22 Amazing Rescue Dogs Making a Difference

Millions of pets go into Rescue or Shelters each year in north America and sadly, too many still get euthanized. Help us share the message that rescues aren’t broken, they can learn and they can change and save lives.  They can give unconditional love and loyalty, and make life more fun.

This Thankful Thursday, we wanted to celebrate Rescue Dogs that Rock. Please add yours or others you would like to celebrate in the comments to be included.

Do what you can to share – End Puppy Mills, Spay and Neuter, and Adopt Before You Shop because #rescuesrock.

Read stories and watch videos of how these rescue dogs are rocking their forever homes and making a difference:


black dachshund puppy with puppy eyes

Blue The Rescue Puppy’s Journey- Pet Store Dumpster to Happy Home

When a local pet store was going out of business, our friend Linda, a volunteer for Helping Homeless Pets and Tiny Paws Dog Rescue  stopped by to see if she could pick up any bargains.

She saw the owner throwing a box in the dumpster and heard mewing. She stopped the man and rescued the poor little kittens inside the box. He then said, “do you want the puppy too?” Knowing she couldn’t leave a helpless puppy behind to freeze to death in the dumpster, Linda climbed in and dug around to find a little bundle of fur at the bottom. She called the tiny dachshund Blue because he was half frozen to death. He needed lots of love and medical care but is now happy and healthy. He has become a spokesdog for Wienerfest and Rescues.

Please watch and share the video below for more of his story and stop by Tiny Paws Dog Rescue.




This special little dachshund is Arthur and he is proof that Rescue Dogs Rock! He has overcome being born without eyes. Today he is a happy boy and a huge inspiration.

At nine weeks old Arthur’s breeder decided to take him to the vet to be euthanized  because he was deemed “unsellable”. Thankfully the vet declined to perform the procedure and he was put into the care of “Helping Homeless Pets”. Margaret, a volunteer, then adopted him. Despite his lack of vision, this determined pup loves to perform tricks, knows many commands, walks on a leash and loves to play. He attended regular puppy classes at Who’s Walking Who and locates Margaret through voice and  little bells she wears on her shoe. He has performed in our Talent Showcases at All About Pets and The Canadian Pet Expo. He and his siblings, now including little wheelchair-bound Ladybug,  teach kids that it is OK to be different and to make the most of life.



Harley the puppy mill survivor

Harley spent 10 years living in a small cage in a puppy mill before he was rescued and brought into his forever home. (Check out our ‘Say No To Puppy Mills Post”.) His journey inspired a campaign called “Harley to the Rescue”, which has raised funds to save and provide medical care for more than 500 puppy mill dogs over the past two years.

As a spokesdog against puppy mills, Harley is a voice for the thousands of breeding dogs still living in puppy mills. He makes public appearances at events and schools, educating thousands of people, of all ages, about the horrors of the commercial dog breeding industry.

In my opinion, Harley is a true hero to dogs everywhere for everything he has done and continues to do. Vote for Harley as the “Emerging Hero” in the annual American Humane Association Awards to help further his mission.

Hudson the Railroad Puppy

Hudson-Railroad Puppy Picture cropped

In 2012, at just three weeks old, Hudson and his two siblings were found intentionally nailed to railroad tracks near Albany NY. The puppies were severely dehydrated and malnourished, and each had horrific injuries to their back paws. After lifesaving treatment for Hudson and Pearl, they became known as the “Railroad Puppies” (sadly, Carina did not make it). Several surgeries later, Hudson became one of the first dogs in New York to be fitted with a prosthetic paw.

Once adopted, Hudson’s loving new family recognized that he could do great things as a therapy dog and spread awareness about animal cruelty. Today he volunteers at schools, hospitals, adult day care facilities and hospices, visiting with patients and their families. His hope is to teach the children and everyone we meet that just because you’re different, you are still special in your own “Wooftastic” way. Hudson brings smiles to everyone he meets (we met him at Animal Advocacy Day last year).

Support Hudson in the annual American Humane Association Awards where he is in the running for the Therapy Dog Award. The last round of voting will remain open until September 7th at 12pm Eastern Time.  VOTE NOW!


Teddy is a valiant Puppy Mill Survivor and advocate. Today he works tirelessly with his pals including Harley to educate people about Puppy Mills and raise money to save more dogs.

