Grateful Tales

Stories of Grateful Dogs Rescue Alumni


Grateful Dogs Rescue Featured Adoption Story

Lulu’s Inspiring Alumni Story

Yes, love at first sight does exist! I entertained the idea of adopting a dog for quite a while when I stumbled upon Lulu’s profile on the Grateful Dogs Rescue website.

Lulu is a Chihuahua/Toy Fox Terrier Mix and about 6 years old. Judging from Lulu’s photos, I could see that she must have gone through a lot in the past few months. When I met Lulu and her then foster parent at a park in SOMA here in SF, Lulu appeared to be quite cheerful though. She was running off leash, playing with after dogs and enjoying the soft grass. I brought some treats and in exchange she allowed me to hold and pet her. I learned that Lulu does not like to drive in a car. In fact, her anxiety is so high that she would literally try to escape if she had a chance. I wondered if her issue would prevent me from taking my canine friend along for hikes and other outdoor activities in the Bay Area. Given that I never had a dog before, I asked GDR volunteers for advice. I was told that I would have a good chance to help overcome Lulu’s anxiety issue with training, positive reinforcement and lots of love. However, they also made clear to me that some dogs will never enjoy driving in a car. However, I couldn’t stop thinking of sweet little Lulu and therefore, I decided to give us a chance. She adapted to her new surroundings very quickly. However, given that she changed homes three times in the past 12 months and experienced a few desperate weeks in a shelter, I was not surprised that gaining Lulu’s trust took some time.
Lulu is with me almost 5 months now and I do not want to miss her in my life. She is brave and determined to protect me, her Mommy, at all times. She also likes to cuddle and rest in the sun.
*BTW, Lulu is much better riding in a car by now and she has already enjoyed some fun hikes with me in Marin County.  
The GDR team is amazing! Special thanks go to Maria, Colleen and Kim. Please continue your wonderful work.


Last year my Cattle Dog Rocky, my constant companion of 13 years, was slowing down and I knew his time was growing short. I started checking rescue sites to see if I could find another Cattle Dog or Cattle Dog Mix to help heal my aching heart. I needed a dog that would be good with cats since, in addition to Rocky and Princess Puppy, I also had Princess Kitty. Your volunteer suggested that I meet Amber.  I really wanted another male, but Amber looked so sweet that we arranged a meeting. Needless to say, I adopted her the same day I met her.

Amber is so sweet and mellow and never leaves my side. She was found wandering the streets and was turned in to the San Francisco Shelter. She is so well trained and has such a lovely disposition; you couldn’t ask for a better dog. Everyone that sees her mentions how good looking she is and asks what breed she is. She does look like she could have Pit in her, but a DNA test says she is predominately Chinese Shar-Pei Mix crossed with American Bulldog. Also, Lhasa Apso, Black and Tan Coonhound, Boxer, White Swiss Shepherd and Miniature Poodle!

I lost Rocky in May. With the help of my vet, he went to sleep on his bed on the backyard deck which he loved. Even now as I’m writing this it makes me very sad. I thought I was fine with my other three pets, but in June I contacted GDR to ask if you had a male Cattle Dog, and was told about a puppy in Bakersfield that needed a home.

The rescue network is AMAZING!!!!!! Smokie had a very bad accident when he was 3 months old, when his owner ran over his right hind leg. They couldn’t afford vet care so it mended by itself, but it is about ½ inch shorter than his other legs. His owners were going to take him to a high-kill shelter, but a rescue worker who knew the family sent out an SOS for help. During the 3-stage transport process the poor baby somehow got his foot caught in the tailgate of the truck while being transferred and started screaming; they had to give him medication to calm him down for the rest of the trip. I’m the lucky person that got to foster Smokie for GDR. When he arrived here he was terrified, and it took him quite a while to warm up to us.  During the 2 months that I fostered Smokie before adopting him, he was examined by a vet and had X-rays taken of his bad leg.  We decided that, since he wasn’t in pain, it didn’t need to be amputated as previously thought.

Smokie is an absolute love. He, Amber, and Princess Puppy are always near me. When I’m sitting on the couch he is on the floor with his head on my feet, with Amber either on the floor next to him or with me on the couch and Princess Puppy on the other couch. She let Smokie know right away that she is the alpha in the house. I have a feeling that Smokie was left outside to fend for himself and was only given love when he was fed. He was very head shy at first but he’s fine now and only gets nervous with new people; we’re working on that. Rocky was a kisser but Amber is not. Smokie takes after Rocky, and my face gets washed daily with puppy kisses. He also is constantly grooming Amber like wild cats.

