9 Things You Learn When You Adopt A Rescue Dog

Kilo the Pug - "A Life Lived In Love Will Never Be Dull" pin

#AdoptDontShop #RescuesRock

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Today’s inspirational post comes from the amazing life lessons you learn when you open your heart and home to a rescue dog. As 2016 kicks off many people are looking for a change. Why not adopt a dog in need and save a life this year? Through our work supporting various rescue charity events, advocating for rescues with this blog and filming our Rescues Rock documentary, we have seen first-hand the difference these special dogs can make.

My rescue pug Kilo, from Homeward Bound Rescue,  has certainly changed my life.

smiley and boy cuddle

Smiley was rescued from a puppy mill – where he was born without eyes. He has overcome his disability and now works as a “certified child-tested therapy dog” for St John Ambulance.

Here’s our list of 9 things you learn when you adopt a rescue dog:

1. Every Animal Has A Unique Personality

Just like people, animals have personalities, feelings, and emotions. Pets are not usually inherently “bad”. Some rescues come from hard pasts that may cause behavioral or other issues. With patience, training and love, your rescue pet will learn to trust, relax and open up to you. It’s important before you consider adopting a pet to do your research to ensure it’s a good match for you and your lifestyle. Adopting a Dog? Try our fun Dog Breed Quiz to see what your best match is.


Arthur the rescue was born without eyes but that has never stopped him!

2.. You’ll Save Two Lives By Adopting A Rescue 

When you adopt a pet, not only are you saving its life, but you also give a chance to the one who will take its place in the rescue, shelter or foster home. Until no pet is left in a shelter, adopting is a great option.

3. Love Changes Everything – Learn Empathy, Patience, and Responsibility

Caring for, training and showing a pet love can teach empathy, patience, and responsibility. The special love of a rescue can transform. Rescue dogs have had great success in programs with prisoners and at-risk youth. Both the dogs and the people benefit.

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Badger was abandoned in the woods as a puppy and rescued by his now forever grateful owner, Derik Hodgson. Who would have known years later Badger would be his life-saving hero.

4. You Both May Come Out Of Your Shell and Learn to Trust

Not only can pets give you unconditional love, but they often greatly improve your mental, emotional and physical state. By having a companion animal, especially a dog that you walk, you are forced to get out and try new things. This can be very beneficial for those who may feel isolated or lonely. We know of many cases of people finding love and friendship at the Dog park.

Read: 22 Amazing Rescue Dogs That Will Blow Your Mind

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5.  The Rescued May Become The Rescuer

Many former shelter pets and rescues become therapy or service animals or may become Heroes. They can teach us selfless love and devotion.

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Xena the rescued puppy now lives a happy and safe life with a wonderful family (human and canine alike). She has the special task of providing comfort to her autistic human brother Jonny.

6. Learn to deal with Stress

Scientific research shows that looking at and petting dogs can increase hormones that improve moods and reduce hormones that increase stress levels.


When Jack was adopted he had mood, weight and behavior issues. Now he is the mascot of the SlimDoggy website and an inspiration to thousands looking to be healthy and happy.

7.  Become Be More Healthy and Active

Having a daily routine that includes many walks is a great benefit of owning a dog. Your body will thank you for the extra exercise and daily adventures. Research in Australia showed that dog owners got more exercise than non-owners. I have learned a lot about diet, nutrition and exercise looking after Kilo the Pug.

Cute Jingle Bells, Rescue Dogs Rock Video

Fishstick the Pug and family from our Rescue Dogs Rock Doc

8. Live Life To The Fullest- Be Grateful for Every Moment

The most important thing in life is to value it. Enjoy every moment. Rescued pets are great for reminding us that a few of the best things in life we may take for granted are actually very simple  – a warm, comfortable place to sleep, lots of love, smiles, clean water, and enough nutritional food.

Jeffrey the pit bull looking at camera

Therapy Dog and Shelter Dog Goodwill Ambassador, Jeffrey, shattering stereotypes and opening minds…one belly rub at a time!

9. We Can All Change

Many rescue dogs come from situations that were ideal but that doesn’t define them. They don’t hold grudges (although Kilo still does not trust the mailman and certain tall men in dark clothes).

The best lesson you will learn is that with lots of positive reinforcement, anyone can change. We can all learn to forgive, to forget, to trust and let go of negative energy.

More Great Reasons:

Have You Adopted A Rescue Dog? Share Your Tips, Storied and Comments Below.

See the beauty with our friends Sugar and Oz



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  • I think rescue dogs are wonderful and encourage adoptions. If a person wants a certain breed, there is a rescue for almost every single one.

  • Rescue dogs are the best!

  • Mr. N is a rescue and I often have people telling me they want a dog like him. I try to steer them to rescue.

  • I’m so happy that you and Kilo found one another!

  • Layla is rescued, it was an online love at first sight, my friend pulled her from the Carlson Shelter for me and another brought her to San Francisco, best thing I have ever done and would do it over again. Only rescue for me

  • These are great reasons why we should adopt a dog. If I have to have another dog, it’s going to be a rescue dog.

  • This was a great list – we’re all for adopting rescues!

  • These statements are so true! Rescues are the best. My kitties (who were both rescued) have been a huge blessing in my life. I love your statement about how love changes everything! :)

  • I cannot wait to see your documentary. I rescued two of our dogs from two different rescues and they changed my life — I cannot imagine my life without them in it. One is super reactive and has a ton of anxiety and living with him has shaped my life with dogs. Thanks for everything you’re doing.

    • Profile photo of Talent Hounds

      Thanks Christine. How does you reactive dog cope with your other dog? Kilo only has 2 or 3 dogs he will tolerate so far and even then not in his own home or off leash. It is so challenging as it limits his opportunities and is terrible for training and vet visits etc.

  • Great article – I wholeheartedly agree with your points and the same holds true when you rescue a cat!

  • Pets bring *so* much to our lives. I didn’t learn about what unconditional love really was until I adopted Milita and Carmine. They’ve taught me so much, and they’ve helped me transform into a better person. I can’t wait to see what other lessons they will teach me throughout our time together!

  • SO MUCH YES! All of my babies are rescues and I LOVE that each has such a distinct personality. They have saved me as much as I’ve saved them!

  • It’s great that there are 9 things good about rescuing a dog but we think there is no end to the reasons to rescue and save a dog! Love Dolly

  • Wonderful stories to start the year off! Thank you.
    We absolutely adore our PM rescues and couldn’t have chosen two more loving companions.

  • Wouldn’t it be amazing if there were no dogs or cats that needed to be rescued; that they already had wonderful forever home.

  • Great post. I wish more people understood what it truly means to adopt a rescue. So many great dogs have been rescues and gone on to do great things. I truly wish that someday there will no longer be a need for shelters or rescues, until that day #adoptdontshop is my motto. Thank you for sharing such inspirational stories.

  • Carol Bryant 9 months ago

    We rescued our first dog. She taught me so much about life.

  • What a great list! My Bentley has certainly taught me patience, but he’s also proved that love changes things. He’s very happy these days!

  • Rescue dogs are great aren’t they?

  • I love all these wonderful rescue pups! Every one is unique, and has given back the love and gratitude from being given a second chance.