when left alone.

Things to consider

I’m looking for a home where I’m your one and only. Can you blame me for wanting you all to myself? Kids 13 and over might work out, but let’s do a meet-and-greet first. In fact, I’m up for a trial run to make sure your living arrangement works for us both.

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Rd Adopt Shelter Dogs White Tail Courtesy Lisa Marie Conklincourtesy SPCA of Texas

White Tail

Breed: Australian cattle dog mix

Why you’ll love me

I’ve got some awesome Australian dog breed genes in me. You can see some of the hallmark features, like my speckled coat. Aussies are widely known for their faithfulness and work ethic, and I hesitate to humble brag, but I’m a bona fide, badge-wearing member of the behavioral staff at the shelter. My role is to help calm incoming fearful dogs. I’m not all business, though. I’ve got a silly and sweet side you’ll see when we get to know each other.

Things to consider

I’m glad I’ve been able to help at the shelter, but I’m ready for a calm, quiet place (adults only, please) with few visitors. I’ll also need a home with a securely fenced-in yard, as I’m still a little timid when going to new places. A furry sibling would be a bonus, but it’s not required.

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Rd Adopt Shelter Dogs Ctanner Rose Ourtesy Lisa Marie Conklincourtesy SPCA of Texas

Tanner Rose

Breed: Australian cattle dog mix

Why you’ll love me

I’m an Aussie mix and super smart too. Since I’m highly motivated by treats, my tummy and brain work very well together, and I learn new things fast! I love, love, love toys. Maybe even more than treats. I’m pretty chill, and my foster family says I walk calmly on a leash, staying by their side and never pulling. You probably wouldn’t even notice at first, but I am deaf. It’s not a huge deal, but I may startle easily if I can’t see something coming.

Things to consider

My new pet parent will have to train me to use visual cues instead of audible ones. But remember, I pick things up pretty quickly. A secure, fenced-in yard is essential to keep me safe. And if you don’t mind, I want your heart all to myself, so no furry roommates, please.

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Rd Adopt Shelter Dogs Mo Courtesy Lisa Marie ConklinCOURTESY KAUA`I HUMANE SOCIETY

Mo

Breed: Labrador/coonhound mix

Why you’ll love me

I’m a tenderhearted softie who prefers to make the first move when it comes to being petted. My favorite game is tug of war, and I might even let you win for the price of a treat. I know how to sit and take commands well. I bet you could teach me some easy dog tricks—especially if you reward me with treats.

Things to consider

Sometimes I like to be on my own. I’ll be happiest with my own space and maybe even my own bed while I get settled into my new home and get to know my new family. That way, I can retreat to my space if I feel nervous, or choose to explore when I feel brave.

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Rd Adopt Shelter Dogs Hiwalani Courtesy Lisa Marie Conklincourtesy Kaua`i Humane Society

Hiwalani

Breed: American Staffordshire terrier mix

Why you’ll love me

My name fits me to paw-fection! Did you know Hiwalani is Hawaiian for “favorite or beloved child”? Yeppers. I’m one sweetheart of a gal! I will be your shadow, your sidekick, the bundle of love stuck to you like glue—however you want to describe my affectionate nature. We can do my favorite thing together: playing in the water. I love to chomp the water that comes out of a hose (one day I’ll get it in my grip!), and you can’t go wrong with a kiddie pool filled with water and tennis balls.

Things to consider

I can be pretty particular about other dogs, so I’d really prefer to be the only dog in the family. More snuggles for me!

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Rd Adopt Shelter Dogs Mariano Courtesy Lisa Marie Conklincourtesy Kaua`i Humane Society

Mariano

Breed: Airedale terrier/hound mix

Why you’ll love me

Don’t you just want to rub my adorable scruffy face against yours? I am a super-friendly dog that just wants to be near you. We can go on walks or hang out with your friends—I’m well-mannered on the leash. All signs point to a long and loving friendship.

Things to consider

I may feel differently once I’m settled in my forever home, but currently, I prefer a home without doggy siblings.

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Rd Adopt Shelter Dogs Brindi Irwin Courtesy Lisa Marie Conklincourtesy Kaua`i Humane Society

Brindi Irwin

Breed: American Staffordshire terrier mix

Why you’ll love me

Some might call me overly friendly, but I say you can never be too friendly. The world needs more dogs like me in it! (Everyone who meets me will tell you the same.) I just love people, which is why it’s so fun to go on field trips with volunteers. It gives me a nice break from the shelter and lets me make new friends. My lazy and mellow vibe is perfect for leisurely walks or relaxing on a beach blanket at a dog-friendly beach.