Thanks to Grateful Dogs Rescue for the two wonderful additions to my family.  Thanks also for all the vet visits you so graciously took care of to get Smokie up to code. Life is so much better when you have four legged friends!



"I picked up Willow from San Francisco Animal Care and Control in August 2012, as she was at risk of being euthanized if a foster wasn’t committed that day.  Willow had been surrendered because of recurring abscesses from an untreated ear infection that had also left her deaf in one ear.  Grateful Dogs Rescue felt confident that she could be treated and would make a great pet once she was feeling better.  It was determined that Willow needed a total ear ablation, an extremely painful surgery that would require some time to recover from.  Luckily, Serramonte Subaru stepped in and was able to cover the costs of her surgery and post-treatments.  As Willow began to feel better, we noticed a huge change in her personality. While Willow was always sweet, she had a new zest for life we hadn’t observed before. We adopted Willow because we just couldn’t imagine not having her in our lives.  Willow is an amazing dog and loves nothing more than going for walks and hanging out with her family.  She’s proven to be the best friend to our other dog Oliver.  Grateful Dogs Rescue and Serramonte Subaru are to be commended for their commitment to saving dogs that would normally be overlooked because their problems seem too great or untreatable." ~Heather

Dash was found as a stray, just about five months old. At the San Francisco Animal Care and Control shelter, an evaluation found him to be too aggressive to adopt. That's where Grateful Dogs Rescue stepped in. Two Moms from Grateful Dogs Rescue fostered him while he waited for a forever home.

Dash's profile went up on Petfinder.org. I was intrigued: I'd always been partial to brindle coats and had had good experience with pit bulls. I met Dash at an adoption fair outside a pet food store. He was adorable. The Grateful Dogs Rescue volunteer there joined Dash and me for a walk around the block. He handled well on the leash and he seemed great with people and other dogs. I was in love.

Six years later, Dash and I have become inseparable. He's a spirited and sometimes vocal playmate with other dogs, but has never shown a moment of aggression. He greets new friends and old with vigorous butt wiggle and a sloppy kiss.
That friendly nature comes in handy at his new job: an Animal Assisted Therapy dog for the San Francisco SPCA. We visit hospitals, shelters, and senior centers. It's very satisfying to see people respond to him and to share his joyful outlook on life. We recently got Dash genetically tested and it turns out he's a mix of AmStaff, bulldog, and Rottweiler. Three "tough guy" breeds for a complete marshmallow.
They call dogs like Dash a "rescue" but the fact is that he rescued me. For that, I am forever indebted to Grateful Dogs Rescue for bringing us together .~Bruce

My dear, sweet, Raven was found abandoned in a park in the Mission District of San Francisco. He was about 7 months old, filthy and  absolutely terrified.  The amazing people at San Francisco Animal Care and Control saw through to his loving spirit despite the fact that he was extremely fearful and likely to grow into a very high risk animal. It was clear that he needed a lot of work, time and love. The SPCA could not take him because his fearful behavior made him unadoptable by their standards. SF Animal Care and Control was determined to save this dog. They contacted Grateful Dogs Rescue and the wonderful women at GDR worked to gain his trust and  rehabilitate him. They fostered him for many months, but couldn’t find  anyone to adopt him. His foster Mom took him to classes at the Marin Humane Society where I volunteered. Raven’s teacher at MHS was so struck  by him she mentioned him to me and I couldn’t help but think that Sure enough when Mike, Vivi and I went to meet Raven for the first time Mike fell in love instantly.


Vivi, our lab mix and I fell in love when we took him home. He bonded to both me and Vivi quickly but was afraid of  Mike and barked at him for several weeks. Mike was undeterred – he loved  Raven unconditionally. Now Raven and Mike are a deeply connected dog -  human pair. Despite his fear Raven was determined to love us and enjoy his life.  Raven’s life with us takes him to the most amazing places, the desert,  the mountains and the ocean.  He loves the wilderness like no dog I have  ever known. He is naturally obedient, loving and joyful. He cuddles and  plays with toys like a pup even through he’s almost seven years old.  Every single day I feel lucky to share my life with this amazing animal.  He is still afraid of people and takes a very long time to build trust with a new person but he does have a few friends.  It is a rare family that could keep Raven safe secure and happy but we are truly a perfect  match!  I am so thankful to all the people who helped Raven come home to us.

