Do you have an adoption story?

Happy, bittersweet, funny, difficult, inspiring... we want to hear it all.

Our AHS Adopters' Stories

These are just the beginning of the thousands of "love stories" that have resulted from the work done by AHS--with help from the wonderful community of Whatcom County and beyond. The match that happens between a person and a cat or dog that was just meant to be is magical. That magic is fueled by the work and devotion of many who come together to make it happen. Enjoy reading.

Congratulations, AHS, on a rescue story that never stopped getting better from the moment you accepted her. She was "Ava" when we adopted her, and we renamed her Briar. 

Briar had a fantastic life. She was best buddies with our pit bull Hanzo until he died of cancer about four years ago, and then she became the guardian of a chihuahua named Watson with severe PTSD, and she was instrumental in his rehabilitation. Watson went from "if a stranger looked directly at him he would run out of the room" to "goes up to strangers cautiously sniffing to see if they have treats" because Briar showed him how to trust people again. I transitioned to working at home long before the pandemic, and I'm an active guy, so she got several walks a day. We also took her hiking, swimming, beach combing, camping,
and on various road trips to see family or state parks.

We moved three times within Whatcom County, and while in her eyes each one was an improvement over the last, our last move to my sister's house in Spokane was the one she really thought was heaven. A huge fenced yard, an even bigger human family, two cats who weren't afraid of her and would even rub on her (she loved cats!), and two new dog cousins. Since she developed reactivity around age 2 or so, she didn't have very many dog buddies, but she was a stalwart cuddly friend for Watson. My sister has two young large dogs named Koda and Murphy. When we arrived here, we integrated them slowly with group activities and treats, and she became so close with her new cousins that she would let them use her as a pillow while we all watched TV. They even cleverly figured out how to play with her in the yard without setting off her reactivity, which was the first time i'd ever seen that with a dog she didn't grow up with! There are paths in the woods and a park near the neighborhood, which has great sidewalks for an old lady to walk on. She was still slowly going blind and deaf, but the climate temporarily cured her arthritis, and she could (and did) still get the zoomies. (continued...)

On August 25 she very suddenly didn't feel much like eating, and I took her to the vet the next day. She was diagnosed with lymphoma. We spent the next two weeks letting her do whatever she wanted and eat whatever she wanted. When i asked the home euthanasia service to come visit, she still wasn't exhibiting any symptoms of pain, just probably felt like she had a cold. We sat on the deck, which was her favorite place, on a pile of blankets on a miraculously non-smokey summer morning, and the last thing she remembered was going to sleep with her head on my lap while my partner and i talked to the lovely new stranger who had been petting her.

This is the first time that instead of feeling sad about my pet leaving us, i feel this amazing sense of peace. When i remember she's gone, instead of feeling terrible, i feel this surge of warmth and satisfaction. She was such a perfect match for us and our lifestyle that we were better for her than for any other pet we've had. I know we gave her everything we could and that it was nearly everything she wanted (if it had been up to her, we would have gone swimming for six hours every
day lol). She never found out how annoying it would be to go completely blind or deaf, never was embarrassed by incontinence or inconvenienced by impaired mobility. But she also didn't really get her life cut short--she spent ~84 dog years with a loving, adventurous family.

Thank you so much for rescuing that tiny little supposed-to-be-a-pit-bull puppy (she was... some kind of herding mix, when she got big enough to develop strong breed characteristics, haha, though probably still a little pibble as well). She made our lives better, and she helped save the life of another dog who had completely shut down from prior trauma. She was everything you want a dog to be, and we are so grateful that you let us take her home.

Cory & Seamus O. of Spokane

(Pet's name: Briar)

We adopted Mack 2 years ago from AHS. He is loved and spoiled 🥰. He loves his fur siblings, even the 4 cats. He’s been in mourning with us. We lost our pack matriarch a couple weeks ago to old age, and he’s definitely missing her.