Things to consider

Ideally, I’ll live in a home with no other pets. That said, I could live with dogs my size or larger that are pretty chill and won’t mind my bossy attitude. What can I say? I’m a gal who knows what she wants.

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Rd Adopt Shelter Dogs Kergan Courtesy Lisa Marie Conklincourtesy Kaua`i Humane Society

Kergan

Breed: Airedale terrier/hound mix

Why you’ll love me

Take me home, and I guarantee I’m going to turn some heads when we walk down the street. My salt-and-pepper scruff is all the rage right now. And my personality? Well, as Newton’s first law of motion states, a body in motion will remain in motion, and that’s my philosophy. I’ll take fun activities in the backyard over sofa time any day. We could do lots of stuff together to keep our bodies in tip-top shape. I’ll even be your personal trainer. Instead of barking orders at you, I’ll lick your face to keep you motivated.

Things to consider

I’m thankful for the shelter because life on the streets would be horrible, but I’m stressed here. I am so ready to live in a real home with an active family that appreciates all I have to offer. It would be super fun to have an active doggy sibling too!

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Rd Adopt Shelter Dogs Sunny Courtesy Lisa Marie Conklincourtesy Ruff Start Rescue

Sunny

Breed: Pit Bull Terrier mix

Why you’ll love me

My moniker couldn’t describe me better—my personality shines bright! Check my shelter dog references, and you’ll discover some of my shining attributes: I’m a snuggler, squeaky toy lover and zoomie extraordinaire. I enjoy taking walks and like to pretend I’m a bloodhound by smelling everything in my path. Yeah, you may need to give me a verbal nudge to get me going again.

Things to consider

I came from a situation in which shelter, food, water and kindness were not guaranteed. Because of this, I have the traits of a protective dog breed and tend to defend my home. I’m not mean, but I view people outside my home as strangers. With some patience and gentle training, I can work on these issues.

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Rd Adopt Shelter Dogs Camila Claus Courtesy Lisa Marie Conklincourtesy Ruff Start Rescue

Camila Claus

Breed: Shepherd/hound mix

Why you’ll love me

I was a new mom and living under a trailer when some kind people found me and gave me and my sweet pups a home. My puppies got adopted, and now it’s my turn. My foster family has been so good to me. I don’t have to look for food—it just appears in a dish! I have a cozy bed too, and I get along great with my foster brothers and sisters. I especially love to cuddle with the cat.

Things to consider

I really would love a home of my own. One with a very friendly, confident dog would be wonderful; it could show me the ropes. I’m heartworm positive, but I’m not contagious, and I’ll be healthy once my treatments are done.

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Rd Adopt Shelter Dogs Dutchess Via Ruffstartrescue.org courtesy Ruff Start Rescue

Dutchess

Breed: American pit bull terrier/boxer mix

Why you’ll love me

As a duchess, I might be considered snooty and pretentious, but nothing could be further from the truth. I actually have an affectionate nature. I wasn’t always treated like royalty, though. When I was rescued, I was underweight. I’ve been eating healthy dog food, and let me tell ya, I don’t hate it! I’m getting stronger and healthier every day.

Things to consider

I haven’t figured out toys or bones yet. Can you show me how to play and have fun? I don’t mind kiddos, and dog siblings would be cool. I’ll thrive with a confident pet parent and stable routine.

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Rd Adopt Shelter Dogs Judy Courtesy Lisa Marie Conklincourtesy Ruff Start Rescue

Judy

Breed: American bulldog/American Staffordshire terrier mix

Why you’ll love me

I’m a seasoned and sweet chonky muffin. “Seasoned” is code for “been around the block a few times.” I’ve had some hardships, but my foster fam is helping me build my confidence. I appreciate short walks (sometimes I get a little tired and need a quick break before we walk back home). I’m learning some basic commands too. They’re not that hard to pick up because I get treats and extra love for doing a good job.

Things to consider

I’m a homebody and would love a quiet and calm household. I adore my humans, but I also have an independent side. It would be awesome to have my own little corner to relax. So, what do you say? Let’s give my shelter dog story a happy ending!

