20 Pictures Of Rescue Pets Finally Being Adopted Had Us Tearing Up

About 6.5 million animals enter the U.S. shelter system each year according to the ASPCA, and some never leave. Though not all shelters are as cruel and cold as they seem, don’t you think a cat or dog would be a lot happier snuggled up with you at home? These shelter pets may have had it rough for a while, but as soon as they found their forever home, they finally let their true colors show — and it’s nothing short of adorable.

1. Hoagie here was 14 when she was adopted, and as a “welcome home” gift, her new family decided to get her a hat. After all, a lady of such class should only be dressed in finery.

2. When this family visited their local shelter in the hope of adopting a kitten, they were surprised to learn they were only allowed to adopt them in pairs. Judging from the look of these two snuggle bugs, it’s not hard to see why.

3. Even the Terminator himself couldn’t resist welcoming a furry friend into the family. Hopefully after he left the shelter, he told the staff, “I’ll be back!”

4. This family was worried their senior cat wouldn’t be too happy about them adopting a new kitten. Things seem to be going well so far, though hopefully he’s been using the last few years to prepare for the now-daily piggy back rides.

5. After rescuing a handsome pup from across the country, this family learned that one of his brothers had actually been adopted by someone right in their hometown. You know what that means, right? Playdates!

6. When this cat lover brought home a stray, they believed they were welcoming a kitten into the family. Little did they know it was actually a tiny little bunny in disguise.

7. Parrots don’t exactly seem like the type of pet to enjoy company — you know, with all the snarky comments and all — but when this family brought home a pal for their feathered friend, they proved it’s true what they say: “Birds of a feather flock together!”

8. This cutie pie really seems to be enjoying her first post-adoption trip to the dog park. It’s safe to say all that open space and those good smells are a heck of a lot better than being cooped up in a cage at the shelter.

9. This rescue kitten takes the phrase “I’m baby” to a whole new level. Fortunately, it looks like this little girl is more than willing to play along.

10. Meet Bear. When his new family first brought him home he was a little camera shy, though just a few days later he was finally ready to show off those pearly whites. Looking good!

11. This adorable little fella was adopted after he was found abandoned outside a pet store. I wonder what he’s more relieved about: finding a forever home, or not having to spend another minute in a PetSmart parking lot!

12. This little baby was rescued after being found hiding on a potato farm. Their owner wasn’t sure what to call the adorable kitten, though “Potato” would probably be a pretty good fit.

13. Just a few hours after Digit here was adopted, he’d already made his owner’s lap his new favorite sleeping spot. Hopefully he isn’t too much of a snorer!

14. This good girl was adopted just a day before she was set to be put down for being “too anxious.” As it turns out, she was just a little gassy from the not-so-great food the shelter had been feeding her! We’ve all been there…

15. When this family found out their friends could no longer keep their senior dog, they jumped at the chance to bring him home. At his old house, he wasn’t allowed to lay on the couch — safe to say he’s already enjoying his new digs.

16. This rescue pup wasted no time in bonding with his new owner as he carried him out of the pet store. At the end of the day, all animals really want is to be loved.

17. When this family set their sights on one of these two cats, the shelter insisted that they had to be adopted together. Even since being brought home, the BFFs have remained inseparable.

18. Not everyone ages well, but this 14-year-old pup is cute from tongue to toe. She’s a bit of a screecher according to her owner, but those howls really just mean “I love you” in dog.

19. This pretty lady clearly isn’t much of a backseat cat. On her ride home from the shelter, she perched on her owner’s shoulder the entire way. Now that’s a quality co-pilot!

20. For several weeks after being adopted, little Zelda thought her big sister Chloe here was her mommy. An honest mistake, for sure, but Chloe didn’t seem to mind one bit.

21. Life in an animal shelter can be difficult and lonely for animals. Luckily for this little pooch with heterochromia (one blue eye and one brown eye), he’s found a family to give him a loving forever home. Now he’ll never be alone again!