Teddy poster



Norbert is an unbelievably cute 3-lb registered therapy dog with a BIG heart.  He was adopted through PetFinder and now makes a difference in the lives of children and others through his therapy work and his books. See his story and details about his new book here


TH Mango therapy dog

Mango is a three-year-old rescue. She is registered as a certified therapy dog and helps veterans, retired and serving, that suffer from physical and emotional disabilities. Due to her rear paralyzation Mango uses a wheelchair full time. When she rolls into a room to meet disabled veterans they see a small dog that uses wheels instead of legs and yet she is happy. Mango helps veterans realize that they are special and not disabled. The emotional healing Mango brings to our soldiers is immediate. Her Facebook page is called “Mango on a Mission” and her mission has been very successful so far.

Mango also created Mango’s Freedom Wheels in November 2014.  Through generous donations, teaming up with Ruff Rollin Wheelchairs in Montana, she has helped provide over 25 dogs and cats custom wheelcarts that they couldn’t have afforded and given them their mobility.  Mango is a hero to many.

Xena the Warrior Puppy

Xena the warrior puppy with boy

In September of 2012 Xena was brought into Dekalb Animal Services in Georgia after someone called regarding a stray puppy found in their yard.  The shelter gave her fluids and food before a wonderful volunteer took her home. She then rushed Xena to her vet & by that time, the little victim of cruelty had already perked up.

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


Noodles The Wonderdog

Noodles the wonderdog and family

Noodles the Wonderdog is the shelter mutt turned local celebrity and international trick dog champion. You may know him as the winner of the Talent Hounds Talent Show Case at the Canadian Pet Expo, the winner of ”Stupid Dogs Trick” at Woofstock and for winning the Good Morning America Top Dog Contest. Noodles is a true star and also a registered Therapy Dog. It shows how with a lot of patience and dedication, this rescue dog was capable of learning amazing skills and tricks and making a difference. Check out his trick video below.


 Malibu Thomson Love Ambassador For The Elderly

Malibu Thomson sleeping

Malibu Thomson is the rescue dog who gives back to the elderly. With the promise of cuddles and cakey, this once destined for euthanasia Aussie spends her days blissfully working with the elderly. She regularly makes visits to local nursing homes, giving residents love and kindness.

Along with her fellow rescue siblings, brother Nova and sister Cheeky,  they hope that others will be inspired to visit nursing homes and alike. There are so many lonely people out there that just a short visit to cuddle or read a short story to really makes their days brighter. 


Smiley and boy hug

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 – he visits a home for people with severe mental & physical disabilities. He is an inspiration to people wherever he goes. He teaches people to not let their disabilities get them down. When you meet him you know why his name is “Smiley” – he will always leave you with a smile on your face.


Theo and Beau

Theo and Beau- cutest rescue puppy

Theo the puppy (part-German Shepherd, part-Shar-Pei) didn’t have a home until he was rescued by Beau, a twenty-three-month-old toddler, and his family from an animal shelter in Santa Cruz. The two of them instantly became the best of friends. Each day, at nap time, Theo waits patiently for Beau to fall asleep, then curls up next to or on top of him—an adorable and beautiful image of friendship and trust.

Theo and Beau are already a viral sensation thanks to the gorgeous, “unbearably adorable,” “utterly charming,” photos that author (and Beau’s mother) Jessica Shyba has been posting on her popular blog Momma’s Gone City.  They now have an equally adorable children’s bedtime storybook. 


Jeffrey, The Positively Peaceful Pit Bull

Jeffrey the pit bull looking at camera

As a registered Therapy Dog and Shelter Dog Goodwill Ambassador, Jeffrey, shattering stereotypes and opening minds…one belly rub at a time! Jeffrey was rescued in the eleventh hour from a high kill NYC shelter by Bruised Not Broken. Despite his hulking size (73 pounds) – and unwarranted bad reputation – Jeffrey puts smiles on the faces of anyone who may be having a tough time, or suffering from a serious injury or disease.



We were fortunate to attend the inspiring 2015 Purina Animal Hall of Fame Awards where we heard and met amazing rescue dogs who went above and beyond to save a human’s life.

