Approximately 6.3 million companion animals enter US animal shelters every year. (Of those, around 3.1 million are dogs and 3.2 million are cats.)
And while the numbers sound huge, they’re actually getting small. According to some estimates, the number of dogs and cats entering shelters in the country annually has declined from approximately 7.2 million in 2011.
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Also, roughly 4.1 million shelter animals are adopted each year and 810,000 animals who enter shelters as strays are returned to their owners.
To illustrate what difference a second chance at life and a loving home can make to a critter, we at Bored Panda are continuing our monthly installment, sharing the most adorable rescue pet photos we find on the internet.
#1 This Man Was Forced To Give His Dog To The Humane Society Due To Undergoing Lengthy Hospital Stay. This Nurse Found Out And Immediately Went To The Shelter And Adopted His Dog. She Brings Him To Visit Daily And Will Return Him As Soon As The Man Is Released!
Image credits: Sensitive-Ad-8403
#2 Good Guy Adopts An Old Timer So He Doesn’t Have To Die Alone
Image credits: asianj1m
#3 Before & After Adoption; Our Lovely Princess, Kimchi
Image credits: gabrielapintican
#4 Rescued Is Horrific Condition Severely Emaciated With Wide Open Sores On Her Back Legs This Girl Has Been Adopted And Is Living Her Best Life
Image credits: Keeper-Of-The-Cosmos
#5 Meet The New Rescues: Lulu, Luna, And Nana
Image credits: limashy
#6 Brick Got Adopted!!!
Image credits: MARLeague
#7 A Sicko Tied A Rock To This Dog & Threw Him On A Frozen River. Dog Is Rescued & Found A Good Home
Image credits: wichocdlowmer
#8 Just Rescued This Handsome Man. His Name Is Appa
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Image credits: Urfavhonky
#9 This Is Juniper, A Super Happy Rescue Fox!
Image credits: IAmABunnyToo
#10 I’ve Applied To Adopt This Stray, One-Eyed Fiv Cat
Image credits: Shorse_rider
#11 Since Adopting This Sweet Boy 2 Weeks Ago, Our Lives Have Been Exponentially Better
Image credits: Jingleberri
#12 Vet Told Us The Stray We Adopted Wasn’t Pregnant, So This Was Quite The Surprise Last Night!
Image credits: shanemente52
#13 I Think I Accidentally Adopted A Dragon. She Thinks It’s Her Job To Hoard And Guard Anything Shiny
Image credits: madiswanrh
#14 Found This Absolute Unit Living Underneath A Pallet At Work
Image credits: day_wave
#15 Meet Finley. He Followed Me Home On A Night I Was Sad And Feeling Especially Lonely. Then He Walked Right Inside Like He Owned My House. (I Did Check For A Chip And Officially Adopted Him From His Feral Cat Agency.) Everyone Says He Chose Me.
Image credits: tonysnark325
#16 Just Adopted These Bonded Babies Thursday… Crying
Image credits: kayes15
#17 He Finally Trusts Me Enough To Sleep In My Hands
Image credits: RebeccaDeVille
#18 My Bonus Mom Rescued A Pirate Pitty So Her Other Pitty Could Have A Friend. Meet Remy!
Image credits: Money_Box
#19 My Foster’s Adoption Profile Has Zero Views After A Week…. Why Does Nobody Want Her??
Image credits: Kitty_casserole
#20 Just Adopted These Two Partners In Crime
Image credits: CutieToTop
#21 When I Adopted Her, I Made It My Aim To See This Smile As Often As Possible
Image credits: tim_durgan
#22 The Day Before Adoption And 11 Months Later 1 More Month Until Gotcha Day
Image credits: manicprisoner
#23 My GF Got Toby For $5 At A Rescue. Best $5 Ever Spent
Image credits: jordan12611
#24 Bartolito The Day He Was Rescued vs. ~3 Weeks~ Later
Image credits: casslomb
#25 Please Help Me Name My New Rescue Bunny! I Can Decide What Suits Him
Image credits: Miss-Indie-Cisive
#26 4 Y/O Rescue And His 5 M/O Best Bud. Totally Inseparable Since Day 1
Image credits: MasudiCat
#27 Rescued From A Shelter Where He Was Scheduled For Euthanasia. Now He Is My Happy, Snuggly Best Friend. My Sweet Boy, Macaroni
Image credits: Kimmie6602
#28 Rescued This Handsome Yelly Void After He’d Been Coming To My Door For Two Weeks (Getting Him Checked For A Microchip At The Vet)
Image credits: alilbitobsessed
#29 My Friend Just Adopted An 18 Year Old Cat Named Cat
Image credits: KeyserSozeWearsPrada
#30 Lemon Before And After Adoption
Image credits: thelensguru
#31 My Black Kitten I Adopted Last Week Looks Like She Has “White Eyeliner” On Her Eyes
Image credits: Valkrya
#32 His Adoption Fee Was Discounted Because He Only Has 3 Legs
Image credits: thebaldingqueen
#33 Just Adopted My First Hippo. He Gets Compliments On How Good He Looks From Strangers On Every Walk
Image credits: toilet_commentary
#34 BF And I Adopted This Sweet Girl Last Week From A Coworker Who Had To Rehome Her! Meet Kali Our Wonderful 9 Month Old Chocolate Lab!
