(Closed) Please share your success stories and challenges of the adoption process.

posted 5 years ago in Pets
Post # 2
424 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2015

My mom rescued both of our family dogs when my brother and I were in high school. One when he was a puppy (Sully), and one when she was 3 (Tiki). Sully is really outgoing and friendly to everyone/ other dogs but Tiki had been abused so she is super timid. 

We think that she was too hyper around little kids, then the father of the kids would beat her and lock her in a bathroom. She is terrified of little kids, men, and bathrooms. So much so that it took her about a year to be able to be around my brother by herself. Now she is fine, we bring her to other people’s houses and she attaches herself to either me or my mom…but I’m 24 now…so it took that long for her to be comfortable around people who weren’t me or my mom. 

I will always recommend rescuing animals, and when my Fiance and I get a dog it will be a rescue. 

Post # 3
9524 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

Let me tell you about my little Kacie who was adopted just before she was going to be euthanized because of “behavior issues”. My father took me to humane society when I was 8. All the doggies were excited, food bowls empty, had a few friends in the cage with them. But this one little red dachshund had a full bowl, cowered in the corner and was all alone. I wanted that one, it needed a home. My father said to find a more lively dog, it would be more fun. I insisted, they brought her out. She sat on my dads shoe and pooped on him. I was in love. We brought her home, gave her the garage and access to the backyard. The first month she hid from us, it took a very long time for her to trust. apparently she was abused and abandoned for dead before she was rescued. Once she trusted us we were the best of friends. She slept in my bed every night, never needed a leash outdoors. She knew she was rescued. Dogs generally don’t have the grasp to know how provided for they are. She knew. We had her for 20 years, she lived well beyond the average. If you can get a rescue, the “damaged” ones make the best friends. 

Post # 4
953 posts
Busy bee

Maybe if you are scared of behavior issues you should look into rescues where the dogs are being fostered.

You can basically find any breed you want if there were a soecific breed you were interested in( like boston terrier rescue, australian shephard rescue, pitbull rescue..etc etc) or look for one that just rescues all animals in your area and the dogs are fostered in homes so the people with them have a better grasp of what behavior issues the dog really had as opposed to being scared in a shelter. They also won’t match you with a dog that doesn’t fit.  I know it means taking one from a foster instead who isn’t sitting in a cage but many of these dogs are rescues from shelters and when you adopt one it opens space for another dog to be fostered.

  • This reply was modified 5 years, 1 month ago by  smoocherific.
Post # 5
102 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2016

I would recommend continuing to look until you find a dog you feel comfortable and confident adopting. Correcting serious aggressive behavior is VERY difficult and time-consuming, and you may end up needing help from a professional trainer, which can be costly. Great dogs with no behavioral issues DO exist in shelters (I used to work at a shelter). Are you searching on PetFinder too?

My dog had some minor issues when I adopted her at 1.5 years old – she would nip at my heels (*very* hard), bark at other dogs, jump on strangers passing by on the sidewalk, and guarding marrow bones and peanut butter. I was able to stop her from nipping pretty quickly (within a week or two) by tethering her whenever she got too excited (had to tether her with a chain leash because she would chew right through fabric in about 30 seconds!). I practiced clicker training her to keep her from barking at other dogs – I did this diligently for about 8 months before losing steam…she still occasionally barks at other dogs if they get within about 10 feet but is fine otherwise. We took 3 6-week training classes of increasing difficulty, and by the end she was much better about not jumping on people, but still does it if they directly approach her or speak to her. We looked into the training involved in stopping food guarding behaviors, and it is really intensive! So we just don’t give her marrow bones and only give her peanut butter in controlled situations. 

She was also verrrry slow to warm up to us, and used to curl up on the opposite side of the room, and walk away to find a new spot when I approached her. That was the hardest thing for me, to not take it personally. But after a year in our house she’s finally warmed up and will seek out me or Fiance to rest her head on us or just snuggle up next to us.

100% worth it, but I was in a little over my head and I don’t know what I would have done if she had had any more serious problems.