"We adopted Bella from Grateful Dogs Rescue after meeting her in September of 2011. She had only just weeks before gone through her amputation surgery but was so resilient running around our yard sniffing at chickens and exploring her new environment. We almost instantly knew that we had finally found our dog. Over the last year that Bella (or "B" as I call her) has been living with us, we have learned many things about her. First, is that she almost never finishes her food, but always insists that we share ours with her--snorting if she doesn't get her way. She is a horrible sleeper, moving throughout the night and taking up the entire bed. I am always removing a paw from my rib cage or off of my face. She is a lover of all animals; kissing piglets on the mouth, play-bowing to goats twice her size, and laying along the fence line with turkeys. She has selective hearing when her name is called, as she is more concerned about the acreage she hasn't sniffed, than whether or not I make it to work on time. Bella is mopey, resilient, and cranky. She is playful, energetic, smart, and extremely dopey. She's patient, and restless, hilarious, and spoiled. She's perfect, and we love her so much." ~Grace & David


Birdy Has A Forever Home

This is Birdy. He was at San Francisco Animal Care and Control (ACC) and logged in as “a stray” who was found outside the SF ACC shelter (which usually means he was dropped off by a previous owner who didn’t want to give any information). In the shelter he snipped at a few people so he was taken off the “adoptable” list. Luckily Grateful Dogs Rescue was called and met him at the ACC and they connected Birdy to a foster home a few days later.

Elizabeth, a Grateful Dogs Rescue volunteer foster, found Birdy to be quite a hand full, not house trained, afraid of everyone and everything, and an overall lack of trust of humans and other dogs. He barked and shied away from runners, bicyclists, children and most people on the street. After attending obedience classes and lots of consistent love and training work Birdy really seemed to like learning and doing his training drills – after all he’s a terrier mix! As Birdy got better he went to the park every day (where he learned dogs and people are really nice) and regularly got to run and get out his daily energy build up. Then he was able to relax and curl up at home and learn more about how humans can be his best friend. Neighbors were stopping us and mentioning he seemed to be much more relaxed. During all of this we were falling in love with Birdy and it seemed to be mutual.

Birdy learned to trust everyone in his foster home and has learned to sit, stay, dance in circles, jump through hoops – really hoops!  Just think when they first met him, he didn’t even know where to pee or what his name was.

Eventually Birdy's foster family couldn't ignore the fact that they wanted to be with him forever.  They couldn’t bear to lose him, so they adopted him and their love for him has only grown more everyday they spend together."  

"I'm So Grateful For Lilly"

"I just wanted you to know how grateful I am that your shelter allowed me to have Lilly. I don't know what I would do without her. She brings me such joy and cheers me up even in the darkest moments. She enjoys running around her big yard and playing with her playmates Mage, Kataren, and Kia (three border collie mixes each four times her size). She gets along so well with my cat and they even play sometimes when my cat isn't grumpy. :)


She has no interest in playing with a ball...instead she chews the fuzzy exterior off them till there is nothing left but rubber and fuzzy bits everywhere. She is there when I go to sleep, curled up at my side under the covers and there when I wake up in the morning. She greets me everyday with a happy face, a loving smile, and a furious wagging tail. My family absolutely loves her and she isn't shy of anyone anymore. She is still rather wary of my grandpa...Apparently she doesn't care for bearded men. She is very fierce when she is protecting mommy from people who are outside the car or the house...and barks until they go away or mommy says they are ok. :) She and I are going on a road trip soon to see some friends of mine, who are frankly more excited to see her than me. She is such a good companion...I couldn't imagine having a better friend. Thank you again and I have enclosed some photos of her."  Danai +Lilly (who is sleeping on my lap at the moment)


Angel was labeled “unadoptable” at the local shelter. She had not adapted well to the noisy chaos there. She growled at a volunteer and was pulled from available status. The local SPCA turned her down and she was placed on the disposition list. The shelter contacted several rescue groups but nobody had any fosters available. A shelter staffer noted: “Have to put in a good word for this dog, very affectionate, loves attention, wagging tail every time I walk by her kennel, loves being brushed, good on leash.”

