Happy Tails

Heart-warming stories of adopted pets and the people who love them.

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Photos of Your Pet

I had been wanting a dog for a while and had been checking in at shelters off and on. When I saw this little boys face I knew he was the one. I showed the photo to my husband and we went to meet him as soon as we could. He had a stray that had been at the humane society for a month. We were also warned about him being dog reactive. We are pretty secluded so we felt like a good fit. His story also melted my heart! I can’t believe how far he has come. He still can’t go to the dog park anytime soon but he has some dog friends that he plays with. He is so cuddly and such a goofball. We go on hikes almost everyday and he now gets along with our cat, chickens and goats! He even helps put away the goats. I am so glad that we get to have this dog in our life! I can’t believe anyone could ever give him up!

Photos of Your Pet

Years and years ago I adopted a German Shepard from Willamette humane society and was completely happy, that dog died of old age in 2001. So last week Vic and I went to the shelter after looking at 50 plus other dogs from other shelters. There is such a thing as love at first sight. We saw Dexter and he gave us that pitiful look and whine. We interviewed him in the room and we absolutely fell in love with him. Since he's been home with he is the happiest puppy alive! An absolute delight and you can tell hes is genuinely happy. We love our new fur baby! Thank you Willamette humane society!

Safe and Comfortable

Hercules (was Kitty)

Photos of Your Pet

I came into shelter looking for my cat who disappeared and this cat kept meowing at me from behind a sign that said "Warning Biter". He always came to the front of the cage to be petted when I would come in after two weeks of coming in to see if my cat was there I noticed "kitty's" time was running out so I decided to take him home if and only if he was nice to my grandson since I can't have a biter with a baby. 8 years later this terrified cat named Hercules has learned to trust, play and give love to most everyone. I am so lucky that he was given a chance at the shelter. It wasn't easy for him to adjust but after several months he is was home. Now he is so spoiled and well loved.

I can't say thank you enough for saving this sweet crazy boy for me.

Photos of Your Pet

Remember little Ruby who was available for adoption back in late January 2012? Six years later she is healthy, thriving, and enjoying many camping trips. After our 15-yr old Basenji was stricken with cancer, we decided to adopt a younger dog as a playmate for our yellow lab Maddy. Three-month old Ruby had just become available after spending a few weeks in foster care with a Junior Dog Trainer named Katie (who did a fabulous job). We rushed down to the Humane Society on Saturday and saw Ruby in the puppy room. She came running up to us and put her paw under her kennel door trying to touch us. She is such a sweet friendly dog that looking back, I'm sure she greeted everyone that way. My husband thought she might grow into a very large 80-lb type dog so we didn't inquire. However on Sunday he said lets go look at Ruby again. We did and of course another party had put an overnight hold on her. On the advice of a volunteer we put a backup hold on her. Luckily we got a call on Monday that the other party decided not to adopt her. She was ours!! My husband picked her up a day before my birthday. And what a gift - one that keeps giving and giving unconditional love. Ruby is such a delight. We thank our lucky stars every day that the gentleman who originally was going to adopt her decided not to because he worked long hours. Our yellow lab passed away at 13, but Ruby enjoys playing with her 3-yr old sister Shelby, an Australian Cattle Dog/German Shepherd mix, who we adopted from another rescue. We've had purebred dogs before and loved every one of them, but now we have purebred mutts and they have the BEST of several breeds in them.

Happy home

Coco and Patty (Patience)

Photos of Your Pet

I adopted Coco (Cocoa) and Patty (Patience) as a bonded pair in late January 2018. They blended in with my two cats and are doing well. One if my older cats is trying to play with them and hopefully will lose a bit of weight in the process.
I'm happy that I listened to that little voice in my ear that said to go to the shelter that day when I found them.

Seven years!!

