All across the country, animal shelters and animal welfare organizations are trying to create a sea change in attitudes toward pets. Rather than would-be pet owners going to big-chain outlets to pick out a brand-new, purebred pup, which was probably bred in a “puppy mill,” the hope is for new owners to “Adopt, don’t shop.”
For the million-plus dogs that enter America’s shelters every year, having a breed pedigree or being adorably young is often not on their side.
But as you can see from this picture featuring a newly adopted dog cuddling his human shows, these less-than-purebred animals are every bit as loving and in need of loving as their pet store counterparts.
Bringing home a shelter dog is actually this magical.
The story behind the adorable photo begins with Kayla Filoon, a college student at Temple University who was volunteering at Animal Control & Care Team of Philadelphia (ACCT Philly), an open-admission shelter that takes in the waifs and strays of the City of Brotherly Love.
For Filoon, spending some of her time to brighten the days of abused, abandoned, and neglected dogs that ended up in the shelter is a great way to give back. Not to mention that it gives her the opportunity to cuddle with them, too.
The “danger” of working in the shelter was constantly falling in love with the dogs that she is responsible for taking care of. But Filoon had always managed to resist their charms, since she lives with lots of roommates and might have a hard time persuading them to let her take in a dog.
Then along came Russ, a 4-year-old pit bull that had clearly been through the wringer. As Filoon explained to The Dodo, there was something about this sad dog that drew her in. “He came in as a stray, and he was really beat up. He was missing fur on his tail and ears. He was also terribly skinny,” she said.
Russ’s down-at-the-heel appearance didn’t stop Filoon from seeing his inner beauty. The dog just sat there calmly, looking straight at her, “as if he knew I was going to be his mommy one day,” as she told TODAY.
On the walk, Filoon got to see just how sweet Russ was, and she decided to take the plunge. “He was really cuddly with me, even when we went into the yard,” she told The Dodo. The thing that made Russ’s adoption particularly urgent was that he faced potential euthanasia.
He had caught kennel cough, and the overcrowded shelter was going to have to euthanize some of its less adoptable dogs to make space for a constant influx of new arrivals.
“Any dog had a chance of being put down, especially the ones who were sicker, and Russ was definitely one of them,” she told The Dodo.
When Filoon called her mother to tell her that she had found the dog of her life, her mom didn’t believe that she would actually go through with it. Although she had talked about adopting many times before, this time it was for real.
And THIS right here people is why you should adopt!!! My niece and her newly adopted ACCT Philly dog of less than 2…
Her roommates were surprised but happy to welcome Russ into their already full home. As Russ recovered from his kennel cough and got used to his new home, he held on tight to his new mom.
So much so that one night, when Filoon was completing her homework, the loving pit bull actually sat up on the couch and put his front legs underneath her arms, giving her a human-like cuddle. “There was a whole other sofa open, and we had his bed on the floor, but he didn’t want to lie anywhere else,” she told The Dodo.
One of Filoon’s housemates took a picture of Russ wrapped around Filoon, laying his head on her shoulder, which was just too adorable not to share on social media and go viral. The two have lived happily ever since then, and Russ shows no signs of being any less cuddly!