Dog videos on TikTok have long taken the app by storm, but one popular genre of video, in particular, is “before and after” slideshows and videos of dogs who have been adopted from animal shelters.
Animal shelters on social media are in the business of saving lives and bringing fur families together — and this trend is no exception.
There’s Zelda, who sat timidly in her kennel at first, and is then seen fully content with a big smile outdoors in her new home.
A crowd favorite is Nero, who braved a small smile at the shelter, showing off some visible scarring on his snout. In the next image, he sits tall in his new home, with his ears perked up and his injuries nearly absent.
One comment below the video simply says “Nero,” followed by four crying emojis.
Users were enchanted by all of the other dogs featured in the post, whose “after” photos all displayed clear relaxation or joyful energy.
Whether they were having a snooze alongside their new owners or joyfully playing in the snow, the photos of these dogs made one thing very apparent: Life is better in a forever home.
Shelters are overcrowded.
Although it’s heart-warming and necessary to celebrate the dogs who have found their beloved families, it’s also important to acknowledge the work of shelters like NWT SPCA, who provide safety and love for these pups in the interim.
“I feel like y’all are doing something very right because your pups always seem so calm and content, even in their before pictures,” one TikTok user commented. “Go team!”
One way shelter workers take care of their residents is by doing exactly this: sharing content on social media that helps people see the benefits of adopting a dog.
According to a recent annual report from Best Friends Animal Society, getting a dog from breeders and pet stores has steadily increased in recent years, while shelter adoptions have stalled.
The report states that in 2022, over 4.4 million cats and dogs entered shelters, which is up about 100,000 more than a year prior. The most devastating fact is that of these animals, approximately 378,000 were killed because there was simply nowhere for them to go.
So, as much as these TikToks are “aww”-worthy, they’re also an important tool to illustrate the need for willing and dedicated pet parents to adopt instead of shop.
Dog parents are sharing adoption transformation videos, too.
It’s not just the hard-working shelters showing us the benefits of adoption. Other viral videos on the app depict the visual and behavioral changes they saw in their dogs following adoption.
Take Finn, for instance, the pup behind the popular account @keepingfinn.
A transformation video posted on his page shows Finn, malnourished, crying with matted fur, as his parents rescued him and placed him in their car. This is quickly followed by a total 180-degree difference: A clip of him calmly accepting a treat with luscious long fur, perky ears, and an attentive expression.
“Two years later… Notice the change in body language, eye contact, and confidence,” the caption reads. “Until now, this was a dog that never had peace in his life… It’s amazing what a little love (and some cookies) can do for a dog in need.”
Another video, posted by dog account @thebernerbunch, shows the day Bernese Mountain Dog Annie was adopted. She sulks around her new house, whimpering, with her tail between her legs. Seconds later, a clip shows her wagging her tail rapidly, a smile plastered on her face.
“Annie has been in our home for a little over a month and is settling in so well,” the caption reads. “Her tail never stops wagging and she’s just the happiest dog ever!”
Shelter dogs are especially loyal and loving.
Beyond their puppy dog eyes and satisfied smiles, the “after” videos and photos of adopted dogs are also an indicator of their affection for their human counterparts.
For shelter dogs who have been abused or traumatized, it can be a difficult transition to trust a new owner. But once that bond is formed, there’s no going back.
“I think if you adopt a dog who’s had a less than perfect life, they are the ones who appreciate it the most when you give them a wonderful life with the attention, food, love, and training they crave,” professional dog trainer Trish McMillan told Reader’s Digest.
This is tied to dogs’ innate pack mentality that stems from thousands of years of human-dog bonds. Once you’ve provided a rescue dog with safety and trust, and you’ve proven to them they can rely on you to survive, that kind of loyalty and affection is unbreakable.
“Through science, we have learned that our canine friends are social, emotional beings that respond to human smells and voices,” an article by VCA Animal Hospital shares. “They react with joy to our scent and respond to the tone of our voice.”
Based on these TikToks, there’s no doubt about the bond humans and canines share.
“Thank you for giving them love,” one commenter wrote on NWT SPCA’s post. “That is all they need.”
Header images courtesy of Keeping Finn and NWT SPCA