Eli aka Lancelot

Photos of Your Pet

After my divorce I was looking for a companion to keep me busy and get me out of the house. I kept visiting the humane societies website to see if there was a dog I might be interested in. When I saw his profile I knew he was the one for me. I went straight down to the shelter , only to discover that he had already been adopted! None of the other dogs there seemed to be what I was looking for. I kept visiting the website and checking for a possible match and a couple of weeks later he was back!! I drove straight to the humane society and had to discover that another family was already playing with him. Fortunately for me he wasn't a good match for them.amd I snatched him up right away! We have been inseparable ever since and have had many many adventures together. I hope we have many more fun years ahead of us, he truly is my best friend!!

Photos of Your Pet

I was looking for an older cat to adopt a few weeks after we lost one of our fur babies to cancer. I know that older cats have a harder time finding homes. Py loves to be a grump and have her way but she also has learned how to show affection and never wants to be left alone. We got her at age 16 three years ago this December. We wouldn't give her up for the world.

Photos of Your Pet

My family had been looking for a dog for some time and about six months before we got Dakota we had a hold on Gracie but she got adopted. When we got Dakota our cats hated us but they eventually warmed to him.

Dakota is now a therapy dog for Pet Partners and is in training for agility. He came home to us knowing only like 2 tricks but now he knows over 30. He is the best thing that ever happened to me.

Happy Seniors

Sidney and Skyler

Photos of Your Pet

Sidney and Skyler did a great job with the hour ride home. Skyler was a little scared the first day, after that he did just fine and is such a sweet dog. He loves to cuddle with anyone who will give him a belly rub. Sidney is definitely very much in charge. For a 10 year old she loves to play with her many squeaky toys. She has a basket of toys which she has figured out how to get the toys out, but not put them away. 😁 Senior dogs are the best dogs to adopt!



Photos of Your Pet

We came into the shelter as a school project for my kiddo and did not plan on leaving with any animals that day. I'm a single mom with three kids and a quiet senior kitty, we really didn't anticipate adding to our family that day but as soon as I locked eyes with June, I knew we couldn't leave her behind.

3 years later we can't imagine what our home would be without her. She gets along great with our senior kitty Mae Mae and her clowning around keeps everyone constantly entertained. June loves all of her humans, including the smaller ones. Her interests include stealing feathers, knocking items off the coffee table, being a kitchen vulture, cuddling, watching birds from her cat tree, scaring the pizza delivery person, and wrapping mom around her little paw.

Black cats bring the best luck!

Photos of Your Pet

Rooster is a mixed breed dog with a very sweet, sensitive disposition. I suffer from occasional nightmares related to PTSD. My dog has taken to either waking me up or trying to lick me in the face when I wake up. It's more than I could have ever asked for from a pet. He's smart, quiet and gentle. How he could have ended up without a family is beyond me. He now sleeps in a king size bed and takes regular trips to the dog park. I couldn't imagine not coming home to my best friend.

Photos of Your Pet

I came to the open hearts even this last weekend 3 hours before it opened to find an already short line forming. As the hours ticked on the line got longer and longer until it was wrapping around the whole parking lot and the sidewalk by the street. I had a cat in mind but I walked into the cat room for a quick look anyway and there he was. His name was Harry Potter and I saw this as a sign because I AMA big Harry Potter fan and have been reading the first book to the class I work with. So I was the first person to adopt on Saturday. He's been great since being home, he loves his new sister Penelope, though she's still on the fence. He purrs most of the day and follows his sister when she's not following him. I think they'll be great friends! Thank you for our new family member!

Snow Bear


Photos of Your Pet

This is Moro in his favorite thing ever... SNOW!! He literally never wanted to go inside. He would plant himself and would do so until he got his way. Which of course he did.. Look at that face! Hard to tell him No! He is the best dog (small bear) I could ever ask for. Thank you Willamette Humane Society!

Photos of Your Pet

Five or six years ago our family decided that it was time to look for a new addition to the family and we sought out the Humane Society to do so. In the past, we had looked for pure bred dogs from breeders but this time around we wanted to save the life of a little doggo and give it a family. Our search brought us to Cricket, a shy, unhappy, and sometimes angry puppy with a lot of room to grow in heart. She had been to many families, had been tied down, muzzled, yelled at, kicked, and left time and time again and yet we knew we had found something special in her.