Bobbi J C.

(Pet's name: Mack)

I just wanted you to know how great my Twiggy has been, almost 10 years later. I adopted her from you and her name was Mojo. I changed her name because someone had adopted her right before me, and was not the right person for her, and I was afraid if I ran into this person and she recognized “Mojo”, it might be a difficult situation. Plus, she really suits the name Twiggy.
Anyway, this little dog is the love of my life. And she has a great one! She goes almost everywhere with me 100% of the time. I owned a pet boutique in La Conner at the time called Wags & Rags. I am still in this location, but in 2014 I opened a new store called Walking Mod. Twiggy still comes with me to the store four days a week. She eats all organic fresh food, walks 2 to 3 miles almost every day. She is the best dog I have ever had. She is so awesome and now at the age of probably about 14, she is still as bright and active as ever. I just wanted you to know what a great job you are all doing and that this little dog has changed my life. She is so loving it’s just beyond explanation. Many of my customers come in the store and say “ where is Twiggy?” She loves everybody, men, women, kids, babies, and other dogs. She’s just the happiest little girl.
Anyway, thank you for helping all kinds of pets, like Twiggy find great homes, and owners like me for finding great companions.
If you ever want to stop in and say hi to her , I am at my store in La Conner, usually Monday to Thursday every week.
I don’t know what made me think of this today, but I hope that this email makes your day. 

Eleanor H.

(Pet's name: Twiggy)

Bali is the greatest gift and brings us so much joy every single day!! It is hard to imagine what life was like before Bali. When we finally decided we were ready for a rescue dog, we spent hours online and at local shelters searching for our forever pup, but we were heartbroken multiple times when the dogs we had our hearts set on didn’t work out. Little did we know that Bali girl would pop up on our feed one night when we had almost given up…and she would be at an adoption event at Paws for a Beer the next day, just a mile from our house. We filled out our interest form, met the sweet, timid little pup from Taiwan, completed the home visit, and got to welcome Bali home just a few days later. We feel so lucky and grateful that AHS trusted us and allowed us to give Bali the best life possible. Bali loves zoomies on the beach and in open grass fields, hikes in the mountains, runs with mom, and kayaking with dad on the Puget! Bali loves to play with her toys, meet new friends at the park, and snuggle with her family whenever possible. She is the best and we feel so lucky to have her!! Thank you AHS!!

Natalie and Steve of Olympia, WA

(Pet's name: Bali)

Hi there! We adopted our Toby (formerly Homer) from you in February 2020. We are living in Florida now and he is living his best life. We did a DNA test recently and I thought I would pass on the results in case you would like to pass it along to his litter mates. Thank you for one of our best friends. I've included some pictures with his big sister and bus baby brother we adopted last year.

Jessica L. in Florida

(Pet's name: Toby)

I thought I could wait til retirement for another doxie after I lost mine to illness and old age. But I could only hold out for a year…..then my quest began. It took months of persistence and I found Buddy through AHS! He is the sweetest boy. My little red dapple was 3 yrs old. I tried to imagine how anyone could have given him up. The night his fosters brought him to me and left that boy cried…I mean wailed for 4 hours with a broken heart that someone didn’t want him again. We are so close it’s beautiful. Shortly after, another rescue group had a senior doxie and I felt nobody would take her so I did. Ebbie! She had been crated 24/7 except to potty. And fed cat food. I got an 8 yr old “puppy” and had to teach her about life. She is still a pistol full of energy. After experiencing how much rescues give to you and me to them, I was asked to foster an incoming doxie. Ridley was a train wreck! 1 one year old crated all day and screamed at all night judging by his behaviors. He was so damaged I HAD to make sure to get him ready for his forever home. 3 weeks went by. He was still very reactive and out of control. My job was to find the best home for him. He had become crazy bonded with us but still a train wreck……. I knew We were the best home for him. I paid the adoption fee and he was ours forever. 3 years later he still has moments but is a total ❤ I have had dogs all my life. Always got them as puppies. MY BUDDY EBBIE RIDLEY HAVE MORE LOVE AND BONDING THAN ANY PUPPY I HAVE HAD: don’t shop. Adopt! Rescues bond so deeply and have such beautiful gratitude it is remarkable. So please foster if you can. Donate if you can. I love my 3 Weiners to the moon and back . AHS RESCUED ME🐾❤