Post # 6
413 posts
Helper bee

Oh jeeze. Our Freddie was probably our biggest “problem” pet after we adopted him. I came into our (My Fiance and I) relationship with a very loving cat who stalked me outside for 3 months before I just couldn’t leave her outside and took her in. My Fiance had found a little jackrussel/chihuahua running around the street around the same time I took in our kitty. When we moved in together we waited about a year and decided it was time to adopt a pittie. So we researched and researched and researched. We found a rescue called Woofs, Wiggles, and Wags who kept posting videos of this giant pittie who would throw his toy around and play with himself in the backyard. He was at their facility for about a year. No one wanted him. He had some issues….. So if course we chose him. Or…. He chose us lol. At first our cat wouldn’t go near him. He’s 70 lbs. The biggest, but youngest of the bunch. Bea (our chihuahua) haaaated him. She would growl and snap at him if he moved an inch. Well,about a month after adopting Freddie, Bea decided today’s the day I’m going to rip open his toe. So she did. Little Bea went at his poor giant paw like it was a steak. Freddie put her tiny little head in his giant mouth and tried to pull her off of him. Which worked. My Fiance thought he ripped her open since there was so much blood. We got them cleaned up and realized…. There’s not a scratch on her. All that blood was his! He could’ve ripped off her head if he wanted to. Ever since then, they’ve become the best of friends  but Freddie still gets crated when we’re not home so we don’t lose another couch. Which was another thing that happened…. Left Freddie downstairs when I went to work while Fiance had Bea upstairs while he showered. Freddie ate our entire couch. The whole thing was ripped into chunks. Mind you he has every single toy in the house. We decided it was time for training classes. At training classes he decided all of a sudden to attack a puppy and became food aggressive. Great. This is just great. Our trainer was so awesome that after classes he would tell us exactly what we needed to work on and how to do it. It was a daily process and a lot of work and Freddie still isn’t behaved 100% of the time, but when he’s told not to do something he listens. He’s now certified as a therapy dog to go to school programs to read with the kids and we also go to nursing homes to hang out with all the gma’s and gpa’s! He loves his job! I’ll ask him if he’s ready to go to work and he’ll get all happy and excited and go by his little vest and waits for me to put it on him. I think it’s all the kisses he gets to give lol. It’s a lot of work, but it’s always a lot of work with any new animal you bring into the home. You just have to be willing to be patient and work with the dog to understand why they’re doing certain things and then figure out how to stop the behavior. Keep looking for the right dog for you. He/she is definitely out there! 

Post # 7
37 posts
  • Wedding: June 2015

yes! adopt don’t shop. ๐Ÿ™‚ I have 3 pups, 2 are rescued, one was given to us from a litter that a friend’d dog had. I used to volunteer for a couple dog rescues and foster. I would highly recommend fostering if you’re trying to test the water, ease your way into pet ownership. my third dog is a “foster failure” meaning I was fostering her and ended up adopting her as my own. I always call her my “oops.” haha. I pulled her from a high kill shelter, she was up front by herself in a tiny crate. they had pulled her out of the back kennel bc she was so terrified so I knew I couldn’t leave her there. my first dog is a rescue too, I’ve had him for 10 years now and it hasn’t always been easy. I will say that rescues can be difficult bc we often don’t know their history, but there is nothing mor rewarding that knowing you gave an animal a second chance. “saving one animal won’t change the world, but it will change the world for that one animal.”

Post # 8
2680 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

View original reply
tattiibee:  the right dog is out there for you. It may be different where you are, but where I live shelters of full of wonderful dogs…the majority of which do not have behavioral issues and aren’t “damaged”. A couple of things to keep in mind:

1- shelters are incredibly stressful environments, so you can’t use the behavior of an animal in a shelter, to acurately predict how it will behave once settled into a loving home. 

2- people may feel ashamed when they are surrendering an animal. In some cases to make themselves look better, they will try to blame it on the animal having issues rather than being honest and saying they dont have the time to look after a pet, dont want the pet anymore, etc

3- if you are open to a senior dog, there are tons of wonderful seniors in shelters. Many of them were in loving homes their whole lives and are well adjusted fabulous dog who wound up in the shelter when their elderly owners died, went into nursing homes, became ill. Seniors are often overlooked in shelters. I follow “Susie’s Senior Dogs” on Facebook and they have some amazing stories on there.  

4- I second the recommendation that you may want to look into fostering or adopting a dog that is in foster care. If you are looking for a puppy often times the young ones go into foster care, because the shelter is an unhealthy environment for very young animals


good luck on finding your new best friend!

