Your Donation Saves Lives!

We count on your donations to continue our life-saving work. As a non-profit organization with no paid staff members, our dedicated volunteers work tirelessly on behalf of local animals. And our efforts are paying off. Our innovative programs have been credited with reducing the number of animals who are euthanized at our local animal control facility. Our dream is that one day, no adoptable animals will be killed in area shelters. We thank you for helping us realize this dream.Visit the donation page to see where your money goes.


This past Sunday, we provided permanent identification for 173
pets, including 2 rabbits and 1 ferret at our reduced-cost microchip
clinic. A microchip is a small inert ID that is inserted between the
shoulder blades of pets.  If a lost pet comes into a vet office or
Shelter, a scanner provides immediate identification. The practice
of microchipping is a fairly new technology, but has reunited
thousands of lost pets with their owners.... [read more and see photos]


Three Strikes and He'd Be Out
(Buck's Story)
by Anne Phillips

One of the best friends I've ever had almost lost his life for the crime of being.
When I first laid eyes on him, he had just arrived at the Howard County dog pound for the second time in his short life. His chances of being adopted for third time were probably pretty slim since he was half bald and badly scarred by flea bites. And since he had a "record" (of being adopted & returned to the pound twice), his situation was almost hopeless.

I have no doubt that it was fate that brought him to our family. I had wanted a dog for years and one night my husband surprised us by announcing we were heading over to the pound to look for a dog to adopt. Even though I was thirty-four years old, I leapt for joy and shot out of the house like an excited kid. We looked for a few weeks. Usually young Beagle pups or purebred Labrador Retrievers caught our eye. We soon found out that these fortunate creatures had a lot of fans; there wasn't much chance of getting one of them.

Then one Monday night, there he was in the first cage on the left. I think he was glad that I stopped to talk, because he sat right down and tried to shake hands through the wire. I noticed his beautiful eyes; one blue, one brown, and both outlined in dark brown so that it looked like he had carefully applied eyeliner. He seemed to know he was in dire straits because he begged me to get him out of there.

So we did. It was easy - he didn't have a long line of fans. As soon as they handed him over, he lunged out the door towards freedom, hopping on two legs all the way to the car. My husband had been warned about pound dogs with mental problems - crazy, wild dogs that could never be trained. Dogs that destroyed houses and always sat in front. We all smiled nervously at each other when he leaped into the front seat and settled in happily for the ride home.I was great relieved to see that "Buck" was housebroken and the only real complaints that we had were the way he walked on leash (or, should I say, "lunged" and "hopped') and the way he got over-excited once in a while (nipping, barking and zooming around the house at 100 miles per hour). At our vet's suggestion, we enrolled him in obedience school.

On the first day of class, all of the dogs were allowed to go off leash and greet each other. This was part of the "socialization process", which we were told was essential. After Buck tried to mount the same lovely Golden Retriever four or five times, the instructor picked him up to see if he was really neutered or not. Needless to say, for the remaining eight weeks of class, Buck remained attached to his leash as we stood quietly by the wall during socialization time.

Things did improve - Buck turned out to be the brightest pupil in class! While learning sit, stay and lie down, Buck caught on so quickly that the teacher used him as the demo dog. I seemed to be the only one to pick up on his real "attitude", however. When it was time to lie down, rather than reclining graciously like his golden retriever girlfriend for example, he would flatten himself completely on the floor. With his chin pressed firmly on the floor, he stared up at me with a crazed look in his eyes - flapping his tail unceasingly. I thought this looked a little weird, but the rest of the class applauded because he stayed in position the longest.

Then came time for each one of us to individually demonstrate how well our dogs could come when called. I knew his star pupil status was in jeopardy here. Sure enough, when my son took him off leash he headed straight over to his lady friend without paying any attention to me firmly calling his name. Suddenly, I had a brainstorm. I asked him, "Buck, do you need a treat?" With that, he bulleted across the room to my side. The class applauded and I chuckled thinking, "so much for love".

