When people talk about the importance of adopting, they often note that shelters are overcrowded and dogs are euthanized daily. What they forget to mention is the intense love and affection dogs show when they are given a second chance.
20-year-old Kayla Filoon had already seen this firsthand while volunteering as a dog walker at an animal shelter in Philadelphia, but she knew there was something special about Russ the moment she met him. The four-year-old pit bull was underweight, missing patches of fur, and had a bad case of kennel cough. While other dogs barked and carried on, Russ sat silently in a corner. Kayla called her mom and said, “I think I need to adopt a dog tomorrow.”
Kayla had to act fast. 15 dogs had recently been put down at the shelter to control population.
Given his appearance, health, and the stereotypes surrounding pit bulls, Russ seemed destined to die in there. But Kayla swooped in and saved him.
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There’s no denying how much he appreciates her! Just days after he was adopted, Kayla’s aunt snapped this photo. With his paws around Kayla and his head on her shoulder, Russ is right at home.
Kayla talked about the picture to The Dodo. She said:
“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.'”
(via The Dodo)
This is definitely one of my favorite photos of all time. Be sure to share it with your friends and family — and remember, there are tons of awesome shelter dogs like Russ who need a home!