One of our rescue volunteers describes her feelings when she goes through the stray kennels at the shelter and sees dogs like Angel: “…the dogs behind bars there already have two strikes against them, since both ACC and the SPCA have deemed them not worth saving.  And, knowing that we’re the last chance they have, more often than not we have to look them in the eye and say ‘Sorry, we wish we could save your life, and we know you could find a good home, but we don’t have room for you.’”

This time there was a happy ending, because Grateful Dogs Rescue found a foster for Angel at the last minute. Her foster parents thought she was one of the sweetest, best-tempered dogs they had ever known. They were half sorry to see her leave for her new forever home after only a week.  Her adopter says that “she really is an angel that fell into our lives“.

Bailey and Rio

"I adopted Rio, a Rottweiler/Lab cross, in 1996 when I met her in Georgette's  care (Georgette is a Grateful Dogs Rescue volunteer) at Riverside Equestrian Center. Although I never intended to or did compete, Rio flew through the obedience and agility classes we took  and has always been the most loving and obedient dog I have ever known. That is not to say that she doesn't have fun; chasing tennis balls and helping me run the horses have been among her favorite pass times!  I  think we all get one perfect dog in our lives, and Rio is mine.  Her  health was excellent until the summer of 2007 when a tumor extruded from  her body.  It turned out to be a vaginal cancer but it was surgically  removed and is not expected to return in her lifetime.  We have been  able to grow a little older together and I cherish every day!


I adopted Bailey, a Belgian Malinois, when Georgette introduced me to  her at Riverside Equestrian Center in 1998.  Georgette may recall that  Bailey was so scared of people she literally shook on the end of the  leash. Bailey still needs a little extra care when being introduced to  people or when in tight spaces, but she has turned out to be my little  snuggler, clown, and irrepressible spirit!  Bailey had to have knee  surgery in 2006 and her hips have been getting weaker since about the  same time, but other than that her health is also excellent.  She still  loves to steal Rio's toys and snuggle!"

Grateful Dogs Rescue, thank you for rescuing Rio and Bailey and bringing them into my life!" ~Lauren

Because of Brie

"After only two months with Brie, we cannot imagine life without this little dog.  Not a day goes by without a few laughs at her antics, lots of quick licks or kisses, and the joy of hugging and cuddling her in our laps.  She is such a delight, even when she is being naughty.  Toys for Brie are all around the front room with a special chair at the window so she can see out and greet us when we return home.  Even the visiting neighborhood cat, Hendrix, is fascinated by Brie and her playfulness.

Because of Brie, we now know the names of our neighbors on all sides, and we have even lost a few pounds from walking a bit longer and a little faster. Brie has filled that “empty nest” for us of children raised and living with grandchildren in other states.  Thank you Carol and Neil for rescuing, fostering and training Brie.  And thank you Grateful Dogs Rescue for sponsoring Brie and allowing us to adopt her.   She has brought so much joy and love into our lives." ~John


Bianca roamed the streets of San Francisco, scared, starving and so stressed out that she’d lost most of her hair. A kind San Francisco Animal Care and Control Officer rescued her and brought her back to the shelter for some TLC. Then, Grateful Dogs Rescue got a call about a nearly bald chihuahua needing some special care. Her foster mom Kate stepped right up to provide it!

Bianca (formerly known as Fergie) settled into her foster home quickly and proved to have a healthy appetite! As she gained weight, a gorgeous coat of chocolate-colored hair emerged along with a big personality. She bonded first with other dogs and the family cat in her foster home who showed her how luxurious basking in the sun could feel. Learning to trust people again took a while longer.

Carla and David accepted the challenge and adopted Bianca on January 1, 2010 as a companion for their cat Baby who was lonely. Since then, she’s touched many people’s lives. In the words of her new pack leaders, Bianca has a few health and behavioral challenges but they are small in comparison to the sheer joy and love she brings to our family. We are committed to her health and care for the long haul.  We truly appreciate all of the love and support we received from Grateful Dogs Rescue and Bianca's foster mom Kate. Our Bianca has a HUGE heart and a GIANT personality to match. We are very thankful that God has blessed us with Bianca.  She has been such a blessing to our family and thanks again to Grateful Dogs Rescue! ~Sincerely, Carla and David Estrada, Baby the cat and Bianca aka Fergie the Chihuahua, San Francisco.



