Happy gotcha day to these pets

Photos celebrate rescue and shelter dog and cat "gotcha days," when each was adopted into a forever family of their own.
By Nicole Hamilton

When a shelter pet goes from homeless to home, it’s one of the happiest days in their lives. Gotcha day, as it’s often called, is a pretty special one all around.

At Best Friends lifesaving centers across the country, every time a cat or dog is adopted, there’s cause for celebration. That’s because the adoption creates space for more pets from local shelters, so they can also find a home.

As for the adopters? Well, who can forget meeting a canine or feline best friend for the very first time? As you can see in these photos, the smiles say it all. Here are some of our favorite images of pets recently adopted from Best Friends. This is what it looks like to get adopted, and it’s pretty sweet.

Big dog ears, big dog smile

Noela’s smile was as big as her ears when she was adopted. It was a match made in heaven, or more specifically, a match made at a recent Clear the Shelters event in New York City.

Woman and man adopting Noela the pit bull terrier

Love for a ginger cat

You know what they say about birds of a feather: They flock together. Peaches came to the Best Friends Lifesaving Center in Los Angeles with her ginger locks all matted. After a makeover to get her looking fab, she found a wonderful home with a fellow redhead.

Woman holding an orange tabby cat she's adopting with cat kennels in the background

A family affair

Sometimes adoptions are family affairs. A big extended family came to center in Atlanta and chose Polly Pocket as its newest member.

Huge family adopting a tan pit bull terrier type dog

Lucky black cats

What’s better than adopting one black cat? Two black cats!

Family of four people holding the two black cats they're adopting

Three cheers for Huck

When a pet from Best Friends gets adopted, we celebrate, too! Here’s a scene from Huck’s adoption that took place at a recent Best Friends NKLA Super Adoption in Los Angeles.

Staff and volunteers excited about Huck the dog's adoption

Who doesn’t love popcorn?

When a son and his 91-year-old mom recently stopped by the Best Friends Lifesaving Center in Utah in search of a cat who loves people, they fell in love with Popcorn. As you can see, the feeling was mutual.

Older woman smiling and leaning down to pet the cream and white cat she's adopting

Cookie the dog goes viral

Senior pup Cookie was 10 years young when he came to the Best Friends Lifesaving Center in New York. Once his adorable mug went viral, it didn’t take long to find him a loving home, which proves that you can start over (and become an Instagram sensation) at any age.

Smiling woman holding the small fluffy dog she's adopting

Extrovert adopts introvert cat

Once upon a time, an extrovert named Treah adopted the shyest of all cats at the Best Friends Lifesaving Center in Atlanta. They lived happily ever after.

Woman with wide smile with the cat she's adopting in a window

Adopt your new best friend

Photos by Robert Stoetzel and Best Friends staff