Image credits: kfenton5
#35 His Name Is Zsasz, He Was A Semi Feral Rescue And Now A Love Sponge
Image credits: pandapower-
#36 One Of My Saddest Beginning Rescue Cases. This Senior Declawed Girl Was Living In A Hotel Storm Drain Starving. As Soon As I Got The Call, I Rushed There. She Had To Be Sedated And Shaved, As Seen In The Before Photo Due To Matting. She Was So Thin.
Image credits: Hoperosaliex
#37 Before And After 2 Years Of Being Rescued
Image credits: sheva0210
#38 Adopted 2 Pups From The Spca And Caught Them Holding Paws Comforting Each Other
Image credits: wcslater
#39 One Of The Two Cats We’ve Adopted, It Was Her First Time Outside
Image credits: gothmuffin69
#40 Chonky Cat Mister Weighs 30 Pounds And Available To Adopt From Michigan Humane
Image credits: KoreanAbdul-Jabbar
#41 The Power Of Rescue! I Rescue Animals.this Is Pearl The Day I Got Her, And Her Today In Her Forever Home!
Image credits: Hoperosaliex
#42 Just Adopted This Sleepy Girl!
Image credits: GreatScot4224
#43 My Husband Developed A Fever And Our Rescue Lab Mix Daisy, Won’t Leave His Side. She’s Even Been Sleeping With Her Head On His Head
Image credits: B00KW0RM214
#44 Rescued This Poor Fella From A Neglect Situation Last Night. Hoping I Can Bring Him Back To Good Health!
Image credits: SubjectMystery
#45 This Cecil. I Adopted Him Through The Starbucks Drive Thru. The Customer Showed Me A Passenger Seat Full Of Kittens And Said “Do You Want A Kitten?” And I Said “Absolutely I Do”. I Took The Kitten, Put Him In My Apron Pocket, And Asked To Go Home Early. Cecil Is Now Six
Image credits: Ok_Flow_8679
#46 Less Than 24 Hours After I Found Her Getting Into My Trash.. Brought This Pretty Girl To The Vet, And We’re Adopting Her. Shadow Says Hello!
Image credits: CarnalMaze
#47 Sumi(Tabby) & Waka. Adopted Together And They Were Golden. We Sadly Lost Waka A Year Ago And This Was The Best Picture Of Them Together
Image credits: nszki777
#48 I Trapped A Void Named Linda. I Rescued Her And Her Babies. I’m A Proud Mom Of 5 Voids!
Image credits: LiPe62
#49 Rescued My 2nd Kitty
Image credits: markbasshead
#50 My Old Man Brody, Rescued Him After Being Returned 2 Times. He Must Have Been Waiting For Me Because He’s Been The Best Dog. We Have Been Threw A Lot Together, He’s My Rock And Loves Wearing Hats!
Image credits: CrystalAckerman
#51 My Wife And I Adopted These Two Goobers In 2020. Sienna (Back) And Miho.
Image credits: Inside-Plantain4868
#52 His Name Is Zorba, He Has Behavioral Issues Due To Abandonment And Bad Shelter Experience, I Adopted Him. He’s Coming Home Today
Image credits: SHybrid
#53 Adopted A 10 Month Siamese Cat
Image credits: Thodiir
#54 Long-Term Blep Waiting 600+ Days To Be Adopted
Image credits: LoveLivesHereRVA
#55 The Adoption Pic vs. What I Adopted
Image credits: yomyback
#56 Just Adopted My Third Piggy (Middle)!
Image credits: Idontquiteknow123
#57 Her Name Is Baby, Vets Think She Is ~19 Yrs Old. She’s A Rescue And Loves To Be Held And Has One Tooth. Baby New Year!