When Buck graduated from class, he received a very official looking diploma from his teacher. I felt just like a proud mother, even though she referred to him as our little "stud muffin". It made no difference that Buck wasn't a purebred as the rest of the dogs were.

Buck has been a great friend during the six year following his graduation. I like sharing in the little episodes that make up a dog's life. Like when we realized that Buck had been fooling us when we thought he was swimming. From his shoulders up, he appeared to be swimming, while all the while he was actually tiptoeing along gracefully on his hind feet. Finally, one time he followed me out into deep water and suddenly began to cry and splash wildly. Then he looked right into my eyes with a look of total trust and began to swim (really swim) over to me. He knew that I would not let him drown.

We like to watch Buck's performances. To get once single treat, Buck is willing to sit, stay, shake hands, speak, sit up, lie down and roll over! The only problem is, he no longer waits for each command. He goes through his whole repertoire at once which, much to everyone's delight, makes him look like a robotic dog with a short circuit.

It's a shame that pound dogs get such a bad rap. Most dogs who end of at the pound are there through no fault of their own - usually you can trace their problems to problems in their former owner's lives (death, divorce, not enough time, neglect, etc.). Older dogs, who are often overlooked, have the potential to be wonderful pets without the headaches of housebreaking and chewing. Mixed breeds may not have perfect confirmation, but they are often adorable or even beautiful. Most vets are able to identify a mut's heritage, so a prospective owner can have a pretty good idea of exactly what type of dog they are adopting. (Per our vet, Buck's heritage includes Border Collie, Australian Shepherd and Chow).

In 1996 (the year we adopted Buck), millions of dogs had to be put to sleep in U.S. animal shelters because no one adopted them. If Buck had been among the unfortunate, my family would have truly lost out. We wouldn't have laughed nearly as much, the kids wouldn't have learned the responsibility of taking care of a pet, and I would have been cheated out of the dozens and dozens of happy memories and unconditional love that only a dog can provide.



One lucky Saturday in the early part of July 2000, I happened to be the "dog of the day" so to speak, when in walked someone that would soon become my new Mom. Ann, one of my lady friends at the Humane Society, was holding me and petting me. Of course, I looked pretty cute with my orange bandana tied around my neck. In fact, Mom later told me that I looked so darned cute that she thought I belonged to Ann because surely no one could have given me up for adoption..

As fate would have it, Mom loves Terriers, but, like a lot of people, she had been "warned" about us Jack Russell's (can you imagine!!!). Doesn't anyone watch Eddie, I mean Frasier! You see I was 7 years old, and for some reason most people want to adopt puppies. But don't they know. that, like me, I was already housebroken, obeyed commands and was beyond the destructive chewing days of my youth. All I needed wassomeone to give me a chance and love me, for which Mom says, I return that love tenfold.

I'm finally home where I belong. I am loved and I love my family so much. Mom thinks that I know I was saved and that's why I am so attached to them (Dad even nicknamed me Elmer, like the glue), and she's right. That's why I appreciate my lady friends at the Humane Society, who took care of me while I was there and played with me. A special thanks to my best buddy, Brenda, who never gave up the belief that surely someone would want me and love me. She saw the real Max shining through, and she was right!

So the next time you come across an "older" pet that you may be tempted to pass up just because of age or a bad rap, please remember my story. Please give us a chance. We still have so much love to give. You won't be disappointed!
One Happy Jack Russell,
Max Shaffer



"Lexie" who was adopted from the shelter about 5 months ago. What a JOY she is! She as you can see is an older dog, about 7 years old, we only wish everyone could understand the benefits and pleasures in adopting an older pet.

She was already housebroken, though we had to set a schedule up for her, and very obedient. She knows basic commands such as sit, down and stay, is very intelligent and is so eager to please! She was very shy when she first arrived, and rather distant until we won her trust. Now she is a real clown with her antics, and acts no were near her age!