Christine M. of Bellingham, WA

(Pets' names: Buddy, Ridley, and Ebbie)

8 years wasn’t long enough with our beautiful girl. I can’t believe it’s been nearly 10 years since I saw her on your guys site 💙 Missing her every day.

Charley C.

We LOVE that Oscar has already lived with cats. Our cat Bud plays with him. We are so happy with our newest family member Oscar.

Renee & Tom S. of North Bend

(Pet's name: Oscar)

We adopted Lyla 3 weeks ago and she has already become a member of our family. We love her so much and Obviously our 16 year old poodle Maggie loves her too! ❤️❤️

Kim C.

(Pet's name: Lila)

We adopted Cake from AHS 4 years ago. We went to an event to meet a different dog, but Cake (then Gypsy) jumped in my husband's lap and wouldn't take no for an answer. We love her to the moon and back - she brings us SO MUCH JOY. XOXO AHS!

Jean Marie R.E.

(Pet's name: Cake)

Wilson's first day home, being welcome by his matching cat Ender. He is now Ender's cat. It is adorable how Wilson tries to watch out for him. I think the cutest moment was when I took them both out on leashes (didn't last long for the cat) and the neighbor came closer to Ender to take a pic of them both at once and Wilson Ruuuuuuffed almost making the neighbor stumble backwards. "My kitty , NO PHOTOS"

Margarita M.

(Pet's name: Wilson)

OMG! I don’t even know where to start. We adopted Zorro (formally Zeng Zeng) from AHS three years ago. He’s not the dog I went to look at, at the event, but he walked by me with his Foster mom and I instantly knew he was going to be in our family. We weren’t the first choice for him, but happily they decided not to adopt him. Their loss. He is the best dog I’ve ever had. So loving and sweet. He has seen me through the Pandemic and three family members' deaths. He’s always by my side, ready to go on the next adventure. He is a delight!❤️

Gaye S.

(Pet's name: Zorro)

We adopted Blossom in September of 2012. She was one of 7 puppies found abandoned. I honestly didn't think AHS would let us adopt her because my husband was deployed at the time and understandably so people are leery to give a dog to families who move a lot.

Blossom's first three years were rough. She had demodex mange and a host of other issues. The summer of 2013 she graciously gave me her staph infection! In February of 2015 the entire family moved to Rhode Island, Blossom, her sister Dixie (also adopted, but from Virginia), and all their humans. Cold weather seemed to agree with Blossom and her mange healed, she finally started gaining a little weight and she was in great shape when she moved overseas to Europe with us.

We have been in Europe for several years now. Unfortunately in August 2020 she developed SARDS and unexpectedly went blind. While it can be a struggle Blossom has taken the challenge head on and has adapted pretty well. We use certain words and phrases to guide her and she has the house memorized. She is just such a trouper and good dog.

Tabrin MacN.

(Pet's name: Blossom)

She was introduced to us as Joy. No one at AHS was really sure what mixed breed she was so she had been described as a miniature Border Collie. Joy and her sibling had been found on the side of the highway in Idaho. Her foster momma brought her out to our property to meet our other 4 legged kids. There was an instant bond among them and Lucy Joy has been with us ever since. Our vet believes she may be a mini Burmese Mountain Dog? Regardless, she is well loved and takes good care of us. Thanks to all at AHS that find good homes for these fur babies. Your hearts are HUGE!

Arleen A.