Birdy Has A Forever Home

This is Birdy. He was at San Francisco Animal Care and Control (ACC) and logged in as “a stray” who was found outside the SF ACC shelter (which usually means he was dropped off by a previous owner who didn’t want to give any information). In the shelter he snipped at a few people so he was taken off the “adoptable” list. Luckily Grateful Dogs Rescue was called and met him at the ACC and they connected Birdy to a foster home a few days later.

Elizabeth, a Grateful Dogs Rescue volunteer foster, found Birdy to be quite a hand full, not house trained, afraid of everyone and everything, and an overall lack of trust of humans and other dogs. He barked and shied away from runners, bicyclists, children and most people on the street. After attending obedience classes and lots of consistent love and training work Birdy really seemed to like learning and doing his training drills – after all he’s a terrier mix! As Birdy got better he went to the park every day (where he learned dogs and people are really nice) and regularly got to run and get out his daily energy build up. Then he was able to relax and curl up at home and learn more about how humans can be his best friend. Neighbors were stopping us and mentioning he seemed to be much more relaxed. During all of this we were falling in love with Birdy and it seemed to be mutual.

Birdy learned to trust everyone in his foster home and has learned to sit, stay, dance in circles, jump through hoops – really hoops!  Just think when they first met him, he didn’t even know where to pee or what his name was.

Eventually Birdy's foster family couldn't ignore the fact that they wanted to be with him forever.  They couldn’t bear to lose him, so they adopted him and their love for him has only grown more everyday they spend together."  


Buffy looked like a plucked chicken when she arrived from a rural shelter.  Her teeth were dirty and she was going bald. Her Grateful Dogs Rescue foster mom provided months of TLC. Once she was healthy enough, Grateful Dogs Rescue paid for Buffy’s spay surgery and teeth cleaning. Always sweet, good with other dogs and cats, and only four pounds, Buffy attracted several wonderful potential adopters. Ultimately, a family who were searching for a cuddle-buddy and a companion for their female chihuahua was chosen. After a careful interview process, Buffy met her new family "in person" and everyone agreed that Sugar, as she was renamed, found her forever home.

Here is an excerpt from a post-adoption letter:

Yes, yes, yes, we want to finalize Sugar's adoption!  We are in love with her. She is very much daddy's girl. Her hair is growing in like weeds, her ear tips are completely healed and she has the greatest personality in the world.  She hops around like a rabbit and is faster than a roadrunner. She has such a happy disposition. She sleeps every night cuddled up to my husband. We couldn't be happier with Sugar. Thank you so much for rescuing her! Thanks also to Grateful Dogs Rescue for what you continue to do for so many dogs.  God bless for all you do!


Buffy is now named Sugar  The first picture shows how terrible she looked when you rescued her, and she looks  soooooooooo beautiful now. We love her sooooooooooooo much and cannot even imagine our lives without  
her.  She is the best thing that ever happened to us.  Thank you soooooooooooooo much for rescuing her!!!!


Chester and Maybelle

"Chester and Maybelle were surrendered by their owner to San Francisco Animal Care and Control, as the family could not care for them anymore. Both dogs stayed in the backyard, so they had not been socialized. Unfortunately  due to their behavior they did not pass their behavior test and were stated to be unsocialized, not appropriate for adoption. Grateful Dogs Rescue took them in and they stayed with their foster dad. I was looking to adopt two dogs, as my two other dogs passed away last year (2009).  I had spoken with a volunteer of Grateful Dogs Rescue, and said I would be looking to adopt in March 2010. I received a fabulous picture of Chester and Maybelle from Grateful Dogs Rescue, and they looked so adorable.