Post # 9
7897 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2010

We had great success at our local Humane Society. We adopted our sweet boy Lincoln when he was apx. 3-4 years old. He was picked up as a stray so they didn’t have any history on him and his behavior. Turns out he is gentle and well mannered with our cat and our daughters. I really encourage you to check in often at your local shelter- going once or twice may not be enough for the perfect “love connection”. 

He is old now but still a sweetie. I will adopt from a shelter again for sure.

Post # 10
1444 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

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tattiibee:  Are you looking on Petfinder? I think Petfinder is all rescues.

Darling Husband got our boy before we met, via Craigslist because not many rescue organizations trust a single man who hasn’t had a pet on his own before. But he was still like a rescue, the owner had needed to move back in with his parents, who were not good to him, and we think abused him a bit. He’s still super scared of fireworks, balloons, bubble wrap, the stove, and probably some other things, but he’s super sweet, and fine on his own.

Our girl we found on Petfinder, she had been picked up by a rescue organization from a kill shelter and was being fostered. She had been taken in as a stray, and she acts like she was a little hunter (she’s on the small side and pretty good at catching flies) and beggar (she’ll roll over and give kisses to anyone with food). She can be a little mouthy, we think that’s the poodle in her, but she doesn’t bite down, and she’s super sweet.

Post # 11
715 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

I have a dog with behavioral issues she has anxiety and is extremely high strung. I took her from my mum when her other dog was bullying her. .

when she is the most anxious, around men and in the car, she wears her thundershirt. It is seriously amazing.

she also has some terrier and chasing instincts which is fun when my cats get her attention. One cat activity tries to play with her which sometimes makes her chase. We’ve only had the cat 2 weeks so we are working on it. So far she responds if I say her name, and I give her a time out.

when I’m not home the dogs are cats are located in different areas in the house.


It a definitely not easy but it’s totally worth it. She’s my brothers dog so in a year or two he will take her, but even if he didn’t I’d keep her. I would definitely adopt another dog with behavioral problems.


Post # 12
5543 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: December 2011

There are lots of dogs in the shelter with “behavior problems” that really were “bad owner” problems. My parents got a german shorthair pointer mix from the shelter, she was brought there because she was “destructive”. Well, turns out it was because they were leaving a highly intelligent and high energy, people-loving puppy locked in a kennel 18 hours of the day! No wonder she destroyed things! She was bored out of her mind! Now she is home with my dad all day, he plays with her, lets her run outside, gives her things that are okay to chew and she is a PERFECT dog. 

It is mostly about figuring out the personality of the specific dog and what will work with them. Our terrier has a STRONG prey instinct and would not do well with a cat, but he loves being around all the dogs my ILs and parents have. My aunt has adopted and sucessfully homed some stray cats that couldn’t stay with her as they were food aggresive and needed to live in a home as the only one, but it works and they are happy now. She also had a dog that was taken to the shelter for counter surfing, he was smart too and got bored and was tall enough to eat off counters. She got him chew toys and didn’t leave tempting things on the counter, he was an amazing pet. It is just sometimes a little more work but usually worth it.


Post # 13
81 posts
Worker bee

Both the Chessies were rescues.  Max was dumped because he was chasing birds.  Um, big bird dog, what do you expect? Dorcas was food aggressive and was refusing to stay in an unfenced yard. 

Max doesn’t have issues other than being a Chessie. Dorcas was understandable for the food issues as the kids kept forgetting to feed her, then take food from her. Now, she’s ok with any person taking her bowl away, but she’ll snap at another animal. The other dogs go to their kennels to eat, Dorcas eats by us so we can work on her food issues.

Grant was from a breeder. He’s a rare breed, so very few in rescue. We waited 3 years for him.

Trevor, newest guy, is another rare breed but we got him from the shelter. Picked him up for rescue and Dear Fiance voted to keep him. We’re approved from rescue already. 

Post # 14
554 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

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eeniebeans:  Your dog is sooooooooo adorable!!!!!!! IN LOVE!!


I am 100% pro-adoption. I would NEVER purchase from a pet store, breeder etc.

We adopted our beautiful Ziggy one & a half years ago. He was six months old. He had ‘behavioural’ issues, but his were that he was SO scared of everything, having been rescued from a very abusive home. The first time I tried to take him for a walk, he cowered between my legs, terrified of an old lady out on her morning walk! He was scared of crunchy leaves, the wind, his shadow.

He learned quickly though that we would not hurt him & that we would protect him, always.