She can wear all of us out and still be going! She is great company to "Suzy" who you see the back of in the picture. She is also very "vocal" when she wants our attention. She walks up, sits politely down, looks up and starts to make all matters of noises. When you get up, she takes you directly to what it is she wants, whether it be out, food, or to a toy to play.

I have worked with animals and animal organizations for years and have always encouraged people to adopt older pets. Lexie is just another great example of the rewards of doing so!



Nina is becoming a wonderful dog...she plays well with others, eats well and loves life. Her favorite things are other puppies and going to bed. She currently weighs 25 lbs. at 4 months so...I'm thinking her max weight will be 50 - 55.

She has taken over the loveseat in the living room as "hers"...that's only fair since her housemates have already taken the couch, chair and floor! She loves all three of her kitty roommates also, but especially has a thing for Norman, the youngest.

Thanks again for all you do....Debbie



You remember her as "Sampson". She loves to play ball as you see in the photo. You wouldn't believe how many toys she has! Her other favorite toy is a green plastic bone that makes a giggling noise when she holds it in her mouth. It's kind of humourous when Sandy goes up and down the stairs with that thing in her mouth -- it sounds like she's laughing. As you see she is one happy dog! We've had her for a year now and we just love her.



In July of 2001 my mother and I adopted a sweet 12-year-old mixed poodle dog named Toto at the shelter.

At first I was a bit apprehensive about adopting an older dog. After all, we had lost a 12-year-old Westie named Scotty the year before.

I thought the care giving would be one-sided, all going in her direction, and that was fine with me! But in December 2001 I was diagnosed with colon cancer and was operated on the day after Christmas.

I worried that this sweet dog, who had gotten used to having me in tow on her trips around the yard, would not understand that now she had to "go it alone." But I needn't have worried, she understood that I could not go outside with her.
One day, as I was getting better, she looked at me as if to say "OK, you're well enough to walk with me again!" And she was right. We went back to our walks together.

She comforted me when I was sick from chemo and kept me moving even when I didn't feel like it. She also kept my mother company while I was in the hospital twice. So while we adopted her to give her a good home, she has enhanced our lives immeasurably. She is sweet and loving and has a tail that just can't stop wagging. And I know that she still has many years of love left to give.


The Rewards of Adopting an Older Pet

My husband and I adopted Mack from the Howard County shelter in 1999 when he was approximately 10-12 years old.  

He doesn't have a story before he came to us, as he was picked up as a stray.   He was absolutely filthy and smelled horrific, his teeth were worn down to nubs, but we decided immediately to adopt him and were up for the challenge of his chronic ear infections and severe skin allergies.  He was neutered before we brought him home, of course, which meant we had to wait several days to give him his "first" bath--definitely trying times.  

When he first met our only dog Rosy, he was the most aggressive animal I have ever seen--barking passionately and literally trying to attack this lab-mix who was easily 3 times his size.  The two of them finally managed to work out a stable peace, but Mack's reputation as a human lover and canine hater was firm.  

However, we are now guardians of 5 dogs and Mack has peacefully submitted to each new addition to our family--one example of his transformation into a loving family dog.  His age is showing now--he sleeps long and hard and can't go more than an hour without peeing--but he continues to be one of the sweetest and most transformed dogs I have ever seen.  After ear surgery, thousands of dollars spent at the dermatologist, and near-daily baths for almost 5 years, Mack has a clean black/grey/brindle coat and one good ear.

I can only imagine the horrific life he must have lived before coming to us, but he finally has a giant soft pillow to spend the rest of his days on, and a loving family
to call his own


Tori (the cat) and Monty (the dog) both were adopted from Howard County Animal Control.  They both live together on a beautiful farm in Western Maryland.  They are living the good life and love each other and everyone they meet. Monty was in the shelter for a long time.  He had the misfortune of being a large black mix breed dog.  These dogs are often overlooked in shelters.  He was the perfect dog but no one wanted to adopt Monty.  When his time was running out one of our members called her brother and asked him to come and meet this awesome dog.  Being an experienced dog owner he saw Monty for what he is truly is, wonderful, gentle and loving.  Large mixed breed dogs make great pets - the bigger the better!

