People Who Have Taken In 'Unadoptable' Animals Share Their Stories
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Taking in a pet can feel like adding on another member of your family. There's another mouth to feed, another life to worry about. Sometimes they're cute, lovable. Other times they can come with baggage, and that baggage can be violent. With time and patience, though, you can break through and make that "unlovable" animal the family they were always meant to be.

Reddit user, u/CallMeRyann, wanted to know the most difficult start when they asked:

[Serious] Redditors that have adopted 'unadoptable' animals, what's their story, and yours?

Food, Water, And Patience


He was a 10 year old black tomcat who had bounced around fosters and the shelter for two years and needed a special diet. In all that time he was available for adoption but nobody had even inquired, and he needed out of his current foster ASAP since an elderly cat owned by the people had suddenly taken a dislike to him.

We took him in and were warned that he was so terrified of people he'd likely hide under the furniture for two months before we'd see him. This seemed to be right on the money since the moment his crate was opened he zoomed under the bed and stayed there for the rest of the day and into the night. We left food and water under there and a litter tray in the corner, but there was no coaxing him out for love nor money, so we'd have to sleep with a terrified cat under us.

Then came 3am, when he decided to sit on my face and demand petting. The little guy would never have to go back to the shelter again.


It's A Package Deal

Our humane society had a "bonded pair" of beagles, who had to be adopted together. They were there for 7 months because no one wanted two at once. My husband volunteered at the shelter...I had finally convinced him we should get a dog, when he turned around and convinced me we should get two.

There's hardly any room for me in the bed at night now....


A Secret Call


I adopted a senior triple rescue beagle.

3 homes had given up on this noise nugget before me.

One week of training, and he calmed down on the howling.

The only time he does it now is when we get pizza delivered.

The driver doesn't ring our bell, or knock on our door.

Instead, he walks up to our door and yells "WOOO!"

Our dog will run to the door and "WOOO!" back at him.

When we open the door, they both WOOO at each other, and we get a pizza.

My story?

I re-homed a rescue girlfriend from a far worse household, and I don't get nearly as much credit for her as I do our dog.


Love Built On A Lie

I got a German Shepard mix that had clearly had a rough time. The shelter lied to me and told me the wrong age, that she was a different breed bc of the stigma (she's clearly a Shepard), and she came with the kind of mange you get from living somewhere filthy. She did not know a single command, and barely knew her name.

She has never been aggressive, but she does have separation anxiety and a fear of strangers, especially men. When I first got her if I ever left and came back she would cling onto me and cry for several minutes. Also, if I ever raised my voice she would submissive pee and hide.

It took a lot of work to get her to trust me, to listen to me, and to teach her basic commands. It really made me be patient bc if I ever got frustrated teaching her sit she would hear it in my voice and run and hide in her crate.

I've almost had her for a year now and I can easily say she's bettered my life. We still have some things to get over, like the fear of guys, but we're working on it.


Sometimes, You Just Need The Right Fit

I love a--hole cats. Our orange fluff was at the shelter for 6 years and was adopted out and returned no less than 4 times. We've had him a full year plus now and he's just the most precious creature. An absolute hell cat, yes, but also sweet and super adorable. His most recent habit is sleeping under the covers with his head stuck out like a human. Freaking cute.


Partnered Up With Other Pets

I adopted my second rescue dog when he was 8 months. The shelter lady kept asking if I am sure I wanted to take him it turns out he was brought back once from a previous family because of his nervousness. He did start to get along with my first dog and my cat took him in as one of her own. It took him awhile to get used to people, he was very shy/scared for awhile but eventually he has become a very loving boy.


Just A Little Bit Of Work

I brought home a black and tan terribly abused Doberman. She was full grown and only 32 lbs. She was a bag of bones and heartworm positive on top of it. Truthfully I wasn't sure she would live. I hand fed her and worked with her until she was strong enough to be treated for the heartworms.

Today at 75 lbs she is the sweetest most intelligent dog I have ever met.


Called Out To A Dream

I have a deaf, albino cat named Ophelia that was found half-drowned at a local lake. We have a pretty large community into superstitions involving animal abuse... Amish, Santeria, stupid kids in gangs... Reading can kind of suck.

Anyhow, I had a few dreams about a white cat named Ophelia- on my 35th birthday (years later) I typed the name Ophelia in the local shelter website.

My husband and I have a tiny animal sanctuary, so we were given the okay to adopt her- they had her listed as 'Special needs.

