Adoption Stories

Lyric + Nikira

Lyric 4-year-old pitbull mix. Lyric came into BARCS in February of 2021 as a stray via Baltimore City Animal Control. When she was found, she was covered in fleas and itchy patches of skin. Her belly was hanging low and she was still lactating. The area where she was found was searched but, unfortunately, there were no puppies in sight.

Nikira, who has sickle cell anemia, was recommended by Casey Cares Foundation. Casey Cares Foundation supports kids with chronic illnesses and their families. Nikira and her sister Neveah have always wanted a dog but it was never the right time. Their mom Dominique Ruffin felt this was the right time to adopt Lyric because she could provide comfort to Nikira when she’s in pain as well as provide companionship and love to the whole family. In addition, Dominique felt very supported by the resources the foundation was providing. They took Lyric home on April 5, 2021.

Garrison + Mr. Birckhead

Garrison was an abandoned two-year-old pitbull mix. In late February of 2021, Garrison was found running loose in Baltimore City and brought to BARCS. With no collar or microchip present, there were no leads to his former family.

Mr. Jonathan Birckhead, who is diagnosed with PTSD, was introduced by the Baltimore Station and American Legion. Mr. Birckhead lives with his wife and 19-year-old son in Denton, MD on the Eastershore. He served in the US Navy from 1991 to 1995 and completed a tour in Iraq during Desert Storm. Mr. Birckhead loves animals and has owned dogs in the past. He wanted a dog to provide him with emotional support and be part of the family. He took Garrison home on May 12, 2021.

Parker + Sarah

Parker was adopted to the Gonzales family as a companion dog for their daughters, Sarah (10) and Amanda (8). Amanda was born with Edward’s Syndrome, which is a severe genetic condition that requires constant care. Parker became an essential family member and Sarah’s constant companion. Sadly, Amanda passed away September 25, 2022. Her family has shared how incredibly grateful they are for Parker as he helped comfort them during the most difficult time in their lives.

Ivy + Brittany

Ivy was adopted by Brittany, who is a life coach working with women trying to improve confidence and trust after abusive relationships. She has lived with anxiety and depression herself and is able to help guide and inspire women to thrive after trauma, as she has done herself. Ivy is a comfort to her and Brittany believes Ivy will be able to provide comfort to the women she works with as well. 

Roxy + Betz Family

Roxy was adopted by the Betz family, which includes Mom, Dad and 2 young sons. Dad is a police officer and works with wellness programs for his department. Mom mentors young women in the Naval Academy. They wish for Roxy to become a resource to help with wellness programs in the community and as a support for the Naval Academy recruits. She’s happy to do any of these, but in the meantime loves her brothers, who are her BFFs. 


Ocho, now Milo was adopted by the family of a First Responder who was looking for a companion. He has become a huge part of their entire family, even extended family and provides joy to everyone. He loves going for hikes in the nearby park, playing with his dog friends, cuddling with every member of the family and just making everyone smile. The job of a First Responder is never an easy one, so being able to come home every day to the silly, smiling face of this happy pup is such an incredible gift. That is just how they feel about Milo, he is truly a gift!


Nipsey was adopted by a member of the Baltimore City Fire Department who was in need of an emotional support animal. He has become a comfort and the best snuggle buddy she could imagine.

StanLee + Violet

Bob, now StanLee was adopted by the family of a 10 year old girl in need of an emotional support animal. Violet has been struggling with anxiety and insomnia, made worse by the pandemic. Once they adopted StanLee, she was able to sleep through the night, in her own bed for the first time in years. What’s unique about him is that he is hearing impaired, and this is actually a big reason why he puts Violet more at ease. Since he does not react to every little sound, he is able to relax and sleep more soundly, allowing Violet to do the same.  Her family says adding him to their family has been life changing for all of them.  


Stuart was adopted by the family of a First Responder, who is a Pediatric Respiratory Therapist working primarily with Cystic Fibrosis patients, a role that has become more challenging than ever since the pandemic. Stuart has provided her with much needed companionship, as well as her husband and young daughter. One day they would like for him to also be able to provide comfort to her patients.

