Rescue Your Next Best Friend

Story & Photos Contributed by Cristina Gregory, who adopted Elsie at the Ruffwear & Best Friends Animal Society RAD Adoption Event, Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2016

The amount of love and fulfillment that comes from being a companion to a furry friend is something that can’t be described until you own the role.


Throughout my young adult life, I was always wondering why people were overly passionate about promoting adoption and shelters. Even after spending my high school years volunteering at the local shelter, I didn’t feel the need to put bumper stickers on my car or hug strangers in parks after learning their dog was adopted. Yes, I’ve seen it happen numerous times.

I was actually terrified of adoption! As much as I wanted to help animals, especially dogs, I wanted to play it safe and stick with breeders. The reasoning behind this was very justifiable for me. I knew a handful of friends who had to return their adopted dog because it was a poor fit, or worse, because it bit someone. My logic was this: Even if I trained an adopted dog as best I could, I couldn’t possibly know what to expect. Every dog is being adopted out for a different reason, and not knowing a dog’s history scared me.

What I didn’t know was that those nightmares were far and few between the happy realities of adoption. A couple years ago, adoption fell into our lap, when we met a dog in need of love and a home. It was then that I learned why others were so passionate with their bumper stickers and hugging of strangers.


What I learned was just how much your life changes after an adopted dog enters it. You learn this the moment your new pet looks at you with happier eyes, somehow knowing it’s safe with you. You learn this when your new pet doesn’t want to leave your side, because you’re the first to give it such genuine love. You learn all of this when your adopted pet somehow loves you even MORE than any other has ever loved you… and that’s saying a lot.


Adoption is more than it seems. It’s truly saving an animal and giving it a second chance at the love it so badly deserves… You rescue it. What’s best about that? Your new pet somehow understands all of this. The love and loyalty you’ll feel with the pet you’ve rescued is enough to change you for the rest of your life.


If you’re looking to adopt a dog, Ruffwear & Best Friends Animal Society’s RAD Adoption Program is a great place to start! The RAD Program will have 5 dogs available for adoption at the Outdoor Retailer Trade Show this week (Days 1 & 2, 11am-3pm, Ruffwear Booth #34081). If you won’t be at the show, check out the RAD Dogs currently available on the Ruffwear website.

16 thoughts

  1. Nice article. As usual my dog jumps the wallfence to welcome me at the gate on the sound of the car. Today i found him with another dog at the gate. On opening the gate, he entered with his visitor, this dog visitor was so youthful n friendly. My family was so terrified by this strange male dog that was climbing our yet of the same sex. Dog wouldnt leave, on one beating, he hid under the car. It was such drama. Is it normal for same sex to climb each othr in a mating style? Do you think its ok to adopt this sturbon dog?

  2. Adopt! Don’t shop! I will never go back to anything else. There are so many lovely dogs, cats, horses, rodents etc needing a home. I know so many people who have the same reservations about adopting not understanding what they’re missing out on. It always fascinates me how these animals after having had such a hard life (not all rescues had one, of course) still want nothing more than a human to trust and love. You get a lot more than you give when you adopt. Is it hard work, sure. Can it be overwhelming, hell yeah! But the rewards are manifold. Great blog!

    1. Could we just agree on adopt AND shop responsibly? If every dog owner responsibly took care of their dogs, regardless of where they obtained them, we wouldn’t need rescues and shelters. This weird division between those that adopt and those that go to good breeders is not helpful to the actual cause of promoting responsible, lifelong committed pet ownership. I got my dog from a breeder, but also volunteer for a dog rescue. The two are not mutually exclusive.

      1. You are right of course but from my experience there are unfortunately too many breeders that aren’t that responsible because they keep breeding breeds that have all kinds of defects. They might be good to the dogs otherwise and make sure to find good owners but still breed pugs, cavalier etc with extremely short noses shepherds with dipped hips etc obviously whether you get your dog from a rescue or a breeder doesn’t say anything about your abilities as a responsible dog owner but I still think that unless people stop treating dogs as accessories (which many people do who get them from breeders), we will never get rid off rescues. I know good dog owners of all types but personally I don’t like breeding and will never get an animal from a breeder again.

        1. And it’s my experience that the people who get their dogs from good breeders are able to return them for any reason so they don’t end up in shelters. I find that the folks that treat their dogs like “accessories” is anyone getting a dog without considering the lifelong responsibility involved. Also folks that get pit bulls or purse pets because they want to look cool but then realize their accessory is actually alive and needs to be looked after. I have no problem with anyone that wants to adopt their dog, but again, what I’m arguing against is this idea that people who get their dogs from breeders should be vilified. We are not the enemy. That’s all I’m saying.