I was really looking for older dogs, as usually they are not so active as the younger ones, and Chester and Maybelle were about 1 year old and very active. I thought about it and decided to go and meet them at their foster dad’s home.  They looked so gorgeous and yes, they were very active.  I decided that day that I would adopt them. I came back later that week to pick them up and take them home. They needed training, discipline, and love, and of course plenty of exercise. I have had them eight months now and they are happy, lovable, and healthy dogs, and love long walks in the Stern Grove Dog Park.   They  are wonderful with my grandchildren and my nieces, young children which range from the age of 2 months to 11 years old. My life  is so much more enriched with Chester and Maybelle, and they have helped me get through the loss of my mother with their unconditional love, she died August 20th, 2009. Many thanks to Grateful Dogs Rescue for the great work they do."  ~Chris Shegoleff


Delilah came to us in September of 2008. She was being fostered with Michelle of Grateful Dogs Rescue. She was nine months when we got her and already had some strong basic training. It is apparent that she has shepherd in her; the other breeds are hard to tell. We think she might have some Lab (soft mouth, webbed feet, strong retrieving interests) and maybe Hound (floppy ears, strong sense of smell, slender figure). No matter what she is, she is absolutely beautiful and perfectly loving. We aren't quite sure about her history as she was dropped at a shelter, but she has always seemed well adjusted and friendly with anyone she meets.


She is well known for dropping her ball at everyone’s feet to throw for her at our local dog parks. She is definitely ball crazy and can run faster than most (this girl is competitive). She has a ton of energy and keeps us active. Delilah is such a part of our family that she comes with us wherever we can take her; camping, family visits, hiking, hotels, etc. She is very smart and loves to please and show off her tricks. We are currently working on training her to put her toys away. Delilah is a lover – she thrives on cuddling and always has a paw on one of us. She is a fifty pound dog who will sit on anyone’s lap if given the chance. She has truly given us many gifts and we couldn't imagine our lives without her.We are so thankful to Michelle and Grateful Dogs Rescue for bringing her into our lives.


I always liked Chihuahuas for their expressive personality. I adopted Devon in 2007 as a 3-year old Chihuahua/Pomeranian mix. He was a bit shy but within days he was affectionate and personable. He now gets to know people within an hour - everyone loves him Although I loved Devon the way he was immediately, I've seen how just a bit of structure and exposure has helped him blossom. He knows he will be fed in the morning and the evening.

He now stays at a polite distance while I eat, even if I leave my dinner on the coffee table.
He knows he should 'go' outside, and walks to the door to let me know.
He now happily jumps in the car on his own.
And little did I know he would become so athletic.
While getting used to the outdoors he was so happy he bound into Lake Tahoe, not expecting a body of water.
Now he navigates puddles and terrain with ease.
I can't imagine coming home without him to greet me, play a little, then relax for the evening, just happy to be at home.

Dino | AKC Companion Dog

Dino is the ultimate athlete and loves to compete. On December 29, 2010 he was the first ever mixed-breed dog to earn the elite Rally Advanced Excellence title through the American Kennel Club.

A short-legged Corgie-Australian Cattle Dog mix, Dino’s racking up titles faster than most people can blink! On top of multiple titles in Rally, he earned the coveted Mixed Breed Champion title through the Mixed Breed Dog Clubs of America. Dino’s also earned his AKC Companion Dog title and is working on his AKC Companion Dog Excellent title. Recently, he took fourth place in a Companion Dog show beating out many seasoned dogs and their handlers.

Dino also excels at lure coursing and as a pet detective. On the job, he’s a scent specific trained tracking dog. His forte is in tracking particular animals in urban and suburban environments. But, when duty calls, he’ll track a scent through large herds of cows or goats too.
Dino credits his person Jackie Phillips and Grateful Dogs Rescue for his wonderful new life. At nine months old, Dino was surrendered to San Francisco Animal Care and Control by an owner who just didn’t have time for him. After a few months of dedicated training, Dino passed the American Temperament Test. Now, he devotes everyday to making his human Jackie proud and reaffirming her decision to adopt him in 2006. You can read more about Dino’s triumphs at http://dinostraining.blogspot.com/

Gracie The Flying Dog

"Gracie really lives up to her name. She was my first foster dog with Grateful Dogs Rescue who came to me after being deemed unadoptable by the SF/SPCA. I fully intended to help her reach a place where she felt loved and happy and safe. A place that would enable her to move on to her new forever home. I told myself that she belonged to someone else. I just needed to help her get there. When she arrived, she was afraid and aggressive. Understandably so, from my perspective. A little patience and love, that’s all that was needed. Well, three days later, I was in love! Her profile said that she didn’t like men. But then my son came over and she was star-struck-in-love!