Image credits: abbychestnut666
#58 Bowie On A Bookshelf. Rescued Street Kitty Settling Into His New Home Nicely
Image credits: DruAxe
#59 Rescued This Little Stray 2 Weeks Ago. He’s In Quarantine Because Of Ringworm But Is Already Looking So Much Better! I Would Die For Frodo
Image credits: vanessaultimo
#60 My Missy Girl Two Months After We Rescued Her
Image credits: bitchinawesomeblonde
#61 My Rescue Girl Who Was “Likely Never Going To Be Able To Trust”
Image credits: bp2bp22
#62 Just Adopted This Sweet Girl Yesterday
Image credits: LewdweI
#63 Adopted Little Miss Freya Last Weekend. 1.3 Lbs Of Love
Image credits: EvergreenSasquatch
#64 Before And After Adoption. In A Span Of 3 Months Loki Went From An Outdoor Loner To A Pampered, Mindless Chonk
Image credits: KingSofaOfTheSlugs
#65 Thanks To This Subreddit I Have Just Adopted A Rescue, 6 Months Old Kitty Void. Her Name Is Katja
Image credits: Lishak429
#66 Adopted Him Off The Streets Of Hollywood. Now He’s 14 Lbs And Meows At Me If I Don’t Top His Food With Bone Broth
Image credits: MasonStaycation
#67 Adopted Ringo Yesterday 🙂 Can’t Decide If He’s Dark Grey Or Black… Depends On The Lighting!
Image credits: henlope
#68 Also Sharing My Skye~ She’s The Last One To Be Adopted From Her Litter ‘Cause Other Says She’s “Ugly.”. Who’s Ugly Now?
Image credits: KyoNyx
#69 Superb Rescue Saw Whet Owl Maple With Her New Stuffed Monkey Pal!
Image credits: taoistchainsaw
#70 My Girlfriend And I Adopted This Sweet Boy Earlier This Week. Now Flapjack Is Living His Best Life!
Image credits: HeyoItsMrMayo
#71 Adopted This Guy Last Week. He Was Found Chained Outside An Abandoned House.he Goes By Kilo.
Image credits: syfab43ls
#72 Please Help Me Name Him! We Just Adopted Him, He’s A Cream Colored Fur Baby
Image credits: hobieu
#73 Our Little Rescue. We Need Name Suggestions! Please Help!
Image credits: I-Spy-All-Eyes
#74 Senior Rescue Has No Teeth So She Can Be A Messy Eater!
Image credits: the-missing-sock-
#75 Our Dumpster Rescue Chai, Then And Now. Went From A Little Sweetheart To A Total Drama Queen. We Love Her!!
Image credits: Violetemma3396
#76 This Is Bee, Our Rescue Hippo. The Rescue Listed Her As Staffordshire/Dalmatian But We Aren’t Sure
Image credits: jsteenson1
#77 My 5 Month Shiba. Adopted Just Yesterday From A Local Rescue. I Feel Like I Won The Puppy Lottery
Image credits: Madimadi1
#78 My Fiancé And I Adopted A Senior Cat. Everyone, Meet Doug!
Image credits: tanglewoodtree
#79 BF And I Decided To Adopt The Kitten We Rescued – Any Name Suggestions? She’s Such A Sweetie!
Image credits: greebovamp
#80 Meet Tiny Syd, Just Adopted And He Is Very Polite
Image credits: missgeekette
#81 Adopted Him 1 Week Ago, Already So In Love With Him
Image credits: _tacolover
#82 My Wife Just Rescued This Baby Tonight. She’d Been Outside For A Few Days In Sub Zero Temps, Abandoned By Our Old Neighbors And We Weren’t Sure She’d Make It Another Night. Glad To Bring Her In And Warm Her Up!
Image credits: ifoundmyruth
#83 My Rescue Boy Bear. He Was In A Shelter For Almost A Year. He’s The Friendliest Dog Ever, Wonderful With My Grandkids And A Giant Lap Hound
Image credits: Jacksonibanez
#84 When I Rescued Him vs. Now
Image credits: onyxkoyu
#85 This Is Fin. Fin Is A Rescue. The First Pic Is The Night He Was Found, And The Second Is From A Few Months Ago. I’d Say He Got The Golden Ticket
Image credits: Maybe_Asleep
#86 We Just Adopted This Boy!
Image credits: Limuluslimulus
#87 Cops Told Us To Shoot Them. We Didn’t – They Will Both Make A Full Recovery And Hopefully Be Adopted Together!
Image credits: DeviantDahlia
#88 After A Year Of Feeding, Spoiling And Small Cautious Head Pats, She Has Finally Adopted Me. Help Me Name This Sweet Thing
Image credits: Sufficient_Ad_907
#89 She’s Come Such A Long Way And Grown Up So Much Since I Adopted Her!
Image credits: Negative_Ad6903
#90 We First Wanted To Adopt One, But I’m So Happy We Couldn’t Resist And Adopted Both! Meet Sushi And Zorro!