Now he is such a happy dog & he is so much more confident. He used to be petrified of water & now his favourite thing is to jump in the creek or ocean. He will paddle around for hours. 

He is the best companion, so loyal & so loving. He sleeps on our bed & we just adore him. I would give so much for him, I just want to do everything that I can to ensure that he has the best life possible. Such a darling little soul should never be subjected to harm & terror, let alone euthanasia because of human decisions.

PLEASE do not be afraid to adopt a dog, it will most likely be the best decision that you will ever make.

Post # 15
402 posts
Helper bee

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tattiibee:  It’s so awesome that you’re looking to adopt! And the fact that you’re open to the possiblity of a senior dog is so heartening, too. I adopted DH’s childhood cats when we got married. The cats were already 13 years old, and I was very scared that I would get attached and then lose one or both of them in a few short years, but it turned out to be the best decision I could have made. We still have one of the cats, 5 years later. We laid her sister to rest last summer after a brief but dramatic battle with stomach cancer. It was heartbreaking, but the years I had with her were priceless. Senior pets have so much love to give and receive! ๐Ÿ™‚

I wanted to share my not-so-successful dog adoption story with you, not because I want to discourage you from going ahead, but because I learned some big lessons that I know I’ll put to use when Darling Husband and I feel ready to try adopting a dog again.

Through my old job, I learned about a golden retriever rescue organization that was urgently trying to find a home for a senior (10 year old) female whose owners were getting divorced. Darling Husband and I own our small but cozy row home, with a little backyard, and close proximity to green space where our neighbors play fetch with their pooches. The screening was thorough, but we passed it all – referrals, home inspection, the works. We knew having a dog would be waaaay different from having cats, so we specified that we were open to adopting a senior who was quiet and didn’t mind being at home alone for much of the day (DH and I both worked full time). The folks at the rescue organization assured me that this dog was in her twilight years in every sense – quiet, happy to be alone or with people, familiar and non-confrontational with cats, and just looking for a soft landing spot for the remainder of her life.

Here’s the lesson I want to impart: Make SURE you’re getting accurate information about the dog(s) you might be interested in, and, if possible, arrange a thorough visit with the dog AND a trial period that will allow you to feel things out before you commit. When Darling Husband and I were finally contacted by the woman who was actually fostering this senior golden, we had (naively) already agreed to foster the dog in our home until a permanent home was found, or we decided to adopt her ourselves. The foster gave us a completely different story than the rescue organization – apparently, this “senior” golden had been emotionally neglected for years, was almost completely untrained, and was, essentially, a 100-pound puppy (yes, she was very overweight too). None of these things were the poor dog’s fault, but we had signed up based on VERY different information. Darling Husband and I would have never, in good conscience, signed up to adopt a puppy, because we knew we couldn’t commit the round-the-clock attention that a puppy would justifiably need. We felt very irresponsible and overwhelmed when we brought her home, but we were able to negotiate a 2-week trial to feel things out. It was just too much. She was a sweet dog, but being at home alone while Darling Husband and I were at work was causing her anxiety to go throught the roof. We had to crate her because she was destroying anything she could get her mouth around. Once she detected that Darling Husband and I were getting ready to leave the house for the day, she became a nervous wreck – it was heartbreaking. And we did not have enough experience with dog training to know how to best handle the moments when she misbehaved. The whole situation was bad. Thankfully, though, the original foster offered to take her back in. She had another golden at her house, and the senior female seemed to benefit a great deal from having another dog around. Also, the other foster was home full-time, and VERY experienced with training. It was a much better situation for the senior golden girl than our home. I beat myself up about it anyway, and it didn’t help that some people from my old job were very judgmental about our decision to move her back to the old foster.

The moral of the story is this: Gather as much information as possible, from as many sources as possible. Some rescue organizations might tell you what you want to hear in order to get you interested and get you to commit, and that’s very irresponsible. If you feel overwhelmed, reach out for help as soon as possible. And try to do a test run (as indelicate as that phrase is). This might be an unpopular view on the Bee, but I believe that it’s your home, and your prospective pets will need to fit into it, not the other way around. It doesn’t mean you don’t adjust. I just don’t believe you should feel like you have to turn your whole life upside down for a situation that doesn’t feel right.

Sorry for being so long-winded. I wanted to be thorough! Good luck to you ๐Ÿ™‚ Follow your gut!

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