          1. Julie: I’m a pitti-mix owner and I resent the comment about getting pit bulls to look cool. It’s this attitude from some people that stereo type all folks who have pitti’s or mix pittie’s that angers me. This is a stereotype is what can make it hard for a human to own this type of a dog, cities that still have bans on owning a pittie or for a human to really know the dog and see if it is a good fit. Each dog, no matter the breed, is an individual and should be treated that way, not bc of a stereotype that humans put on them. We don’t need this attitude because it frankly is so misleading and misinformed. I have my pitti’s for far longer than I had my full breed golden. My pitti’s are beautiful, playful and loving dogs, each with their own goofy personality. My golden was terrific as well. I love all dogs, mix mutts or full breed dogs are all wonderful dogs. It comes down to what is best for the human and their lifestyle and to make sure the human can take the personal, financial and emotional costs it takes to own a dog for their ENTIRE life. I personally will never go to a breeder to own a particular breed. If I want a all breed ‘whatever’ I’m going to check out their rescue group and take the oldest dog they have. Same with a mix dog – going to my local shelter and take the oldest or the one who has been looked over the most. Breeders need to understand that their dogs are NOT better than a mixed dog. About 30% of all pure dogs end up in shelters and in breed specific rescue’s. They are part of the problem since their dogs do end up in shelters or in breed rescues. We need to educate all people who are looking for a dog. Don’t overlook shelters and if that person or family still wants a pure breed, then go to that local pure breed rescue to adopt. We all need to help to end the pet homeless situation we humans have created.

            1. Marcy, calm down. As you just made an assumption about me, let me tell you that I have an American Staffordshire Terrier…so you are yelling at someone that has the same issues. I do not assume that all pit bull owners get them because they “want to look cool” but can we agree that people that get a dog to look cool tend to get pit bulls? Also part of the reason that shelters are full of them? The rest of your comment is, well, up to you. I choose not to get a dog from the shelter just as you choose not to get a dog from a breeder. This fact does not make either of us better or worse. That is the only point I am trying to make, here.

              1. You are highly misinformed! People who adopt Pitties do so bc they love the breed, NOT bc they want to “look Cool”. Are there some bad apples? Of course, just like there are bad breeders who do it only for money. Most Pitti owners I know and read about have really good intentions, are previous dog owners, responsible and very educated about the breed and do a lot to educate others about the the stereotype of the dog and frankly it appears we need to educate about the type of people we are and our intentions. Geez! Have a good day! I’m not engaging with you.

                1. So, I gave this response a lot of thought, mainly because I believe you are willfully misreading my posts so here it goes. I have been around Pit Bulls for more than 20 years; I was a vet tech for many years, ran a pit bull rescue and a rescue fair for many years. I competed in pit bull heavy dog events and put an obedience title and pet therapy certification on two of my dogs. I know pit bulls. What I said in my previous posts was NOT that people who adopt and get pit bulls do so to look cool. What I DID say is that people who are looking for a dog with the sole purpose of having an accessory to make them look cool and feel tough are drawn to Pit Bulls. Can you see the difference now? And because of this, so many of these dogs end up in shelters (for the same reason that Dalmatians hit the shelter when that Disney movie comes out or Jack Russells were popular because of Eddie on Fraiser). And, thankfully, because of people like you and me (and apparently everyone you know) they have a chance and we can educate the population about how great they are. So can I end this thread for good by going back to my original point which is, I wish we could just get together, as dog lovers, and support dog owners with education about responsible dog ownership and not focus on shaming or chastising people on where they got their dog in the first place. That’s it.

                  1. Hi Julie: Yes, let’s end on your note and agree. We must all play an active role on educating those that are not familiar with the breed, dispel myths and find loving homes for all dogs. Thank you for the message. Have a wonderful day – Marcy

          2. Of course you are not the enemy. We got our first dog from a breeder although she was from an “accident” litter. The breeder made sure that all her pups got a good home, even the accidents.

  3. Wonderful post and yes I would hug you in person if I could. Mine are all rescued and would never ever have it any other way

  4. I Loved your story it made me miss my dogs (and I’m only at work) I will go home today and look into his eyes with a little more appreciate of the bond that we share. Thanks for reminding us that adoption is the best option to help with homelessness and suffering of our companions.
    I’ve been lucky to have found two wonderful dogs at shelters here in Chicago Anti Cruelty and PAWS (Pets are worth saving)

  5. When you adopt a shelter furiend, you save 2 lives. The one you adopt, and the one that takes it’s place.
    My huMom found me at a shelter when I was 9 months old.
    She’s said that she couldn’t have imagined how I have changed her world.

    Nose nudges,
    CEO Olivia

  6. I don’t agree that rescue dogs love their people more than dogs from breeders do. If you love your dog, your dog will love you, regardless of where you got him/her. I wholeheartedly support adopting, but I don’t support any kind of “my dog loves me more than yours loves you” attitude. Any dog from anywhere will love you to the ends of the earth if you treat them right.

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