Image credits: Ambercoloured
#91 My Blue Nose Pit Selena Rescued And Saved Her From A Terrible Home Where She Was Abused And Starved And Shes Gained Almost 60 Ibs And Is A Happy Girl
Image credits: TheyHateBlaine
#92 Help Me Name Our New Rescue! He’s Really Mischievous And Playful
Image credits: srose89
#93 Rescued This Baby From A Bunch Of Dogs
Image credits: busyinhimalayas
#94 Rescued My Boy From A Dude That Bought Him And Just Chained Him To A Tree For Months And Had Him Sleep In A Broken Freezer Outside. Now He Gets To Run Around Free And Sleeps In Bed With Me At Night
Image credits: Grouchy-Baker6004
#95 Rescued A Lost Tabby During Monsoon Rains But Was Lowkey Worried If My Other Boy Would Accept Him, I Guess They’re Doing Just Fine
Image credits: AlfazNexuz
#96 My Sister Rescued This Cute Stray Kitten That Came In Her Garden. He Hasn’t Stopped Purring Since We Turned Him Into A Purrito
Image credits: vemisfire
#97 Jam Is A 7 Week Old Rescue, Very Playful And Very Affectionate, Like Knows No Boundaries ? People Interested In Adopting Her Ask For Better Pictures. Any Tips On Photographing Torties?
Image credits: sortedandunsorted
#98 Vet: Uhh, Your Rescue Cat, Miss Kevan, May Be A Low-Mid Generation Savannah Cat. (Next To 14 Year Old Normal Sized Clarysse For Scale)
Image credits: KingSofaOfTheSlugs
#99 This Is Marcel, A New Friend At Our Cat Shelter. Right Now He’s Resting And Eating A Lot. The Good News Is That We Already Have Someone Who Wants To Adopt Him!
Image credits: sonia72quebec
#100 I Thought I Would Share My Boy Here. I Love Him. He’s A Rescue, But Who Really Rescued Who? He’s Been There For Me With Everything
Image credits: kaikai3610
#101 My Rescue Girl Luna Always Smiles At Me Like This When We Go For A Walk!
Image credits: SkyerHaddock1123
#102 Meet My Mom’s Rescue Dog, Shayna!!
Image credits: sahrieswirl
#103 Hubby & New Rescue Kitten
Image credits: JessicaMcPherson
#104 I Rescued The Sweetest Cat Tonight From The Cold. She Has A Warm Bed And Food Tonight And Is Resting And Purring. She Is Very Malnourished Though So I’m Pretty Worried For Her. I Will Take Her To Vet In The Morning. Send Positive Vibes Her Way!
Image credits: BlueOwl22
#105 My Handsome Rescue Pup Jasper – Half Labrador W/ Lotsa Husky And A Sprinkle Of Beagle & Basset Hound
Image credits: workstory
#106 We Just Rescued This Little Pudding. She’s Called Penny. She’s Very Overweight. Any Advice/Tips On Getting Her Weight Down Would Be Very Much Appreciated
Image credits: fanwuella
#107 Another Heartwarming Pitbull Rescue Story
Image credits: Lavenderf0x
#108 My Precious Boys Chucky And Freddy Got Adopted Today
Image credits: Jirel-of-Joiry
#109 Happy 15th To This Old Lady, We Adopted Her At 14 Weeks Old
Image credits: CyleB
#110 Adopted These Two Fur Babies In October And They Are Inseparable. Meet Randy (Left) And Xena (Right)
Image credits: ddmegadoodoo69
#111 Adopted Today, Help Me Name Him?
Image credits: ONeiII
#112 Meet Our Newly Adopted Dog, Lincoln!
Image credits: drewtangclan
#113 Freya Our Adopted Norwegian Elk Hound
Image credits: Bixlerdude
#114 Adopted This Aussie/Golden Retriever On Christmas Eve And Her Name Is Maddie. Not Only The Best Gift I’ve Ever Gotten But A Literal Dream Come True
Image credits: USSNCC1701E
#115 This Is Elvira, A Cute Friend At Our Cat Shelter. She’s Getting Adopted Really Soon,until Then She’s Rocking Her Pjs
Image credits: sonia72quebec
#116 She Always Wanted A “Baby”, So She Adopted A Red Panda Stuffie
Image credits: deathbyspoons42
#117 Just Adopted A 10 Year Old Cat At The Shelter. His Owner Died Recently And So Did My Son So We Kinda Need Each Other Right Now
Image credits: smokinsuzy2000
#118 I Always Had Dogs Growing Up And Never Interacted With Cats Because Of My Mom’s Allergies. My Boyfriend And I Got A Black Cat Yesterday And She’s Changed My Opinion On All Cats Ever. (10 Month Old Rescued Off The Street)
Image credits: Puzzleheaded_Boat423
#119 Adopted This Boy A Month Ago From A Local Rescue. We Were Told He Was A Big Boy But We Weren’t Prepared Lol More To Love! Fyi – This Is A King Bed. 8lb Senior Cat For Scale In Second Pic.
Image credits: NoKidding1