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Rd Adopt Shelter Dogs Karen Courtesy Lisa Marie Conklincourtesy Ruff Start Rescue

Karen

Breed: Catahoula leopard dog/labrador retriever mix

Why you’ll love me

My foster family knows I’m no Karen, which is why I answer to the nicknames Kiki and Keeks. I’m fun-loving and playful, and human companionship is my fave. Dogs aren’t as appealing to me, but I’m working on being more open. I got to know the dog next door, and he’s pretty cool. I’m a well-behaved girl, so when my humans go to work, I get to stay in the den. They’ve come up with lots of fun things to keep me busy, and I do great on my own.

Things to consider

My eye was injured and removed, but it’s no big deal. It sure doesn’t stop me from having fun. And while we’re talking about fun, I would love to have a fenced yard that lets me run after balls at top speed. I’m not ready to share my home with another dog or cat just yet, but I might be someday!

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Rd Adopt Shelter Dogs Robot Courtesy Lisa Marie Conklincourtesy Ruff Start Rescue

Robot

Breed: Catahoula leopard dog/pointer mix

Why you’ll love me

Looks aren’t everything, but admit it: I got it goin’ on. My cinnamon-and-white coat and piercing, ice-blue eyes are something to behold! Under my handsome exterior lies a gentle, calm and sweet dog. I’m also curious about my surroundings. Some people stop to smell the roses; I once watched a woolly bear caterpillar cross the sidewalk. My foster mom says I can be clingy at times. I can’t argue with that. I love people so much!

Things to consider

I can’t hear, so I use my eyes and nose to explore my surroundings. My dream home would have a fence to keep me safe and a human who is home a lot. Having a deaf dog like me will require a little extra effort and patience, but I promise you I’m worth it.

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Rd Adopt Shelter Dogs Benson Courtesy Lisa Marie Conklincourtesy Friends of Michigan Animals Rescue

Benson

Breed: Belgian Malinois/German shepherd

Why you’ll love me

I’m a highly intelligent breed with a lot of pep and spunk, but I’m also a little shy. There’s no doubt I have the potential to be a top-notch companion—aka, your furry soul mate. I just need a committed pet parent who understands the importance of continuing my training to help me build confidence in new situations.

Things to consider

Since I’m part Belgian Malinois, I’m a fantastic jumper. But unless you want me scaling your fence, you’re going to want to make sure it’s at least 6 feet high. That’ll give me room to run and jump without going over the fence. There are some really cool videos online of dogs like me climbing very tall fences, so I will need supervision! Living with little kids or cats wouldn’t be a good idea because of my rambunctious energy, but I might be up for a doggy sibling.

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Rd Adopt Shelter Dogs Pollo Courtesy Lisa Marie Conklincourtesy Friends of Michigan Animals Rescue

Pollo

Breed: American pit bull terrier mix

Why you’ll love me

Are you an aspiring athlete? Me too! I used to be the skinniest of all the shelter dogs in the rescue facility, but today, I’m healthy and have dreams of becoming an agility dog. I’m a super-quick learner and have so much fun running through the obstacle course in the training room. I am full of excitement and energy and want to work very hard every day to learn new things. Sometimes I’m a little nervous meeting new people, but you can persuade me to open up, if you catch my drift. (Treats. I’m talking about treats.)

Things to consider

I’m on a roll and don’t want to give up my training, so I’m hoping for a pet parent who can train and challenge my brain and body every day. If you have children, I hope they are older. I have a lot of energy, possibly too much for some families.

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Rd Adopt Shelter Dogs Poppy Courtesy Lisa Marie Conklincourtesy Friends of Michigan Animals Rescue

Poppy

Breed: Australian cattle dog

Why you’ll love me

I’m a wildly affectionate girl! My favorite thing to do is cuddle next to my favorite human. I also have the best time rolling in the grass, splashing in water and zooming around the yard. You may be wondering how a purebred Australian cattle dog winds up in a shelter, since most are full of adorable mixed breeds. Trust me, I was too. But more than a year ago, I was pregnant and brought to the shelter. Within an hour, I had a litter of puppies. I was super stressed but warmed up to the volunteers over time.

Things to consider

It would mean a great deal to me if my new pet parents had knowledge or experience with my breed. I’m a bit nervous around strangers and probably won’t be touchy-feely at first. It may take a few hours, days or even weeks for me to let you rub my belly. But if you’re patient, it will be worth the wait!

