Every dog is unique and deserves love, regardless of their appearance. Unfortunately, so-called “ugly” dogs often face the challenge of being overlooked, a widespread issue for shelter dogs seeking homes. People tend to gravitate towards more conventionally cute pets, leaving these less conventionally attractive dogs in the shadows.
Such was the plight of one unfortunate dog, consistently labeled as “ugly” and repeatedly passed over because of her appearance. However, her luck changed when she finally found a family who embraced and adored her.
In December, Orange County Animal Services took to Facebook to share the story of Dutchess, a dog surrendered to their care the previous year due to a landlord issue.
Dutchess had a “slight deformity” under both her eyes, a noticeable trait that, fortunately, did not impact her health. Nevertheless, this feature proved to be a hurdle for many potential adopters who couldn’t see past it.
The shelter expressed that visitors consistently passed over Dutchess due to her appearance. People would make comments about her looking “ugly” and inquire about any perceived issues, questioning if she was blind—despite the fact that there was nothing wrong with her, and she had an abundance of love to offer.
Adding a poignant touch to the narrative, Orange County Animal Services highlighted the heartbreaking aspect of the situation: Dutchess adored everyone. She eagerly approached the kennel doors each day, brimming with excitement for the new day and maintaining relentless optimism. For her, each day brought the possibility of encountering new people and, with it, renewed hope for adoption. Unaware of any bad days, Dutchess embraced each moment with an open heart.
Despite poor Dutchess not garnering much interest for adoption, the rescue remained steadfast in their hope for her. They painted a vibrant picture of her, describing her as “gentle, sweet, energetic, and extremely intelligent”—even going so far as to label her a role model for the other dogs in their care.
Highlighting her even temperament, the rescue shared that their behaviorists utilized Dutchess in playgroups to guide and soothe other dogs, using her presence as a means to teach them. They emphasized her well-behaved nature, ease of training, and her ability to get along with every dog she encountered, ultimately asserting, “We think she is beautiful.”
Fortunately, Dutchess’ melancholy days in the shelter reached a turning point when Rescue Dogs Dream Inc. stepped in and provided her with a foster home. The rescue joyfully reported that Dutchess was “doing great and is so happy to be FREE,” relishing in the simple pleasure of devouring a McDonald’s cheeseburger.
Dutchess’ life took a swift turn for the better. Rescue Dogs Dream happily announced on December 21 that, with numerous adoption requests pouring in, Dutchess had been “pre-adopted” by a loving family who treats their pups like kids. The rescue expressed their excitement for her newfound home, with a new Mom and Dad to shower her with affection.
Upon veterinary examination, it was determined that the growths around Dutchess’ eyes were uncomfortable and affecting her sight. Consequently, the rescue scheduled a surgical procedure to remove them, suspected to be dermoids, a rare type of skin cyst.
The surgery proved successful, and after a swift recovery, Dutchess embarked on the next chapter of her journey—heading to her forever home.
Dutchess is now known as “Lena,” and as of March 18, the rescue provided an update, sharing that Lena has comfortably settled into her new home. Notably, she recently completed level one in her doggie training classes.
According to Lena’s owner, relayed by Rescue Dogs Dream, Inc., everything is going smoothly. Lena is described as sweet, loving to play, and always wanting to be around her human companions. The owner candidly admitted that Lena has a penchant for counter surfing and has helped herself to some sticks of butter and cheeseburgers from the grill, but they’re actively working on curbing that behavior. Despite the quirks, Lena is praised as a wonderful girl, and her family has developed a deep affection for her.
It’s a heartwarming happily-ever-after for a dog who was unfortunately overlooked by many just because of her appearance. There are countless dogs like Dutchess/Lena waiting for homes, and Orange County Animal Services is urging people to give them a chance.
“Come to the shelter with an open heart,” they emphasized on Facebook. “Check inside every kennel. Look for Dutchess. Seek out the ones that everyone else passes over.” They advocate that this is how lives are saved, differences are made, and the world is changed, one dog at a time.
We’re overjoyed that Dutchess/Lena has found the loving home she truly deserves! Shelter dogs may look a bit different, but they, too, deserve an opportunity.
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