Tori, was also fortunate to have been adopted by the same man.  She might not have made it out of the shelter if it hadn't been for him since there are too many beautiful and loving cats always looking for "forever" homes.  She and Monty were two of the lucky ones.


Buddy & Daisy


A funny story about Peanut & Smokey:

Smokey has a favorite spot in the cage he shares with Peanut. One day Peanut decided to occupy that spot. Smokey tried to make her move, but Peanut refused. This picture is how the dispute was settled. Rabbits aren't dumb!!!



We just wanted to let you know that Mischief is doing great. Mischief is steadily growing and is as playful as ever. He is very comfortable with his new sister, Trouble. They play all day long and seem to be best of friends. As soon as either of us walks through the door, Mischief runs right to us. He is beginning to recognize his name. He loves to sit on your lap and is very comfortable playing with you. Thank you for helping to add him to our family.

Lauren, Mark, Trouble and Michief Welsh


McCoy and Bentley


Two are always better than one!!!

Here's a picture of Elliot(McCoy) and Loki (Bentley). I just wanted to tell you that they are getting along very well and I'm so happy that I decided on getting a second kitty.

Thank you so much!
Best Wishes,



Adopting an Older Pet - Why It's a Good Decision


Bronco is a wonderful dog. He's between 6 and 8 years old, and he's a beautiful mixed Golden Retreiver - Husky - Lab. He is so perfect that it's hard to believe he was in the county animal shelter for four weeks. As soon as I saw him, I knew he was the dog for me. I feel very lucky to have Bronco in my life.

Having a mature dog is a good match for me since I live alone and I'm away at work for nine hours during the day. Bronco is able to handle this very well. Because he's an older dog, he was already trained. He's so well-behaved that when I'm gone he doesn't get on the furniture, doesn't get into the trash, doesn't have accidents.

He knows what's going on and what's expected of him. A younger dog that doesn't have the experience and training would have a much harder time coping with being alone so long and may not be able to"hold it" until I get home.

Many people will pass by an older dog in the shelter and look for a young dog. But for some people, an older dog is a better choice. They are more mature and therefore more experienced with different situations. They are already trained so they are more responsive, more in control, and more trustworthly when left alone. Older dogs don't need the constant supervision that many young dogs do. They just need someone responsible to love them and take care of them.

They give us back so much more in return - love, companionship, and fun for many quality years.

Bronco is an awesome dog. And he's the perfect dog for me



Sierra and Diamond have a carefree life indoors now after being adopted together.

They enjoy their cat hideout, cat treehouse, cat napping and eating cat treats plus of course playing with their owner. 

Sierra and Diamond came into the shelter along with three other cats because their owner was moving and couldn't take the five cats with them. 

Moving is the #1 reason innocentanimals are surrendered to shelters. 

Sierra and Diamond were lucky to have found a "forever" home."


A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Click a letter to find an animal or view all.

 Next Page »

2067 - Vadar 2067 - Vadar
Adopted: October 19, 2005
Labrador Retriever

1956-Bobby 1956-Bobby
Adopted: October 15, 2005
Norwegian Forest Cat

1987 - Bounder 1987 - Bounder
Adopted: October 15, 2005

1979 - Tokyo 1979 - Tokyo
Adopted: October 15, 2005
Japanese Chin

1976 - Chip 1976 - Chip
Adopted: October 15, 2005
Beagle / Cocker Spaniel

 Next Page »

Click a letter to find an animal or view all.
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


Animal Advocates of Howard County | PO Box 1403 • Ellicott City, MD 21041
(410) 880-2488 •