Sʜᴇʟᴛᴇʀ dogs are always sad because they don’t get much love from owners. Therefore, nobody can imagine how grateful and happy a sʜᴇʟᴛᴇʀ dog is when he gets a loving home where he can live a great life with his humans who love him unconditionally.
Meet Russ, a 4-year-old pit bull found home in the loving arms of Kayla Filoon, a student who volunteered as a dog-walker at ACCT Philly, an animal sʜᴇʟᴛᴇʀ in Philadelphia. Kayla was used to spending time with ʜᴏᴍᴇʟᴇss dogs, but when she met the sad dog with ᴘᴀᴛᴄʜʏ ꜰᴜʀ, she knew there was something special about Russ behind his ʀᴏᴜɢʜ appearance.
Filoon said: “He came in as a stray, and he was really ʙᴇᴀᴛ ᴜᴘ. He was ᴍɪssɪɴɢ fur on his tail and ears. He was also ᴛᴇʀʀɪʙʟʏ sᴋɪɴɴʏ. They told me he was about 40 pounds when he came into the sʜᴇʟᴛᴇʀ. He was just sitting there calmly, staring at me. And I thought, he is adorable! I need to take him now.” Behind Russ’ ʀᴏᴜɢʜ appearance, Filoon soon recognized what a delightful dog he was.
When Filoon came back later to check on Russ, the dog had barely moved. Filoon said: “He was sitting in the same position that he was before, just being quiet while the other dogs were barking and causing commotion. He was really cuddly with me, even when we went into the yard. He seemed like such a sweet dog, and he didn’t bark at any of the other dogs.” She walked Russ for about 45 minutes, but it only took about five minutes for her to fall in love with him. She also discovered that Russ knew basic commands like sit, down and stay, which made her think he used to belong to someone. She wondered how he ended up at the sʜᴇʟᴛᴇʀ in such ᴛᴇʀʀɪʙʟᴇ ᴄᴏɴᴅɪᴛɪᴏɴ.
After the walk, Filoon reluctantly put Russ back into his kennel. Then she called her mom. She said: “I told her, I think I need to adopt a dog tomorrow. My mom thought I was kidding, because I always fall in love with the dogs that I take out – it’s hard not to. So she didn’t really believe me, but there was something about Russ.” The situation also seemed ᴜʀɢᴇɴᴛ to Filoon. The sʜᴇʟᴛᴇʀ was overcrowded at the time, and it recently had to ᴇᴜᴛʜᴀɴɪᴢᴇ about 15 dogs, according to Filoon. she added: “Any dog had a chance of being put down, especially the ones who were sɪᴄᴋᴇʀ, and Russ was definitely one of them. He had ᴋᴇɴɴᴇʟ ᴄᴏᴜɢʜ.”
Filoon had class the next day, but as soon as she finished, she rushed back to the sʜᴇʟᴛᴇʀ. This time, she decided to take Russ out for a car ride. When they returned to the sʜᴇʟᴛᴇʀ later that afternoon, Filoon knew she wasn’t going home without him. With the help of the sʜᴇʟᴛᴇʀ staff, she quickly organized his adoption papers. She said: “He just sat in my passenger seat. I thought. He’s the perfect dog. I took him home that night.”
Filoon then had to tell her six other housemates about Russ. Luckily, they adored him, too. Russ took a little while to get used to his new environment, and he needed to sleep a lot because he was still getting over his ᴋᴇɴɴᴇʟ ᴄᴏᴜɢʜ. But Russ quickly fell in love with his new life, especially with his new mom, Filoon. Filoon said: “He always has to be close to me. One night I’m sitting there on the chair, doing my homework, and he’s trying to find ways to cuddle with me. There was a whole other sofa open, and we had his bed on the floor, but he didn’t want to lie anywhere else. So he ends up positioning himself, and I look down, and I think, Oh my gosh, look at him.”
Filoon’s friend snapped a photo and put it on social media. The image quickly went viral. Filoon hopes the photo will inspire others to adopt sʜᴇʟᴛᴇʀ dogs. She said: “He’s such a love bug, honestly. I’ll be lying there, and he’ll put his head under my arm, or his paw over my chest. And he’ll even lay on my chest. I was worried that when I bʀᴏᴜɢʜt him home, his attitude might change. But he’s still the same relaxed, I’ll-lay-down-and-cuddle-with-you kind of dog. He’s probably one of the most grateful dogs I’ve ever seen.”