(Pet's name: Lucy Joy)

We adopted Hannah in Oct 2008 at 3 months old . She was the most amazing dog. My daughter was only 2 years old at the time so they were able to grow up together. Hannah was loved by so many people that met her. She loved her family and our extended family. She was always so gentle and loved all children. She got along with every dog / cats that she met .
Sadly we lost her Sept 2021 to heart disease at 13.5 years old. Just wanted to thank AHS for choosing us to be her furever home . She was the best.

Barb B.

(Pet's name: Hannah)

We adopted Tammy (min pin chihuahua) in December of 2017 after learning our Lab Carly, our first dog, had cancer. Tammy and Carly became the best of friends and Tammy brought so much joy and vitality to Carly’s last years. Tammy was only 4 months old when we adopted her and she bonded so closely with Carly - they would do everything together, especially nap and cuddle. Carly and Tammy would play tug-o-war and it was so cute to see our 75lb Carly let our 15lb Tammy win. When Carly passed away, Tammy’s companionship was such a blessing for us. When the time felt right, we adopted another sweet friend for Tammy, another small breed dog, and we named him Tucker. We will continue to adopt the dogs in need of loving homes, and we will continue to donate to the wonderful volunteers of AHS. Thank you for bringing us Tammy, and thank you for all you do every day for your adoptable pets. You truly save lives. Much love!

Christine and Mark P.

(Pet's name: Tammy)

We got Oso in November of 2018. He just turned 4 in October and is absolutely the best dog ever! He can run 7 miles with me one day or be a couch potato for the next week he's really good at keeping up with me and the family. He can do over 14 tricks and tasks like pick up dropped items, give someone and item, spin, hold things the list goes on! He's a bit aloof with dogs now as he has matured and prefers to be left alone but he loves people especially kids. All in all despite his obnoxious ways he's perfect.


(Pet's name: Oso)

I adopted Maggie Mae in July of 2020! She is a 10 year old Pitbull mix and we are meant to be together. From the very first day, she’s followed me everywhere. I saw her on Petfinder and reached out. She’s not perfect but she’s so sweet and cuddly.

Amanda S.

(Pet's name: Maggie Mae)

Our family has adopted two wonderful dogs from AHS. The first was Ben. He was two and such a big love of a lab. He was with us until he was eight. One of the worst days was when he died. The vet thinks it was his heart. It was devastating for all of us, but especially my kids. So I decided about a week later to fill out a blanket statement of interest for a puppy. Any puppy, but if they happened to be a black lab mix that would be great. About 5 minutes after filling it out I got an email saying that 5 black lab puppies just got picked up from Idaho. They were 5 weeks old with no mom so we could visit and pick one out, but not take it home yet. A couple days later we loaded up the van and drove to Sedro Woolley( a trip we would make so many times before being able to bring Blue home) to the sweet foster lady’s house. Blue was the one wearing a blue collar. He is 7 now and the best dog. And so smart. When wants a walk he brings me his collar and my shoes (sometimes other people's shoes, but usually mine) Over lockdown my son taught him new tricks. He is the best! And we love him. Our Blue. Thank you AHS!!

Kristan B.

(Pets' names: Ben & Blue)

We adopted Beau in June of 2018 when he was just 5 months old. We drove down to Skagit County to pick him up and I held him in my arms all the way back to our home in Ferndale where he was to join his new adopted family of one Border Collie named Lady and our Australian Shepherd name Remington. He was a bit unsure of his two new siblings at first but in no time they were fast friends.
Lady and Beau are especially attached to each other and love to play together. Chasing a frisbee is the highlight of their day, along with barking when the UPS truck drives up with a delivery.
Our dogs all love to travel with us when we go to Eastern Washington to ride our horses in the high county for a few days. Beau loves making new doggie friends while we are visiting with friends and family.
Beau has been such a wonderful addition to our family. He is the sweetest little guy and we can’t even imagine our lives without him and neither can his sister Lady.

Cheri K.

(Pet's name: Beau)


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