(Gracie is the top dog with the purple collar)

Gracie has settled into our home beautifully. She’s very smart and learned the rules of the pack from my other two dogs very quickly. Smokey taught her how to use the doggie door when she needs to go outside. Now that she’s relaxed, Gracie is playful and affectionate!  Because of her exuberance, we call her “Gracie the Flying Dog!” She’s everywhere at once wearing a happy smile. After a long day, she loves to burrow under the blankets, snuggle up close, and heave a sigh of contentment. Gracie if a true joy and a treasured member of our family."


Grover was a wily puppy. Lost or dumped in a local park, he spent several weeks fending for himself. Humans were not to be trusted. Many tried to feed or catch him. They failed until the day he dropped from exhaustion and hunger. Two Grateful Dogs Rescue volunteers rushed him to ACC for emergency care. Deemed un-adoptable by the shelter because of medical issues, GDR moved Grover to a private vet hospital where he fought off mange, kennel cough and the effects of starvation. Meanwhile, the San Francisco dog community rallied behind Grover. Funds were raised and tons of loving, healing energy were sent his way.


Grover’s feisty spirit also helped him to recover from both the physical and emotional trauma. He remembered his rescuers and gave them kisses when they visited him. In his foster home, he slowly met new people and dogs. As his strength returned and his hair grew back, Grover transformed into a cheerful, confident, empathetic dog. Now Grover has found love and happiness and sent all who worried about him this note:

Dear Friends,
 It has come to my attention that I have acquired a captive audience as to my well being. After 5 months of recuperating from my ordeal, I’ve found a new home in Castro Valley. My new parents love me very much, and I have 3 other dogs to play with. There’s lots of great things to chew on, like the furniture although that seems to be frowned upon. I’m also enjoying 2 meals a day, and sometimes my new parents will even cook something special for us.  All in all, I’m really enjoying my new family; thank you all very much for all of your concerns and support. Without you, I would have never found the care I needed and the loving family that I’m so grateful for. 
Love, Grover


"It has been five years since my husband and I adopted Valerie (formerly Lulu/Lucy). She is such an amazing little spirit, I don't think I would have made it through some of the sadness & loss we've had these last few years without her. Remembering how shut down and scared she was when we first meet breaks my heart, but to see her now is amazing – she's hysterical! She walks as the leader of the pack with her two rat terrier brothers with so much confidence!

We recently had a baby girl and were worried that Valerie may not appreciate the new addition, but she has taken to the baby like the big sister she is! Valerie has survived two bouts of cancer with two surgeries and is a happy, healthy senior lady! Thank you Grateful Dog Rescue!!!!!"  Opie and Andy Beswick

Malo and Zorro

"Grateful Dogs Rescue is an amazing non-profitable organization that gives dogs in need, good forever homes. An example of this is when I got my two dogs Malo and Zorro.


First there is Zorro, who was found by the police wandering in the Bayview District of San Francisco with a chihuahua. The chihuahua got away but Zorro -- who was named Rex then -- was brought to San Francisco Animal Care and Control. He was frightened by just about everything and when he got scared, he’d flatten himself out on the floor, which earned him the nickname Pancake. Because of his anxiety in the ACC kennels, Grateful Dogs Rescue stepped in to help and that was when we were informed that he was up for adoption. My family and I went to a place called Penngrove where he was sent for his anxiety and looking for a loving family to take care of him. In the end he was a cuddly sweetheart and we gave him his forever home.
A year and half later, we heard about Axel. His story began when a back-yard breeder dumped him and two of his siblings off at SF ACC as puppies. Another rescue group deemed Axel too aggressive to take and that’s when Grateful Dogs Rescue stepped in.  After a few visits, we snatched him up and renamed him Malo - “the bad one” in Spanish - for his barky, anxious behavior, and that’s how he became part of our family. Now, Malo and Zorro are happily living in my home, going out for walks and being hugged by me and my sister Samantha.  They play a huge and important role in my life by always being sweet and being my friends. And though they may sometimes be troublesome, Malo and Zorro make everyday better and happier, because they are amazing in every way.


Thank you so very much Grateful Dogs Rescue and SF ACC for giving my dogs a second chance for a great life. I appreciate all the hard work you do to help dogs in need get a happy life. If it weren’t for you I would have never have gotten my two little wonders, Malo and Zorro." 