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Rd Adopt Shelter Dogs Sesame Courtesy Lisa Marie Conklincourtesy Friends of Michigan Animals Rescue

Sesame

Breed: Mixed breed

Why you’ll love me

I’m a goofy, vibrant, active boy with a zest for life. It feels so good to get out of the shelter and play in the yard. (No offense, shelter.) But I’ve got to stretch my legs and find out what my doggy friends have been up to. I think I might have the genes of the fastest dog breeds in me because I have a need for speed. We could be running and hiking buddies! And when you get tired, I’m happy to entertain myself with toys in the yard.

Things to consider

Since I can get very excited, a home with older children would be best for me. I’m not sure if I like cats. Sometimes they scare me! Bonus points if you have a large fenced yard and another athletic dog like me at home.

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Rd Adopt Shelter Dogs King Kong Courtesy Lisa Marie Conklincourtesy The Animal Rescue League of Boston

King Kong

Breed: Pit bull terrier

Why you’ll love me

My peeps at the shelter say I’m nothing like the notorious gorilla—I’m a chunky but snuggly boy. I will put my whole head in your lap for cuddles, and when I’m feeling extra happy, I’ll roll around on the ground, belly up. I often get the itch for a good play session, and I take ’em seriously (I have a reputation for silencing squeaky toys). No worries, I have a wish list full of indestructible dog toys you can buy me!

Things to consider

I’m looking for a low-traffic house (no apartments) without furry roommates.

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Rd Adopt Shelter Dogs Oliver Courtesy Lisa Marie Conklincourtesy The Animal Rescue League of Boston

Oliver

Breed: Akita mix

Why you’ll love me

Maybe the question should be, “How can you resist this face?” Here’s a little about me: I’m part Akita, a Japanese dog breed. In Japan, well-wishers give Akita statues to new parents to bid the baby happiness and a long life. I can bring you happiness too! My other attributes include my snuggly coat and stellar fetch game. I like to show off a bit when I meet new people by bringing them one of my favorite toys.

Things to consider

Most dogs bark from time to time. But I’m a loud talker, so apartment living is out for me. A rural setting outside the city with a secure, fenced-in backyard fit for romping is my dream. I might not mind a canine companion, but it’s best if my new home doesn’t have little critters or cats. They wouldn’t appreciate me chasing them.

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Rd Adopt Shelter Dogs Maddie Courtesy Lisa Marie Conklincourtesy The Animal Rescue League of Boston

Maddie

Breed: Akita mix

Why you’ll love me

Large dog breeds like me often make the best pets. It’s because we have so much love to go around! Ask the humans at my shelter, and they’ll describe me as a big fan of cuddling and say I’m often found snuggling with my people. I’ve never met a toy I didn’t like, but the best dog toys for me are the plush ones. They’re so squishy and fun!

Things to consider

This girl needs room to roam. Country living or something outside the city limits would be awesome. Since I have a strong prey drive (I think it’s fun to chase squirrels and other small animals), I can’t be roomies with cats or small animals.

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Rd Adopt Shelter Dog Bug Via La.bestfriends.orgcourtesy Best Friends Animal Society

Bug

Breed: Chinese Shar-Pei mix

Why you’ll love me

Quite honestly, I don’t know why they call me Bug. I sure don’t look like one. Maybe it’s from that old saying: “cute as a bug’s ear.” Now that I can see. I do have a very distinguished brindle coat with a unique black saddle. As a proper gentleman, I’m patient and have impeccable manners. I walk really well on a loose leash and know commands like “sit,” “paw,” “down” and “stay.” Maybe all this goodness is from my Chinese dog breed roots.

Things to consider

Can I be your one and only—at least for the time being? I could potentially thrive alongside a well-matched larger dog, but living with smaller dogs or other pets isn’t my cup of tea.

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Rd Adopt Shelter Dogs Embers Via La.bestfriends.orgcourtesy Best Friends Animal Society

Ember

Breed: American Staffordshire Terrier/shepherd mix

Why you’ll love me

You know why dogs have tails, right? A dog’s tail gives you clues to its emotions. I show my excitement and love by constantly wagging my tail and wiggling my butt. Speaking of emotions, my humans can’t believe how intuitive I am. I can sense what you need, like when you’re craving a cuddle or want to play. With one look into my big brown eyes, you’ll fall hard and fast for me.

Things to consider

I have a cool skill: jumping high. There might be really fun people on the other side of a fence, after all. As fun as that is for me, my new pet parents won’t want to leave me unsupervised. I could scale the fence and socialize without permission.