Kevin + Alex

Kevin was adopted by the family of Alex, a young teen who has been living with severe anxiety and depression. When the family received recommendation that Alex would benefit from an emotional support dog, they contacted us and Kevin was a perfect match. Kevin provides much needed comfort and companionship to Alex, snuggling when she needs it and helping her sleep through the night. When he’s not by Alex’s side, he is entertaining the rest of their family and extended family as well.

Ellie + the Moss Family

Ellie was adopted by the Moss family as an emotional support animal for their oldest child, Corin, a teen living with horrible anxiety, which worsened after the passing of their senior dog last year. The one constant that they found helped calm and comfort Corin was being around dogs, so they knew they needed to adopt a new dog to fill this void. Ellie has done just that and helps the entire family, but Corin especially.

Nino, Dustin + Taylor

Nino was adopted by Dustin and Taylor, who had been looking for a large breed emotional support dog after their mastiff rescue passed away last December, 2021. Dustin has been serving in the Army for over 17 years and spends a lot of time away from home. He wanted an emotional support animal to be sure Taylor had a trusted companion when he was away, but also a dog that he could spend his down time with when he was home. Taylor is a therapist and social worker who works primarily with at risk youth and post-partum mothers. She found having her dog present during sessions helped everyone relax and feel more at ease. Nino has already stolen everyone’s hearts and will likely be providing comfort to all who meet him.  

Pudge + John

Ducky, now Pudge was adopted by John, a retired Veteran who was looking for a buddy as his senior dog had passed away recently. He visited BARCS on several occasions looking for the perfect match, but was not having any luck. All of his previous dogs had been larger breeds, but now that he has been needing to use a cane, he was looking for a smaller dog. BARCS put him in touch with us and we were able to match him with Pudge. She lights up his days now, keeping him entertained with her bursts of energy and keeping him company when it’s time to relax.

Goose and the Abshagens

Goose was adopted by a family that includes 2 young children and parents that are both firefighters with the Baltimore County Fire Department. Mom was diagnosed with PTSD October, 2022 after an incident at work and found during treatment that being around dogs helped her. They live on a farmette and grew up with dogs, so believed adopting a dog would be beneficial for not just her but the entire family. He’s enjoying life on the “farm” and they are loving the happiness he brings.

Gypsy and Kathie

Gypsy was adopted by Kathie and Brenda as an emotional support dog for Kathie. A back injury left Kathie dependent on a wheelchair for mobility and significantly impacted her physical and emotional well-being. Sweet Gypsy brought joy back into their lives as well as everyone she meets. She loves running errands with them, enjoying riding on Kathie’s lap everywhere they go. She is loved beyond measure and is clearly where she was always meant to be. 

Warren G. Bunk, Angela and Felicia

Warren G. Bunk was adopted by Angela and Felicia, who both fell in love with him immediately after welcoming him into their busy home. They both have demanding, stressful jobs and did not realize the impact having a dog (and a giant one at that!)  could have on them emotionally until Warren paid them a visit. Angela is a trial attorney and Major, Judge Advocate in the Army Reserves. Felicia is Managing Director for a small non-profit that works with students to help address injustice in schools. They fostered Warren and helped nurse him back to health as he had some GI issues when he was first rescued. Unbeknownst to them, he ended up rescuing them right back. They knew he was meant to be with them forever, so they made it official! We knew this big guy with his big heart needed a special forever home and he most certainly found it.

Dave (aka Linus), Alicia and Gene

Dave (aka Linus) was adopted through our partnership with Renee’s Rescues, by Alicia and Gene. Alicia has raised and trained therapy dogs for over a decade. She has a special place in her heart for hounds as there are so many hounds that are discarded when they cannot or will not hunt and in need of rescue. When she met Linus (now named Dave), she knew right away he has that special something you look for in a therapy dog. Dave is now in training to be a therapy dog and once certified, will be making comfort visit to hospitals, family court, Veterans centers and any other place that could use his presence. He already has a big fan club, especially in the local elementary school he has visited. He brings smiles and steals hearts every where he goes and we cannot wait to see what our puppy with a purpose has in store!

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