When we first brought her home, she was scared and that fear often showed its face with mean teeth and growls. Yet, as the weeks passed and our family showered this previously unwanted puppy with love, she blossomed. Now she often spends long hours sleeping in the sun lit front room with a cat to her left and another doggo to her right, laying in the laps of toddlers with a smile on her face, and shoving her little head into the tummies of her owners asking for butt rubs and face smooches.

She is stubborn as an ox but devoted to another level, she comes to our aid when we are upset, and frequently wiggles her nub of a tail so quickly it disappears. This happy doggo has found a huge home in our heart and I believe we have in hers. I am so thankful to have found her and to not have given up like so many others had! It just goes to show that even the left over puppies with little broken hearts can find happiness again!

Photos of Your Pet

We lost our beloved dachshund May 27, 2016, she was 16 years old. We decided we would not get another pet; that we just had too much grief. In July we started thinking about getting another pet. We talked about another dachshund, but decided we needed to rescue a pet. We are so glad we visited WHS! Coquette (Cookie Monster) has found her forever home with us and we are so happy. We fell in love with one look at her on our computer screen! We were there on a saturday morning, making sure we were the first in line! We knew this was our baby girl. We couldn't wait to bring her home (and we had to for a few days for a special check up). We cannot express how happy our home is now, our new baby girl is here and she is so loveable. We joke that we "have to people walk her" because she loves to go for walks, it started with walks around the block, then walking a few more blocks, and now we are now up to 2 miles per day! She is always happy to meet and greet others! We have met many of our neighbors and their pets. She has gone to California on a trip to meet her family and she was the hit of Thanksgiving! We love our baby girl and thank WHS for this opportunity to give her a forever home! Becky & Brian

Snow Dog


Photos of Your Pet

Chance and I adopted Rose in the early part of November, and in that time she has already become irreplaceable. We can already tell that her favorite time of the year will be winter because of the snow. She will run out into the back yard and play for hours... throwing snow up into the air, hiding her tennis balls just so she can dig them up, chasing snow balls. In the short time, we have also learned that Rosie May absolutely loves her tennis balls, and always has one (or more if she can) with her. She also is very quick at learning; she has perfected sit, lay down, stay and the handshake. The only issue is she doesn't just shake your hand when you tell her to! She will come up and shake when she wants a treat or to throw her ball, or your attention. We have also learned that she loves to cuddle; all 50+ pounds of Rose believes she is a lap dog.
When Chance and I walked into the shelter that day we had no idea that we were actually going to adopt a dog, but Rose has been the best decision we have ever made. Thank you WHS and Rose for making our lives so much better!

Our Riley


Photos of Your Pet

We adopted Riley in June of 2009. Our other dog Cosmo (WHS alumni) was getting older and slowing down. We had been thinking about adopting another dog for quiet some time.

I had been volunteering at the shelter for a couple of years. I had seen many sweet, cute dogs that would have made a wonderful addition to our family. But for some reason Riley really tugged at my heart. She was not socialized, very shy and fearful of her surroundings, and she was all alone.

I sat with her in her kennel, waiting for her to warm up to me. Finally she came up to me and licked my face. My heart melted. I think she was telling me she trusted me to help her.

We did a meet and greet with Cosmo. They got along wonderfully. We brought her home and started the long process of socializing her, building trust and love, and obidence training. Cosmo helped with this too. It was a long road but we are so happy to have Riley in our family.

We take her hiking, camping, and to the beach. She loves all our adventures! She has several doggie friends she loves to get together with and play. It's truely a happily ever after story.

Who rescued who?

