While we may not communicate verbally in the same language, it’s easy to tell when our canine companions are bursting with joy. Whether it’s a quickly wagging tail, an intense butt wiggle that ripples throughout the entire body or a giant, goofy grin, you know when pups are in a good mood. And seeing a truly happy dog adds joy to anyone’s life.
This especially is true when you know they’re happy because they’ve just found their forever home. Rescue dogs, young and old, spend their days waiting to be welcomed into a new family—one that will not give up on them.
Sadly, for many rescue dogs, that day will never come. But for many others, they are an animal adoption success story, and their adoption gratitude shines brightly on their adorable, innocent faces.
Here are 12 rescue dogs who are undeniably thankful for their forever homes.
Jake found his forever home after being saved by SPCA of Texas. This is Jake’s “just got adopted!” face, a post on the SPCA’s Facebook page reads. Investigators rescued the 3-year-old Pit Bull from an animal cruelty situation. It’s abundantly clear to us that he’s pumped to meet his new parents and claim a spot on their couch.
Kodak’s mom, Candice Shearman, adopted him from ALIVE Rescue Memphis when he was 4 months old. He joined her family and gained two dog siblings, Summit and Ocho, in May 2018. Based on his expression here, it’s clear that he’s not bummed about it at all.
Nanuk, formerly named Luau, is so excited to go home with his new dad that he can barely keep his gorgeous puppy eyes in his head. Animal rescue organization Dogs by Debin shared this photo, along with a few updates from owner Ryan Johnson that life for Nanuk remains sweet.
“I’m happy to say that Nanuk (Luau) is adjusting perfectly to his new home!” Johnson said on Facebook.
Oh, Dobby, what a heartbreaker. According to Triagonometry’s Imgur post, this was Dobby’s face when he found out he was adopted. His look says it all—he can’t even keep his eyes open.
5. This sweet little dreamer
In a post on Imgur, user orogamo shared a photo of this sleepy cutie with the following caption: “My mom adopted a dog from the Dominican Republic that was found in a Dumpster. I think he’s enjoying his new home.”
From a Dumpster to cozy digs like this, surrounded by dog toys? It’s safe to say this little guy has earned every moment of a peaceful slumber.
6. Hank No. 1
This is Hank, as posted by Imgur user PapaDerp13. He’s the one in the middle. He has a new family that he’s already proud to embrace as his own. Have you ever seen pure joy like this?
According to a post on Reddit by user besidethebed, Ripley was an orphaned puppy in Iran and has since traveled to the United States where she’s now about 2 years old and has a forever home. It’s hard to imagine the things she has seen in her short life, but now she can take all the naps she wants on cozy dog beds and cool off in her very own pool.
It’s hard to believe that Pixel is real, considering she looks like a cow/lamb/fluffy puppy hybrid, and her smile is impossibly large for such a tiny creature. But here she is, not long after she was adopted by Reddit user potato_hygienist. She’s clearly psyched about the existence of grass.
9. This sleepy pup
Imgur user GonzoDaddy shared a photo of his son with their new dog 20 minutes after they adopted her. She already looks at peace and beyond ready to protect her loved ones, even from bad dreams.
10. Sadie Lou
This look of glowing adoration is one that could warm the coldest of hearts. In this photo, shared by Reddit user Mormotron, Sadie Lou is on her way home after being adopted by her new parents. She’s ready to begin a very happy life. Good for you, Sadie Lou!
Pancakes was a former bait dog, according to her owner, Imgur user DianaMendez. In this photo, her life has turned in a completely different direction. She’s smiling away in the car with her mom after being adopted, and she is about to be showered with kisses and cuddles for the rest of her days.
12. Hank No. 2
Both of these photos are of Hank—a pup who survived abuse and lives with the scars—as shared by his owner, Thomas Coiner, on Reddit. The photo on the right is Hank now, in his forever home, loving life and leaping on beds—the way it should be.
We look at our dogs and wonder how much they really understand about the world around them. Can they grasp the concept of time? Do they know they came from an animal rescue center? Do they hold grudges?
These are not easy questions to answer. But one thing we do know is that they understand gratitude. When they leave a situation in which they don’t feel loved or safe and enter one where they are praised and snuggled, you can see on their faces how much rescue dogs, especially, appreciate the affection given to them from their forever families. And the best thing about dogs is that they give it right back—1,000 times over.
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By Chrissa Hardy