Badger, an 11-year-old Lab-Rottweiler mix, was abandoned in the woods as a puppy and rescued by his now forever-grateful owner, Derik Hodgson, over 10 years ago. Living alone in a remote cabin in Elgin, Ontario, Derik quickly grew to rely on Badger as a trusted companion. On a frigid February afternoon with temperatures dipping below -20º Celsius, Derik left his cabin with Badger to photograph eagles flying above a nearby lake. When Derik fell on the ice, Badger did whatever it took to rescue and bring him to safety.

The rescue dog became the rescuer in this inspiring example of the human- animal bond. Had it not been for Badger’s unwavering determination and devotion that day, Derik believes he definitely would not have made it. Derik is eternally thankful that his best friend was there for him when he needed him most – ultimately saving his life.

Read More HERE




On July 10, 2014, Rob Sheardown adopted an Anatolian Shepherd from the Windsor/Essex Humane Society. Her name was Bella and they quickly became very close. At the time, Rob thought he was simply coming home with a new companion for himself. He never imagined that rescuing Bella would in turn save the life of another person. Thanks to Bella’s keen intuition, persistence, and determination, an elderly man who was having a heart attack received the medical attention he needed just in time. When Rob looks at Bella now, he no longer sees a dog who was rescued, but a dog who is a rescuer.

Read More HERE



quentin on bed

The day Randy Grim got a phone call from a St. Louis animal shelter worker pleading with him to take yet another unwanted dog to his no-kill shelter, he had no idea that the dog would change his entire life. After being surrendered by his owner who didn’t want him anymore, Quentin spent just 3 days at the shelter before its time was up.

Randy, a longtime, passionate rescue animal advocate, was called to adopt a small one year old dog who survived 30 minutes of breathing carbon monoxide gas. Grim uses Quentin’s story to reach thousands and raise awareness of the vast number of animals euthanized in America and the inhumane ‘gas chambers’  that are still being used in many states. The account of Quentin’s ordeal and the crusades he has undertaken on behalf of abandoned animals is sobering and ultimately uplifting.

Animal euthanasia is an evil that can be eradicated but we need to spread the message of adoption and spay and neuter. 


TH Linzy + sign

Linzy is a true Talent Hound and proof that Rescue Dogs Rock. She was rescued at the age of four by her mom Reta who was told that she would never be trainable. Linzy has gone on to prove her naysayers wrong. She has been featured in the Talent Hounds documentary series and live shows, commercials and won the title of “Toto” on CBC’s “Over the Rainbow”. She knows lots of tricks and commands. Reta explains “Linzy had two homes before ours and was almost 4 before we were lucky enough to get her. She knew nothing but was eager to learn. She’s a gentle, smart, bright enthusiastic dog. Everyone loves her.” Linzy frequently gives back at charity events and is great with children.




Brinks Amelchenko is a 5-year-old yellow Labrador retriever rescue who has a new leash on life as an artist. Brinks was adopted from  the Humane Society of Broward County after he was abandoned by his previous owners. With his new dad, Paul Amelchenko, Brinks was an unrully and destructive dog -complete with many food-stealing incidents- but Amelchenko saw potential. Paul,  an award-winning Creative Director at BFW Advertising , turned the once-abandoned dog into “The DaVinci Dog”. Brink’s collection of ‘artwork’ is sold as a book to help dispel myths about rescue dogs.

‘The DaVinci Dog’ earned Paul Foreward Magazine’s Pet ‘Book of the Year’ Award and Independent Book Publishers Association’s Top Humor / Comedy / Satire award. Brinks and Paul haven’t forgotten where Brinks came from.  They donate 25% of their profits to national and local shelters to help other dogs like Brinks find a home and they advocate for shelter dogs and raise awareness wherever they appear.

Zoe The Therapy Dog

Zoe the Therapy Dog

As an adopted rescue dog, Zoe may have had a rough beginning, but now she is in a “Furever” home enjoying the type of life every pet deserves. She is also a “working dog”- volunteering at 5 different facilities and loving every minute of it. She can’t wait to put on her various vests and go to “work” spreading smiles and educating people about rescues and responsible pet care. She is also the girlfriend of our wonderful little friend therapy dog Gizmo of Gizmo’s Frens. 

