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From Shelter to Adventure: Heartwarming Stories of Dog Adoptions

Updated: May 21

Man and woman adopting dogs from a shelter
Adopting Lucy -Snoopy came to meet his new sister

We love our pups and chances are that, if you’re here reading this blog, you’re a dog lover too! We’ve put together some of ours and our friends’ and family’s favorite adoption stories together in quick easy-to-read paragraphs. Whether you’re looking for some reasons to adopt a dog, need some motivation to get out and get active with your pup, or just want to read some feel-good short stories, we hope these stories help.  


Dog Adoption Stories


Check out these fun-loving, outdoor adventure dogs who, by no fault of their own, ended up in shelters but were rescued by amazing humans who’ve made them part of their family and their lives!


El Rayito Blanco

Dog on a kayak

Originally rescued by Baja Animal Sanctuary, Rayito is an 8-year old Chihuahua / Maltese mix who came to live with his owner Bill 5 years ago because the family he lived with couldn't keep him because of their landlord. Rayito has a true adventure dog spirit and loves going hiking and camping with his awesome human Bill. Not only that, but he also volunteers with San Diego ICO (Inspiring Connections Outdoors) which takes underserved youth on nature outings. Rayito drags Bill all over the Southwest U.S., camping and hiking in some of the most scenic locations in the world!


Rusty the Surfing Min Pin

Dog wearing sunglasses at the beach

You may recognize Rusty as a big-time competition surf dog with lots of style. But his rags to riches story and kind heart has won us over! His now momma was having a hard time, having just lost her min pin Brian and her own mom being in the hospital. A trip to the shelter to cheer her up introduced her to an older min pin (Brianna) and a stray puppy (Rusty). Rusty loved going to the beach and after putting him on a surfboard to take a picture one day, Rusty was hooked to surfing and it was easy to see that he was a natural. Now 8 years old, Rusty is a surfing dog legend in both individual and tandem riding! And when we do get snow here in Southern California, you can find Rusty blazing down the hills in his sled! No, he doesn’t pull a dog sled, he actually rides a sled downhill – and he’s wicked fast!



Dog on a hiking trail

Snoopy is a Jack Russell/Chihuahua mix and came to us in 2016. We adopted him at 4 months old from Helen Woodward Animal Center and he’s a major inspiration behind the Fetch The Sun brand. When he was about a year old, he began his surfing journey. Unfortunately, about a year later, he was diagnosed with epilepsy and had to stop his surfing. He still loves to hike and go for short runs; and while we don’t full-on compete in agility, he still loves playing on the jumps and a-frames. We still take frequent trips to the beach where he loves to dig in the soft sand. He’s such a sweet little guy and we’re so happy he’s a part of our family!


Faith the Surfing Pitbull

Dog surfing

Faith was found along with her brother, Ace in a parking garage in Downtown San Diego on Thanksgiving weekend of 2012. Both had belts around their necks and looked underfeed and very dirty. In the summer of 2013, their dog dad (James) was volunteering with the Helen Woodward surf dog clinics and thought why not give the pups a try on the surfboards. Faith took to it like a fish to water. They entered her in her first competition a few weeks later and she has been riding the waves ever since.  Some of Faith's accomplishments include:

  • Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon Division winner in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, & 2019; Best in Surf winner in 2019 & Runner up in Best in Surf in 2016 & 2018

  • Surfcity Surfdog champion 2017 & Tandem champion in 2021

  • Florida International Dog Surfing Championships runner up

  • Numerous televised appearances



Photo of a dog at the golden hour

We also adopted Lucy from Helen Woodward. She was just over 2 years old when she joined our family, and she had 8 puppies while at the shelter! We met Lucy by chance at a Type-1 diabetes walk through JDRF (she was there with her foster momma), and we immediately fell in love. She’s part Golden Retriever and part Cocker Spaniel- two breeds known for their love of water! I thought she’d make the perfect surf dog, but she wanted nothing to do with the ocean (or water for that matter). That’s okay though, because she does love to hike and we’re a hiking family!! She’s one of the sweetest dogs I’ve ever met (and I’ve been around a lot of dogs) and we’re so stoked to have her as part of our family.  


Calvin Calhoun

Dog on a boat

Calvin was rescued at the age of 2 years old from the Animal Resource Center, a no kill animal shelter in Pennsylvania. He is so social, he loves to play and be around other dogs and people. His favorite thing is riding in boats to “zoomie” island where he can get out and zoom around while river adventuring. Ironically his birthday is on Valentine’s Day, and it truly shines in the love he exudes to his people and his doggo friends! He’s a bright, happy stubborn soul and his family absolutely loves him.


Dog Adoptions at Your Local Shelter

If you’re looking to add a dog to your family, please check out your local shelter as there are so many sweet dogs (and cats) looking for good homes.  Adopting a dog can bring so much joy and love into your life, as well as encourage you to get out and explore the great outdoors together!


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