Kayla Filoon spends a lot of time with homeless dogs. The 20-year-old student volunteered as a dog walker at ACCT Philly, an animal shelter in Philadelphia. When Filoon met Russ, a quiet, 4-year-old pit bull, she knew there was something special about him.
“He came in as a stray, and he was really beat up,” Filoon said. “He was missing fur on his tail and ears. He was also terribly skinny. They told me he was about 40 pounds when he came into the shelter.”
Despite Russ’ rough appearance, Filoon recognized what a delightful dog he was. “He was just sitting there calmly, staring at me,” Filoon said. “And I thought, he is adorable! I need to take him now.”
Filoon came back later to check on Russ and the dog had barely moved. “He was sitting in the same position that he was before, just being quiet while the other dogs were barking and causing commotion,” Filoon said.
She took Russ on a 45 minute walk, but it only took about five minutes for her to fall in love with him. “He was really cuddly with me, even when we went into the yard,” Filoon said. “He seemed like such a sweet dog, and he didn’t bark at any of the other dogs.”
She quickly found out that Russ knew basic commands like sit, down and stay, which made her think he used to belong to someone. After the walk, Filoon reluctantly put Russ back into his kennel. Then called her mom.
“I told her, ‘I think I need to adopt a dog tomorrow,'” Filoon said. “My mom thought I was kidding, because I always fall in love with the dogs that I take out — it’s hard not to. So she didn’t really believe me, but there was something about Russ.”
The situation was urgent to Filoon since the shelter was overcrowded at the time, and it had recently euthanized about 15 dogs, according to Filoon.
“Any dog had a chance of being put down, especially the ones who were sicker, and Russ was definitely one of them,” Filoon said. “He had kennel cough.”
Filoon had class the next day, but as soon as she finished, she rushed back to the shelter. This time, she decided to take Russ for a car ride.
“He just sat in my passenger seat,” she said. “I thought, ‘He’s the perfect dog.'”
When they returned to the shelter later that afternoon, Filoon knew she was going to take him home. She quickly organized his adoption papers.
“I took him home that night,” Filoon said.