Why you shouldn’t judge a dog by their profile picture

We all know it’s easy to fall in love with the cute photos of dogs needing homes, after all, there’s so many dogs in need, it’s not hard to find one with beautiful photos. But what about the other dogs?

The rescuers we work with in Spain are all amazing people, doing their absolute best to help the huge amount of animals who need it. With some shelters having over 100 dogs at once and often being ran by volunteers, good quality photos aren’t always the top of the list and sometimes just aren’t manageable.

Imagine walking into a run with several dogs, all competing for your attention, jumping all over you since you’re the first human they’ve seen today and they’ve been starved of attention for their whole lives before arriving at the shelter. Not easy to get a good photo! And what about the dogs who arrive so scared they cower in front of the camera, often resulting in photos that don’t reflect their true beauty either.

The same of course goes for the dog’s descriptions. While we always try our best to get as much info as we can about each dog, dog’s behave differently in a shelter environment than they will in a home. For example, a dog that may be described as dominant with males in the shelter, may not display this behaviour at all once in a loving home or will come on leaps and bounds with the right training. Whilst not everybody is in a position to adopt a dog who made need extra input, these dog’s rely on adopters who will give them a second chance when nobody else will. Perhaps you want an only dog or only have a female dog at home and could consider helping that male dog who’s been waiting for 18 months?

Here’s some stories below of dog’s in similar circumstances


Jai was waiting at his shelter in Spain for 18 months with no interest at all. He has always adored people and would make a superb only dog. He found some males challenging but was fine with female dogs. His photos and description always meant he was ignored… until his lovely adopters came along! Here’s what they have to say about him:

Jai, as I first saw him, looking somewhat sad and bedraggled. He was in the shelter for more than 18 months before coming to us 6 months ago. The second picture was the first time he stopped running, 6 hours after he came home. The others show his development as an apple steeling mud monster! He’s improving on a lead, and completely ignores other dogs. Off lead can only be described as a work in progress, but he’s great with the granddaughters, and we wouldn’t want to be without him


Bruno didn’t have the best photos, not helped by the fact he was so scared at the time. We even had people ask us if he had brain damage because of his face… (he doesn’t…) We then found out he had cancer and had to go through months of chemotherapy in Spain. He came to us for temporary foster for a week, was handed back after 4 days and hasn’t left. He’s the best. He has a face that tells his whole life’s story but his past melts away the minute my running shoes are on 


Dino had some great photos from the shelter and he’s strikingly handsome, but he didn’t tick most people’s boxes. He was really struggling in the shelter and there was nobody to give him a second chance until…

Dino was in the shelter for 6 months, he was so stressed he had been moved away from the other dogs . We didn’t pick Dino he kind of picked us . There was one last seat on the bus and Penelope was so upset that he was going to be overlooked again and he wasn’t doing well ,that we managed to get him as a foster . He came to us very shut down, and then very reactive. Tessa asked after a month for some videos to put on the sites , he wasn’t ready and I knew we couldn’t give him up ,but It was a difficult transition. SeBPRA were so supportive, and they love him . He’s been a whirlwind and we are still not there yet. Every now and then we get a reminder of his past life , an unexpected noise or movement and he folds himself in half to get away , it’s heartbreaking . But more recently we get the almost cuddles , the leaping into the air towards us when we call( sometimes ) , ears flapping. He’s ours.


Monty was waiting in his shelter, with Jai, for 18 months with very little interest at all. He’s a beautiful tricolour setter but his photos didn’t show him at his best and he could be dominant with males in the shelter. He came into foster with us, living with our 4 setters (3 of which are male) and was a truly wonderful boy. Once we had some good photos of him, he had more enquiries in a week than he did in the whole 18 months he was waiting in Spain


The fabulous Elvis was in a shelter for 3 years! Here’s what his lovely mum has to say about his:

He was in the rescue centre for 3 years – plus another charity had previously tried to help him to no avail. Maybe the one eye put people off, but one eyed dogs are fabulous!! Although sad, I am glad no one chose him in that time, because he came into my life. He is the most loving, funny, loopy tune, kind, gentle and joyous dog. And I think he would say, it was worth the wait.

If you can, please do consider adopting one of our dogs who has been waiting longer. The dog pages are all arranged in chronological order with those at the top having waited the longest. In a world where so many dogs need homes, dogs can become invisible through no fault of their own but it doesn’t mean they deserve a home any less.

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