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22. Life once looked bleak for this adorable little chihuahua, so much in fact that he often spent hours just staring at walls, hoping he’d be rescued some day. Well, that day finally came! Just look at the change in his demeanor. That’s one happy dog!

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23. When a shelter animal is finally adopted by a caring pet owner, she can say goodbye to spending her days behind caged fences. Instead, it’s time to say hello to long walks with her human and roaming freely around her new home.

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24. Everyone knows that cats tend to be loners; they spend the majority of their time either taking a nap or relaxing on a window sill. Still, the difference between before and after being adopted can easily be seen in this one’s facial expression. “Wait, is this real life?”

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25. This little snow white cutie used to spend the majority of his days in a tiny stall at his local animal shelter. Now that someone has given him a forever home, he can be seen outside enjoying the sun and taking lots of walks with his human!

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26. This brown and white pooch must’ve spent a lot of time scavenging for scraps of food out of garbage cans on the streets; she was so malnourished that you can even see her spine and rib cage. Clearly getting adopted was the best thing to ever happen to her! Just look how she’s gotten up to a healthy weight.

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27. This cheeky striped cat was merely a shadow of herself before being adopted by a loving family. Not only was the kitty clearly starving, but her overall demeanor seemed much more solemn before finding a forever home.

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28. This little dog wears his heart on his sleeve… and his face. Just look at those sad eyes before he was adopted from the shelter. Compare that to the look at his face now, which just says it all. He found his happiness—and that meant getting to go home!

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29. It’s not uncommon for stray animals to arrive to a shelter with scrapes, injuries, or even diseases. Sure, this little cutie might’ve arrived with a leg injury, but as soon as she was adopted, she healed up quickly!

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30. It’s hard to say whether this one-eyed cat was born that way or suffered an injury while stray and living on the streets. Nevertheless, now that he’s been adopted and has a safe place to rest at night, he can be sure to avoid getting into any scraps with other strays.

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31. This tiny dog’s long fur is a dead giveaway that he clearly hadn’t been bathed in ages when arriving to the animal shelter. But once he was given a proper bath and brought outside to play in the sun, the difference was night and day.

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32. Stray animals have a way of getting themselves into a world of trouble when encountering certain dangerous animals, like porcupines. Unfortunately for this dog, he had to learn that lesson the hard way. But now that he has a human to give him guidance, you can rest assured that won’t be happening again anytime soon!

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33. This wrinkly little pup was clearly suffering from a case of mange when he arrived at the animal shelter, but once a person adopted him and gave him some love, he was looking so much healthier. Way to go, dude, you’re on the right track!

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34. This cute dog must really have a family who shows him love and care. Just look at how happy he is to have his picture taken once he was adopted! He obviously didn’t feel this way when he was still living in the animal shelter.

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35. When a veterinarian examined this pooch after she arrived at the shelter, it was clear she had been severely malnourished—just look at her rib cage. Not to worry, though. Just look how happy she was going for a walk with her new human! Nice leash, little one!

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36. This adorable kitty is barely recognizable from when he was first discovered living all alone on the street. He seemed much more content after he had finally been adopted! That’s the transition from a look of fear and loneliness one of love and happiness.

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37. This little white pooch was in serious need of some proper grooming while living on the streets, but luckily when he found a forever home, he received just what he needed. Now, he looks svelte with his new ‘do!

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38. When rescuers from the animal shelter found this poor little guy living on the street, he was understandably sad and distressed. Now, he’s all smiles. Maybe it has something to do with being adopted—though it probably didn’t hurt that his favorite baseball team finally won the World Series!

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39. This poor little guy had a tough time getting adjusted to life at the animal shelter. But now that someone gave him a place to call his forever home, he’s all smiles—and a whole lot of tongue, too!

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40. Life in the shelter was far from what this adorable pooch deserved. Now that he’s living in a forever home, he can roam around and play in the snow as much as he wants! That’s the priceless look of pure happiness right there.

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