Home … err, work … is where the heart is: staff adoptions during COVID-19

When you’re thinking about a new job, a benefits package is high on the list of things to consider – you know, things beyond salary, like paid time off, health benefits and gym memberships. At the Dumb Friends League, there’s an unofficial (and maybe, unintended) perk to the total compensation package – say something that includes paws, tail wags, head butts and slobbery kisses. When those benefits met compassionate League staff members during the COVID-19 crisis, there is no shortage of happy tale adoption stories.

Let’s take a look at some happy tale staff pandemidoptions …


Pam and her family lost their beloved pup Kirby at the beginning of the crisis, and they decided to foster a dog to help as many animals as possible leave the shelter. The family had so much love in their hearts to share with a pup, but adoption wasn’t their initial intention. But then came Louise. “Louise was a big, giant floof with the same face markings as our sweet Kirby,” said Pam, “and we thought it might be a sign.” It didn’t take long for Louise to settle into her new home or for Pam’s family to become a foster fail (and that’s a good thing). “Louise has become the guardian of our 3-year-old son,” said Pam. “Where he is, she is. Louise follows him around, herds him and even tickles him to death with kisses. She has been such an integral part of our healing and mourning Kirby’s loss. She has helped remind us how wonderful he was … and truly lucky we were to have him.”

Meows matter

Kelly and her husband also wanted to help in the efforts to reduce the number of animals at the shelter, and a cat was their best option to create harmony (or at least not chaos) with their existing cat Finney. Plus, the couple had also lost their dog Bella a few months prior, and something was missing in their little family. “I chose Bernard because one of our adoption counselors said, ‘Bernard is great! He’s so chill! I love him,’ said Kelly. “So, the first couple of days when I was deciding which kitty to bring home, I went into the cat pavilion where Bernard was living, and he just sat in his little cat house and had THE SWEETEST MEOW! Meows matter … some meows make you cringe. Bernard’s made me melt. All he wanted was to be pet and loved on. And, Bernard is 13 and has about three teeth, so this old man cat isn’t going to be combative with our cat.” After a few weeks, Bernard came out of his “old man shell,” and the couple knew they had the opportunity to give this funny little cat a good life with cuddles, toys, love and the occasional Arby’s Beef n’ Cheddar sandwich when he steals one.

The comforts of a good home

Staff who weren’t “at-risk” helped out throughout the crisis with different tasks around all of the League’s shelters in addition to their regular jobs. Lauren was a regular dog walker, and one day, she met Scout. “I sent a picture of him to my husband, we both fell in love, and that was that. Scout is on the younger side, is not an alpha, and he seemed very calm and ‘chill’ for a puppy,” said Lauren. Scout’s adjustment to his new home didn’t take long. “He definitely seems to love the comforts of a good home,” joked Lauren. “Now it’s just adjusting to training a new puppy – we haven’t had to do this in over a decade.” Scout had already learned sit, paw, stay and come and loves to snuggle with Lauren and her husband in the mornings despite taking up most of the bed. Kids, right? “He’s the best boy, and I’m working on socializing and training him to become one of the League’s ambassadogs,” said Lauren.” Shelter pets are far and away the best pets; when he’s scared, I think about what he must have experienced in his 5.5 months of life, and it breaks my heart – I’m pretty sure he was traumatized by a few things that seem to be triggers. I want nothing more than to give him every ounce of love and every good thing that a dog deserves for the rest of his life.”

Belly rub, snorts and love to start the day

Jason began his new job as an adoptions associate the day before the League changed its operations to respond to COVID-19. “My partner and I already knew we’d eventually adopt, and we knew precisely the type of animal we wanted: a long-stay, hard-to-adopt dog, preferably a pit bull,” said Jason. “In fact, we moved to the Denver area from Washington, DC, and looked for a house only in areas that didn’t have a breed ban.” Leia, a 7-year-old pit bull, had been at the League for four months and was recommended to the couple by a fellow adoptions counselor. What began as a foster turned into adoption, and the sweet pup had an almost nonexistent adjustment to her new home. “Leia may not be a fan of other dogs (and we’re working on it), but apart from that, she’s the most affectionate, obedient and easy-going dog I’ve ever met,” said Jason. “She’s a cuddler, and she’s happiest when she’s next to us on the sofa, contentedly chewing on her Nylabone.” When it’s time to wake up and start the day, Leia has quite the routine. “She burrows her nose under the pillow and gets very wiggly; she snorts; she yawns loudly, and she rolls on her back for her morning belly rubs. Every day starts this way,” said Jason. “It’s almost as if she opens her eyes each morning, realizes for the first time all over again that she’s adopted an in a loving home, and can’t contain her excitement and joy.”

Visit our adoptions page or call 303.751.5772 to read about pets in need of loving homes. All adoptions include spay or neuter surgeries, age-appropriate vaccinations, a microchip ID and a free wellness visit with a participating veterinarian.

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