Happy tails from big dogs in their new homes

Emma hugging Archie the dog  in the back seat of a vehicle
These dogs recently adopted from Best Friends are living (and loving) extra large.
By Sarah Thornton

It’s a magical moment when homeless pets find new families to love them, and the wagging tails and smiling faces are all the proof we need of that. And when a big dog goes home, those tail-wags are definitely to scale with the excitement.

Big dogs tend to have a longer stay at shelters. They get overlooked by adopters more often, and they are more challenging to place in foster homes because of their size. That’s why, this October, the goals of the Best Friends National Big Dog Campaign are to destigmatize large dogs, debunk myths and save lives by getting more of these big lovebugs in both foster and adopted homes.

So, to share that big dog love and some magical matchup moments, here are a few updates received from adopters who’ve fallen in love with their very own gentle giants.


Our Bluto Boy is still happy as can be. He loves lounging on the couch and looking out the window at passersby. He has fun romping in the snow and is happiest when we're all together as a foursome. Bluto pulls hard on his leash to stop by my school garden because it's fenced in and there's a lot to sniff. (He's the unofficial mascot.) We go for lots of walks and hikes in our part of New Jersey. This summer, he logged more than 2,000 driving miles as we visited New River Gorge in West Virginia (great hiking for a mountain brindle boy wearing his Best Friends bandana), Vermont and Maine (his favorite place because he can wade, swim in the ocean and "hunt" for hermit crabs on the seafloor).

We love our serious, yet totally goofy guy and can't believe he'll be turning nine this fall. He still looks and acts like such a goofy puppy. He's such a wonderful family dog who we feel so lucky to have in our lives.

On another note, my husband's parents are Bluto's dogsitters whenever we need help, and they adore the big guy.


We are absolutely in love with him and he seems so happy here. He’s settling in so well and is just the best boy. He learns so quickly and is the sweetest boy in the world. We are so lucky to have him.


Since we brought (Tito) home, he has been an amazing little big guy. We decided to do a DNA test and it turns out he is 100% Cane Corso.

He was an amazing puppy, and now at one year or so he is still getting bigger. Tito loves all other animals and people, including our cat. He seems to think he is the same size as the cat and his small friends. I was nervous about having a puppy after 15-plus years but he is so easy and has been great. We have been extremely lucky. He loves playtime, going for walks, rides in the car, the dog park and at the end-of-the-night cuddles on our laps before bed. He also loves taking naps with his dad when he can. We could not have asked for a better best friend. While he looks grumpy all the time, he is such a big happy loving guy.


Deirdre is adjusting very well and seems to really like going out running with me in the morning. I've been working with her on recall, crate training and sleeping on her own bed, and she's been doing wonderfully with all of those. I swear, she is so intelligent.

She's really been a much-needed addition to my family. She's been a blessing in my life, and I suspect the feeling is probably mutual. She's so funny, she will crawl under my bed and leave her feet sticking out. She has so much personality. I love her so much.

She is also an awesome hiking buddy. We went hiking recently in the Lizard Head wilderness in Colorado. Now that the weather is cooling off, I expect we can do a lot more local hiking, so I am really looking forward to that.


(Ardis) is now a 70-pound drooling lapdog who doesn't understand personal space (lol). Ardis is well-behaved, fun loving and affectionate. We've had a time trying to teach him to play. We got him several toys that he never touched. Ardis is an awesome fur baby, he fits well with us and we love him to pieces.

Ardis is our lovebug.


Our girl is doing fantastic. We decided to change her name slightly. She now goes by Pua, which is Hawaiian for flower. Also, since we are Disney fans, we decided she needed a Disney name. Pua is the little pig in the Moana movie.

Pua has settled in and she even stayed with the dogsitter for eight nights when we went out of town — no issues at all. She loves playing with all the dogs, and if she’s unsure of something, she looks to our other dog, Ruger, for guidance. And wow, does she (ever) love to snuggle and cuddle! Oh, and after the first week of introduction, Pua gets along with all our cats, too.

Open your home to a big dog

You can help big dogs who are often overlooked at shelters and they will give a lifetime of love in return.

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