She is an absolute sweetheart- we nicknamed her "Little Biscuits" since kneading is her favorite hobby.


The Kitty Just Knows

Answered an email from an email group about a kitty who kept showing up at a neighbor's door. She wasn't wanted and seemed hungry.

Thought I'd go pick her up and atleast take her to the vet and then the shelter. She walked right into her kitty carrier and I carried her to my car, where I let her roam free on the drive home.

Once I got home she rolled down the window by standing on the button and let herself out. She went to roll around the grass and when I picked her up to bring her inside I knew immediately she was pregnant.

Come to find out she had a cold, was pregnant, and was only 8 months old! I got her fixed and she's the best kitty ever. She can high five, shake, double high five, and even comes to me when I whistle.



Time To Grow Together

Me and my family fostered dogs 9 times and the last one we ended up adopting after half a day. We suspect she was abused verbally and physically. She was so extremely scared of men for probably 2 years, i think we have had her for a little over 2 years and shes not that scared anymore.

Being around my dad and brother was bad, she eventually loved and adored my dad quickly tho but any quick sudden movements and noises scared the bejesus out of her. My dad has a friend who is 6'7 i think and she was scared out of her mind when she met him but she loves him now. Shes such a cutie and she is so playful and adorable


A Home For Splinter


When I was a kid I took a pet rat from a friend who's mom didn't want it in their house anymore. A lot of people hate rats but he was an awesome pet. They're smart and friendly and surprisingly trainable. I was a weird lonely kid back then and he got me through a rough time. I still miss the little dude. RIP.


A Lifesaver Both Ways

this will 100% get buried, but means so much to me. in 2015 i was in the worst place of my life, but didn't realize it at the time. i was suicidal, commuting over an hour to work (one way), living at home with my parents. i had no friends. i missed a concert of my favorite musician in the world, just because i had nobody to go with.

so i started looking online at dogs. and as somebody who said they hated chihuahuas, and would never get one, i saw her. she was 10, code red at a shelter. has congestive heart failure, pancreatitis, partially blind and partially deaf. chihuahua, obviously.

she had been adopted once - and the woman ended up dying. returned. nobody wanted her. and she saved my life when i rescued her. i am in such a better place now, and when her pancreatitis flared up (didn't know what it was, legitimately thought she was dying) i really thought my world would end when i lost her.btw,

she's still alive, sassier than ever. only eats out of a bowl if you let her stand in your lap and hold it for her. doesn't walk well on anything but carpet. falls. a LOT. has about 2 teeth left. and i still adore her.


Best. Name. Ever.

I adopted a little calico cat from a high volume yes-kill LA shelter. They warned me that a family already adopted her and returned her to the shelter due to biting and scratching attacks. She was sweet and desperate for attention at first, once running up my back to my shoulder as I tried to leave her quarantine room. Normally she'd purr and rub you, but occasionally would launch into unrelenting hard attack mode.

Tough mechanic hands, patience, learning and avoiding her triggers, and building trust with her diminished them to almost nothing by about 2 weeks in her forever home with a cat buddy. Now she's a happy friendly house cat.

Princess Crocodile Octane


Just A Really Ugly Pup

A mangy, hideous old pup sitting in a cement shelter corner. We asked the shelter rep about the poor dude. Looked like he was at death's door. Shaking, not looking around much. Big bulgy eyes. Probably an old dog abandoned by sh-t owners, left to die sad and scared.

Well, turns out, he was just ugly as f-ck. Little man was only about a year old, probably much younger, and he was terrified of all the shelter noises.

We take him out to meet him, and he's an absolute soul. Wants to play, sits with us, totally the coolest guy. Everyone was fast friends with him.

Adoption papers done fast as light. Take him home and it's like he had missed the place, despite never having seen it. He was running all over, rolling around on the carpet. Made a happy mess for us, honestly. That night, when he calmed down, he slept on my bed and didn't make a peep. In the morning he nipped my ear and ran off to start his day.

He did this every night and morning until I moved out. He still does when I come home.

Eight years on, he's as playful and ugly and perfect as ever. I'm not home often, but I visit, and he's always peeking out through the blinds when I park.

He's got a little wit to him, too. He's probably part terrier. Gets into anything, and he'll steal your socks if you don't pay him heed when he's being cute. We called him Watson.

edit PIC: the day we got him (after a bath and a cursory groom), before he was named


Do you have an adopted pet that came from a bad upbringing? Tell us all about it!

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