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Rd Adopt Shelter Dogs Taffy Via La.bestfriends.orgcourtesy Best Friends Animal Society

Taffy

Breed: American Staffordshire terrier mix

Why you’ll love me

Not everyone wants a shelter dog that has endless energy. Some people want a pet that matches their personality. Not a fan of sweaty exercise? Me neither. I like short walks. I’m not exactly a social butterfly either, so if you fancy a night lounging on the couch instead of chit-chatting at the dog park, holy moly are we a match! Oh, and you’ll never fret about bath time. Goodness, I could show you how to bathe a dog because I’ve taken so many! Yep, I actually love a good soak.

Things to consider

Since I’m a bit shy, I would benefit from meeting my new family a couple of times before going home. I’m not antisocial; I just require time to warm up to new people and situations. And I prefer to be your one and only pet.

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Rd Adopt Shelter Dogs Josie Via La.bestfriends.orgcourtesy Best Friends Animal Society

Josie

Breed: American Staffordshire terrier mix

Why you’ll love me

My enthusiasm for life, love and learning is beyond comprehension! I’m always open to making new friends and eager to learn something new. I have enough energy to keep the party going, but I can take a hint and calm down nicely in quiet environments.

Things to consider

Crazy as it sounds, I’m allergic to cats. I’m not just saying that because I dislike the animals; it’s a legit health issue! It’s probably best if I have you all to myself, so no other pups in the house, please.

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Rd Adopt Shelter Dogs Hercules Via La.bestfriends.orgcourtesy Best Friends Animal Society

Hercules

Breed: German shepherd mix

Why you’ll love me

Guten Tag! I’m a German dog breed, so I thought I would impress you with my language skills. The term means “good day,” and almost every day is a good day when you’re with me. It’s true that I come off as a little shy at first. I’m just trying to pull off a noble and dignified vibe. Once I know you’re cool, my sweet demeanor shines, and I turn into a love bug. I’m a well-mannered walker and easy to train. I also like doggy playdates and playing in the pool.

Things to consider

I’m so curious about what’s on the other side of the door that I can be a door dasher, so it’s important to always be mindful when opening doors to the outside. Little kids might not be a great idea. I get jumpy when I’m excited and become unaware of my immediate surroundings.

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Rd Adopt Shelter Dogs Holy Moly Via Bestfriends.orgcourtesy Best Friends Animal Society

Holy Moly

Breed: American Staffordshire terrier mix

Why you’ll love me

Here’s all you need to know: I have a puppy-like zest for life, a great sense of humor and a smile that could melt even Cruella de Vil’s heart. I’ll never turn down a car ride or a playdate with my doggy friends. And don’t get me started on belly rubs! I don’t know why dogs love belly rubs so much, but sign me up for three a day, please!

Things to consider

Although I have degenerative joint disease, medications and supplements—as well as hydrotherapy and chiropractic appointments—keep me feeling my best. Sure, there are times when I get pooped out. But I stay pretty active doing agility training, swimming, walking along trails, playing with toys and hanging out with my pack of doggy friends.

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Rd Adopt Shelter Dogs Colt Via Bestfriends.orgcourtesy Best Friends Animal Society

Colt

Breed: Cattle dog mix

Why you’ll love me

I’m a friendly dude who loves humans. I bonded quickly with the caregivers at the sanctuary where I live, so once we meet, consider me a friend for life. Are you curious about the world around you? I am. I like to go on car rides and watch the world go by. I’m easy and breezy on the leash too, whether we’re walking along trails, admiring a pretty neighborhood from the sidewalk or hanging out with friends.

Things to consider

True to my cattle dog nature, I like to keep my body in motion, so a family that appreciates physical fitness would be ideal.

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Rd Adopt Shelter Dogs Jones Courtesy Lisa Marie Conklincourtesy Chicagoland Dog Rescue

Jones

Breed: Labrador mix

Why you’ll love me

My name is Jones, but I go by Jonesee! I am, paws-down, the ultimate sweetheart. I may not be a teddy bear dog breed, but my coat is snuggle-licious, and I’m a softie at heart. I am ecstatic about playing fetch and working hard on learning my basic commands. Yet, crazy as it sounds, I’m basically a couch potato with a lot of energy. Let me explain. I like to go, go, go, then pass out on the couch for a good nap.

