The Magic of Adopting a Long-Stay Dog

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In the world of animal sheltering, rescue, and adoption, there is really no greater moment than when a long-stay dog goes home.

It’s wonderful anytime an animal goes from homeless to loved companion but the adoption of a long-stay dog comes with great fanfare.  It has the ability to reduce staff and volunteers to tears of overwhelming joy and celebration because a dog they love, a dog they have served as temporary guardians and advocates for, is finally headed to the life it deserves.  For the dog, it often means the difference between months on end spent in a concrete kennel to forever spent in the comparative tranquility of a home.  It means love.  It means safety.  It means everything.

Why is it such a particularly big deal when a long-stay goes home?  Is it simply a function of time?  Not at all.  It’s because these are good dogs, exceptional dogs really, to have survived with their sanity intact for such a duration in the shelter system.  They are good dogs who have just been overlooked.  The longer a dog’s stay, the deeper the relationship they develop with the staff and volunteers caring for them.  We know these dogs and we know they deserve their chance.  Their moment of glory to send them off to their lifetime of love.

ls simonWhen a dog is a long-stay, we tend to look for reasons.  Apart from a dog undergoing genuine behavioral or medical rehabilitation, those reasons are all nonstarters.  Of course, each dog should go to a home that’s going to be the right fit.  But we can see clearly what makes these dogs amazing and that is what we need to help them show to adopters.  So, without further adieu, we present the Top Ten Reasons to Adopt a Long-Stay Dog…

10. They are superdogs.

Any dog that can spend months on end living in a shelter and maintain their composure and unique doggie mojo automatically earns a superhero badge.  You have evidence right there of a resilient dog with a solid temperament.

9. They are full of canine knowledge.

Long-stay dogs often participate in training programs and spend extra time working with staff and volunteers.  They learn basic commands, manners, and life skills.  Many even come with training scholarships post-adoption.

ls rudy8. They’ve got their own posse.

When you adopt someone’s favorite dog, that someone cares about how that dog does in its new home and is often ready and willing to help you.  Whether it’s sharing information, joining up for a doggie playdate, troubleshooting a problem, or playing pet sitter, long-stay dogs have a lot of people who love them and are ready to be your allies.

7. They tend to come with swag.

Many also have reduced adoption fees, often thanks to volunteers who love them paying to sponsor a favorite pup. All of our dogs come with comprehensive training scholarships and post-adoption care package

ls lemon drop6. You’re not just saving a life, you’re profoundly changing one.

Take a photo of your dog on the day they leave the shelter.  Take another photo a few months later.  We guarantee you that the second photo will show a happier, healthier, more at ease animal.  It’s incredible to watch our favorite alumni pups grow and flourish in their adoptive homes.  Regardless of how good a shelter is, it just can’t compare to a home.

5. You get to be the one.

You are the one who finally stopped and really looked at the fantastic dog in front of you.  You are the one who said their time in the shelter stops today.  You are the one who gave that special dog a home.  You are the one helping them discover their full potential.  You are the one who created a new beginning.  And you are the one with a best friend who will change your life right back.

ls jack4. Watching your dog smile will never get old.

Neither will watching them romp, frolic, run zoomies, or just having them snuggle up next to you.  You are bringing home a creature who, among their many talents, has the ability to teach us humans about experiencing pure joy better than any other species.

3. There’s no such thing as “less adoptable.”

When we sat down to write this post, we immediately thought of a favorite blog from Peace, Love, and Fostering titled Who You Calling “Less Adoptable?!”  All we can say to that is damn straight.  As tempting as it is to try and solve the mystery of why long-stay dogs have not yet been adopted, the reasons are usually fluff.  They’re a distraction from what makes that dog so very awesome and so very deserving of a home.

2. You get to make the magic happen.

ls autumnThe tears of joy, the hugs goodbye, the phone calls and text messages to make sure everyone hears the news, the setting social media aflame with people sharing photos of your dog and saying things that end with copious amounts of exclamation points…you get to do all of that.  And that magic pales in comparison to the magic you and your best friend are about to start making as you embark on your new life together.   It’s a real life moment of the sun bursting through the clouds.

1. The dogs featured in this post are long-stays looking for their homes and they are amazing.

We cannot stress it enough.  Long-stay dogs are wonderful dogs.  They are unique. They are beautiful.  They are handsome.  They are smart.  They are goofy.  They are athletic.  They are awkward.  They are adorable.  They are loyal.  They are running buddies.  They are couch potatoes.  They have likes and dislikes and opinions and personalities all their own.  They are an incredible and diverse group of dogs and one of them is perfect for the role of your new best friend.

ls actionFor those who know them, their names are the best reason we could possibly give.  Roscoe.  Simon.  Rudy.  Lemon Drop.  Jack.  Autumn.  Action.  Single words that carry all the reason in the world to adopt a long-stay dog.

To adopt one of the dogs in this post or learn more about them, check out their Austin Animal Center listings or email us at! 


*Photos of Roscoe & Lemon Drop courtesy of Shelter Dogs of Austin