Duffy (Griff at WHS)

Photos of Your Pet

I'm not sure who rescued who. The last year has been a challenging year for me. My husband had been sick on and off since June 2015. He was in and out of hospitals and care homes and when he was home I was sole care giver. At the end of May my daughter Kristy who is a play group volunteer noticed Duffy the first day he was at WHS. She is a big dog person but got real excited about this little guy. I went and met him and put a hold on him. The same day I put the hold on him my husband went back to the hospital. While he was there we let him name Duffy. Sadly 6 days after Duffy came to me my husband passed away. Having Duffy in the house kept it from being too quiet. He is a very sweet dog and is awesome company. He has made friends with my daughters chessie puppy and they play together often. I am very happy he came to me when he did.

Photos of Your Pet

Sherlock came in to the shelter as an old man who needed lots of tlc. We saw him on his first day and immediately rushed over and picked him up for fostering. After having this wonderful old man in our home for a month he was discovered to have liver failure so we decided to adopt Sherlock into our home of already 3 dogs. Sherlock was given 6 months to live out his days and be a happy go lucky dog. He went camping at the beach, to the river, the park, and to stores where he loved all the kids he met. His hearing is gone, his eye sight barely there, but he would still play and bounce about every time I got home. He couldn't wait to see what yummy treat I had brought him. I'm sad to say that this is likely his last month with us, as his health has started to decline. But in the short amount of time we have had the pleasure of having this wonderful old man with us he has brought us great joy. I can't even say how much I will miss him when he has crossed over the Rainbow bridge. Thank you WHS for sending that one email looking for a foster for him. That single email conected me with my first dog to call my own, and he is a very special dog who will always hold special place in my heart. I have now had the pleasure of opening our home to two seniors and will continue to do so. These wonderful guys need a happy ending.



Photos of Your Pet

We went into the shelter just to look around....Kyle spotted Tank(his name was Arrow)...Kyle knew Tank was gonna be his cat. We read the history on Tank and seen he had be returned twice. We couldnt figure out why cuz he looked so sweet. We couldnt resist....we took him home. Tank is such a happy kitty....and is such a joy to have in our home.

Two Years Later

Ron and Hermione

Photos of Your Pet

Close to two years ago my husband and I went into the Willamette Humane Society with the hope of adopting a cat...and took home two. Hermione (left) and Ron (right) have been with us since, and have stayed with us through a move across the country. Hermione is the most affectionate and loving cat. She sleeps on my chest or my husband's feet every night, and has adopted our dog, Auggie, as her surrogate mother; he groans but seems okay with it 🙂 Ron is the sweetest, most playful and protective little guy. The first night we brought him home, he slept on my husband's neck, and they have been bonded ever since. The cats have also, clearly, bonded with each other, and were in love with each other from the first moment they met.

We just wanted to let you know that Hermione and Ron are the best cats and we love them so much. We cannot say how much they have added to our family and the happiness they have brought to our lives. Thank you, Willamette!

Photos of Your Pet

Back on May 20th we had made the decision to put our oldest dog down at age 18, losing my Jack has been about the hardest thing ever for me, losing him felt like I lost a part of myself, after about two weeks of me being in this funk my boyfriend was reading his email and he 'felt' like something was telling him to open the email from adoptapet.com, that's when he saw 'Demi' for the first time who was a mirror of our Jack so he dragged me down to meet this little girl and for me it was love at first sight and like he had said about the email, it felt like something was guiding us to this little dog, I knew I would eventually get a new dog but I never expected it to be so soon after wards of losing my Jack. I went to talk to someone about meeting her and my boyfriend stayed with her to see if she would come and say hi to him. Much to his surprise as soon as I walked out of the kennel area she got right out of her bed and walked up to the gate and gave him her big brown eyes and that's when she caught him, its exactly how Jack had caught him 17 years ago. After another week of waiting we took our two boys down to meet her and we decided to bring her home, we knew right away she was going to be Jackie after the dog that guided us to her, turns out the name fits her just right, she isn't just a mirror of my Jack, they are so much alike down to the way she walks to the temperament she has, she has moments of running with the boys then decides its enough and lies down and sleeps. Its only been a month since I lost my Jack so i still cry a lot and when I do she just climbs right into my arms and cuddles. Just like my Jack she knows what to do, which makes me cry even more, she has only been in my family a little more than a week but she is Jackie the Queen already. Jackie is truly a blessing to our little family, she has pulled me out of my slump with losing Jack and I still believe that Jack wanted her here. Thank you all so much for helping my Jackie was she was there.