Falling in love changed my life.  And like many love stories, this one had its ups and downs. Piper did not give up her affection easily at first. She was incredibly shy and fearful and her tail was always tucked between her legs. She hid under the furniture. She cowered. She barked at everyone.  I didn't know how to handle this sensitive dog.  I thought of returning her to Grateful Dogs Rescue but something told me she was a keeper. Finally. she jumped on the sofa next to me and fell asleep. That is when our love affair began. From then on I knew I would never give her up.

In fact, I felt she deserved so much more than to live in a tiny apartment. She deserved a yard. And a doggy companion. The world. So I quit my job and drove across the US to move toward a brighter future. Of course, Piper was right by my side, hiking and exploring and riding long hours watching the miles tick by. Because of this little canine, I am finally going to be what I want to be.

We are now in my home state of Michigan. Piper is a smart, happy, well-adjusted dog who will play fetch for hours and can hike for miles. She loves to tumble and play with her newly adopted doggy brother. She has taught me more than I believed possible. I cannot begin to describe how much  joy and laughter she brings to my life. I could not love her more.

Thank you for rescuing us. Your organization and volunteers are invaluable. I am certain I would not be on this path were it not for your incredible efforts. You have changed and enriched my life.

AnnMarie and Piper

Thank you GDR for our little Roux -- We are so in love.

Roux was deemed "unadoptable" by San Francisco ACC in September 2009. The SPCA wouldn't take her nor would a few other local rescue organizations due to lack of foster homes and Roux's behavior assessment record. She was very overwhelmed by the active and fast paced shelter and snipped at a volunteer or two. She shied away from those who called her with her tail tucked close to her body and did not want to walk on a leash. Roux's last hope was Grateful Dogs Rescue. She was given a second chance when GDR agreed to rescue her and place her in foster care.

The strange thing is that Roux never displayed any of the described behaviors once she was removed from the shelter environment. Her foster mom described little Roux as a lover of life. One that enjoyed long walks, playing with her mini tennis ball, snuggling up in your lap...and a very happy girl.

Our very first meeting with Roux was a night we will never forget. Having just lost our five year old Chihuahua mix "Bean" very suddenly to an autoimmune disease in July 2009, the idea of bringing another dog into our home was a mix of both excitement and anxiety. Personally, I was so in love with Bean that I feared any other dog would live in her shadow and wouldn't get the "best of me." On October 16, 2009 Miss Roux walked into our home and showed me that my heart was big enough to love another little girl. When we looked into her espresso eyes we knew that she found her forever home. She wiggled and wagged and jumped in and out of our laps for over an hour. Adopting Roux was the very best way we could honor Bean. Bean would be so thrilled to share her mommy and daddy. Roux, once a neglected mutt moved into her forever home on October 18, 2009. She welcomed cashmere sweaters, an overflowing toy basket, and a plentiful food bowl with many more wiggles, wags and kisses. She is the most loving and social chihuahua we have ever met. She is our mini Labrador. Grateful Dogs Rescue has been so wonderful to us and incredibly supportive through the adoption process that we are exploring the idea of adopting her a friend. Thank you Grateful Dogs Rescue for our little Roux – We are so in love.
Jon and Stachia


Tikka is a special blend of Yorkie, Shih Tzu and Bernese Mountain Dog according to her DNA test. She joined our happy home because I missed being a multi-dog household. After seeing her photo on the Grateful Dogs Rescue website, I spoke with a volunteer who confirmed that Tikka was a five year old sweetheart but she had heartworm. I still wanted to meet her! She trotted into our home, play-bowed to my cats and then kissed me. That was it! Grateful Dogs Rescue paid for her medical care and she recovered fully. The happiest day was her first trip to Fort Funston – eeing her running on the beach made the extensive treatment and months of forced inactivity worth it. Roman (see Grateful Tails link for Roman's story), our German Shepherd, adores her while she tolerates him and our three cats.


Tikka has earned her Temperament Test and Canine Good Citizen titles. She even comes to my classroom to help me teach my students about proper dog safety and care. Tikka has won over many a fearful child.

Some people say Tikka is spoiled since she sleeps right near my pillow. I say it’s a well deserved privilege and the least I can do for all the love she has given my family. It’s still hard to imagine that she was crated in a backyard 24/7 and still maintained her loving personality.

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