Jeanie the 3 legged

Jeanie 3 legged pooch

I am a rescue dog. And I’m perfect. FOUR LEGS ARE OVERRATED.

My philosophy – Concentrate on what you DO have, rather than what you DON’T have.” – Jeanie FOUR LEGS ARE OVERRATED.Jeanie is a Therapy dog,  Philosopher and incredibly cute Icon.Jeanie works with Therapy Dogs, Inc., Dr. Dogs Therapy Dogs, Volunteer at Christus St. Patrick’s Hospital, and Fun with Fideaux Reading Program.


 SlimDoggy Jack


When Jack was adopted he had mood, weight and behaviour issues. Now he is the mascot of the SlimDoggy website and an inspiration to thousands of dogs and dog owners looking to live a long and healthy life. Join us on FitDog Fridays for tips and more information about Jack.



Rescue Indica is a true hero. She saved the life of her diabetic owner who was having dangerously low blood sugar levels. She was asleep and would not have woken up. Thankfully, Indica was there to wake her boyfriend who was able to get me the help she needed and save her life. See her whole story in our Rescue Dogs Rock TV episode.

Kilo the Pug

Susie and Kilo hugging

Kilo the Pug is my adorable, greedy, rebellious little pug that I started fostering a year ago from Homeward Bound Dog Rescue.  Before he joined my family, Kilo belonged to four others. Seeing how much he has learned in our short time together inspires me each day. Although Kilo can be challenging, he makes my heart full and I wouldn’t trade him for the world. He is now a spokesdog for Rescues and his videos raise funds. Hopefully, with more training and socialization, he can eventually become a reading buddy for kids. Read my Love Letter to Kilo HERE

Don’t forget to celebrate rescues you admire and help spread awareness.

Read other cool stories from the Thankful Thursday Blog Hop hosted by Pepismartdog Thursday Barks and Bytes Blog Hop hosted by Heart Like A Dog and 2 Brown Dawgs. We also joined  Thoughtless Thursday  Hosted By Ruckus the Eskie and co-hosts Love is being owned by a Husky and M.K Clinton

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  • What a good-looking group!

  • I rescued Riley from Craigslist when a local rescue called me up and told me to go get her. I had every intention of adopting her out with the rescue, and just being a foster mom, but she stole my heart and became my life. Not only is she the star of Oh My Shih Tzu, but she is also my life working as a PTSD service dog.

    Thank You for highlighting these wonderful dogs!

    • Profile photo of Talent Hounds

      Well Riley is certainly worth celebrating. Thanks so much for reminding me. I failed at fostering too as little rascal Kilo totally got under my skin.

  • Those are sure some amazing stories. Thanks for sharing them on the hop!

  • Susan Langer 2 years ago

    Guiness and my two cats, Cleo and Elvis are all rescues. Thank God for people who do rescue. 🙂

  • What an amazing group of dogs. First I can’t even believe someone would throw animals in a dumpster, what (insert your favorite derogatory remark here.) Thanks for adding this to the blog hop.

    Delilah is my rescue. She came to us at about 18 months old from a high kill shelter. Yes she needed training, but her transformation is amazing. It’s proof positive what love and patience can do. She’s quite a little love bug now.

    • Profile photo of Talent Hounds

      They are really special dogs and that’s why we love to promote them. Rescue dogs aren’t broken or damaged goods.

  • Ohhh my goodness!!! I have heard of and love many of these dogs, but I have a special spot in my heart for little Norbert – he is SO ADORABLE! It’s nice to read such an uplifting post 🙂 Thank you for sharing!

  • Lynn ritter 2 years ago

    I LOVE JEFFREY! He is beautiful and helps so many people. Pit Bulls are such loving and compassionate dogs, take the time to get to know one. The have a bad repution that they do not deserve it.

  • My rescue chihuahua Bruno is the love of my life. He is so sweet to everyone he comes in contact with. We love to follow Mango, Harley, Teddy, Hudson, Zoe and many many more beautiful animals. I couldn’t imagine my world without these gorgeous faces. Kudos to all of you for the work you do.

  • I love Harley! He’s my favorite one eyed Chihuahua!!

  • Malibu 2 years ago

    I’m PROUD to be part of these 22 pawsome dogs