Things to consider

Since I’m still young, I’ll need a dash of patience and heap of love as my new pet parents train me to be my very best self. A fenced backyard where I can hang out and run around safely is a must, and human roommates 10 years and up would be best, because I’m not always aware of my size.

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Rd Adopt Shelter Dogs Dutchess Courtesy Lisa Marie Conklincourtesy Chicagoland Dog Rescue

Dutchess

Breed: Hound mix

Why you’ll love me

I guess I’m not the only royal in this shelter-dog roundup! Just like the Dutchess you saw earlier, I’m a royal cutie pie! Doggies with floppy ears are irresistibly cute! My ears are so velvety soft too. I love to curl up close for cuddle time. I’ll probably take a nap, but you can keep petting me, I don’t mind. I’m very food motivated (like, who isn’t?) and love getting treats when I’m a good girl (which is all the time). I have loads of fun playing with my ball, chew toys and this cool toy that makes crinkling noises.

Things to consider

Just like with all puppies, pet parents should bestow love and patience as I continue to learn how to be the best dog ever! I love hanging out with my foster pupster siblings, and it would be fun to have a doggy sibling at my forever home.

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Rd Adopt Shelter Dogs Tony And Sherry Courtesy Lisa Marie Conklincourtesy Barky Pines Animal Rescue & Sanctuary

Tony and Sherry

Breed: Chihuahua mix

Why you’ll love us

We’re two sweet little muffins that have so much going for us. First off, chihuahuas are known for being a low-maintenance dog breed. No muss, no fuss! Second, doggy experts say chihuahuas are one of the longest-living dog breeds, and we have a clean bill of health. It’s hard to imagine, but we weren’t very loved in our last homes. We have each other now, and thanks to the love and patience our foster mom has shown us, we are ready to open our hearts and embrace a new family.

Things to consider

We’ve become best buds and will continue to thrive together in a quiet home. (Tony admits he can be nippy around strangers he doesn’t like.)

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Rd Adopt Shelter Dogs Phoebe Courtesy Lisa Marie Conklincourtesy Barky Pines Animal Rescue & Sanctuary

Pheona

Breed: Rat terrier

Why you’ll love me

I might look like your basic terrier, but I’m actually a rare dog breed you probably don’t know about. My breed was named in honor of President Teddy Roosevelt, who “appointed” my ancestors to combat the rat infestation in the White House. I have a lot of spunk left in me for being 12 years old, but I’d rather latch on to my favorite person than chase rats. My favorite pastime is rolling in the grass and observing the world from a distance. I’m a sweetheart of a gal looking to spend my golden years in a forever home.

Things to consider

If at all possible, I wish to be your only child. I haven’t been around little kids and am not enthusiastic about forging new relationships at this point in my life.

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black and white pitbull mix breed dog sitting the grass looking up with a smile and his tongue sticking outcourtesy SPCA Florida

Jinx

Breed: Pit bull/terrier mix

Why you’ll love me

I have boundless energy, but it comes in a really cute package (if I do say so myself). It’s fun and challenging for me to be active, but I’m equally enthusiastic about brain games. A consistent mix of both would be super cool—I don’t make the best decisions when I’m bored.

Things to consider

I love having my humans to myself, so I need to be your one and only pup. You should know that I had heartworm; the shelter helped me get through it, but my new family will have to bring me back for a retest in six months. Don’t worry, though: I’m feeling just fine!

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white bulldog mix breed dog in the grass looking up with his mouth opencourtesy SPCA Florida

Gustav

Breed: American bulldog

Why you’ll love me

Bulldog breeds like me are incredibly adorable, don’t you think? I’m actually a descendant of the English bulldog. My ancestors have been in the States since the 1800s—that’s a long time! Speaking of long times, I’ve been at the shelter long enough and hope that this will be the day you take me home. Here’s what I can offer you: I’m great on a leash and good with kiddos. I’m a couch potato and gold-medal snuggler. Oh, and I love food! The humans at the shelter say food motivates me to learn new things.

Things to consider

I would prefer to be the only furry love of your life. I do like some dogs, but other dogs just don’t measure up to my standards.

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Lisa Marie Conklin
Lisa Marie Conklin is a Baltimore-based writer who writes regularly about pets and home improvement for Reader's Digest. Her work has also been published in The Healthy, HealthiNation, The Family Handyman, Taste of Home, and Realtor.com., among other outlets. She's also a certified personal trainer and walking coach for a local senior center. Follow her on Instagram @lisamariewrites4food and Twitter @cornish_conklin.