Photos of Your Pet

In October of 2015 I lost my baby, Clyde. He was 14 and had been failing for awhile. I was broken. I knew someday we would get another cat, but didn't know when the time would be right. A dear friend invited me to come with her family to look at kittens at a Foster home. They were adopting one and hoped I would consider the other one. This was February. In the Foster home was a beautiful momma kitty and her two 8 day old babies. I went over to see them, and momma, aka, Mary, reached out to me and meowed. That did it. I knew I had found my cat! She needed to stay in Foster care until her boys were old enough and she could be spayed. It was the longest wait ever, once I had convinced my husband she was the one! On April 21st she joined our other 2 girls and 1 older dog and 3 boys. Introductions have been slow, but good and she acts like she's been here all along. Yes, I could've chosen a cute, spunky kitten, but I'm SO happy we adopted Sadie. She makes the 5th cat I've adopted from WHS, 3 of which were 1 or older. Kittens are adorable, but older, full grown cats are just as wonderful and loving. My heart is finally healing. Thank you Sadie for being purr-fectly amazing, Kim (super awesome Foster mom), and everyone involved at WHS. You truly have the best fur kids!

My Buddy


Photos of Your Pet

I first saw Bodhi (formerly Tim) on the Willamette Valley Humane Society facebook page. He was shaved in the picture and looked very scrappy. Having just lost a mini Schnauzer to old age I was looking for a new buddy.

I showed my wife the photo and she just laughed at me. "This is the dog you want?" she said sarcastically. I affirmed my choice and we headed down to see him. We have a female Chihuahua and brought her along to do a meet and greet.

The meet and greet went ok. The dogs had no problem with each other at all. As a matter of fact Bodhi had zero interest in any of us. he just walked around sniffing the room. I applied to adopt him kind of reluctantly hoping he would act different once he got home.

As it turned out Bodhi was just "playing it cool" He could not be more different than he acted during the meeting. He is very sweet and loving to everyone in the family, loves to cuddle, and goes crazy for tennis balls. I take him on my adventures around the state and he is the best behaved dog I have ever had. He loves to hike, go to the beach, and will jump right into my car as soon as I open the door.

My only "complaint" with him is that he is a little too energetic in the early morning. Together with our female we have what we call a fluffy alarm clock. It's a small price to pay for such a great pair of companions.

Photos of Your Pet

When senior girl, Bella was brought to the Willamette Humane Society by a family who was devastated that they could not keep her, I could see that this dog was just as distraught to be loosing them. She was so nervous and sad that she wouldn't eat even the best treats, but still came over to me with a tiny bit of "wag " in her tail. The next day, I went to check on Bella who was laying in her bed, not moving. She wouldn't even get up and come to the front of the kennel for hot dogs. I couldn't bear to leave her while she was feeling so depressed so I asked permission to take her on respite over the weekend. I didn't really expect to be able to have a dog, as it would take a special pup to be able to live politely with my house rabbit, Moonshine - however, Bella was surprisingly respectful toward the bun. When I brought her back and led her back into her kennel, I watched her wilt all over again. As my days passed, it became increasingly clear that I couldn't possibly go home without her.
Now that she has been a part of my family for months, I have watched my pretty pittie change from a lazy, quiet old lady into a spry and eager young pup! But however comfortable she gets, she is still quite aware that the bunny is the boss of the house.

Submit YOUR Happy Tail

Would you like your Happy Tail featured on the website, on Facebook, or in Brief Paws quarterly newsletter? Submit your Happy Tails of adoption with photos here! Tell us about your adoption alumni’s accomplishments, special skills, or certifications!

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