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The Specials: Adopting A One Of A Kind Dog

A few weeks ago I was scrolling through Facebook in search of cute furry animals while trying my best to avoid the sad stories that usually fill my feed. I was on my way home. My train was delayed for the second day in a row; I was tired, frustrated, and more than a little hangry.

But then I found Cletus.

The story of Cletus, the one of a kind dog, with fused joints and a shuffle adopted from Best Friends Animal Society

Because one of a kind dogs are awesome

Cletus is a tiny dog with a crooked nose, massive overbite (big smile) with deep brown eyes as wide as saucers. Several of the joints in his legs are fused, which makes him kind of shuffle. Originally a stray, Cletus was brought to Best Friends Pet Adoption/Spay Neuter Center in Los Angeles from the city shelter. He arrived with multiple health issues including a serious respiratory infection. A dose of antibiotics cleared up his infection, but nothing could be done about his joints. Little Cletus doesn’t know (or care) that he is different. He is all spirit and spunk – a true one-of-a-kind dog!

Between his fancy footwork and charming personality, I was hooked. He also seemed to have a fondness for doggie sweaters (I love a well-dressed dog). I imagined he might make a wonderful companion for our own one-of-a-kind, fashion forward dog, Ruby! I immediately began to plan how I would convince my husband to make room for one more. But before I could begin my pitch (the following morning when he was still groggy and wouldn’t fully understand what I was suggesting), I learned that Cletus had been adopted.

One of a kind dog Cletus with fused joints adopted from Best Friends and his new adopters
Photos used with permission of Lori Fusaro and Best Friends Animal Society

Adopting a one of a kind dog

Mark and Summer had been searching for the perfect dog. And when Summer saw Cletus on Instagram, she felt he might be the one. Later that day Mark visited Cletus at Best Friends Adoption Center in Los Angeles. Although Cletus was shy at first, he soon shuffled over, tail wagging, and climbed into Mark’s lap. Cletus was indeed the one!

Cletus loves his new home! Mark and Summer take him on regular outings to build his confidence and increase the strength in his legs. They report that he is quite the athlete and enjoys sprinting and leaping in the air at the dog park. His fashion sense has also continued and he now even has his very own giraffe costume!

Cletus, the one of a kind dog, was rescued and adopted from Best Friends and why you should adopt a one of a kind dog today
Photos used with permission of Lori Fusaro and Best Friends Animal Society

Best Friends, where differences are celebrated

Special needs dogs and cats are among my favorites and I am delighted Cletus found such a perfect home! I have always been a fan of the underdog and attracted to those who others ignore or dismiss. Differences make life more interesting and dogs and cats extra special. All of my pets have been rescues, many of them special needs. Like Cletus, they have all been beautifully imperfect in their own unique ways, and for that I’m eternally grateful.

Best Friends is a magical place where one-of-a-kind animals are celebrated and given the second (or sometimes third or fourth) chances they deserve. I was fortunate to visit the sanctuary last summer and witness their unwavering dedication, compassion, and commitment to all animals, especially differently-abled and those with special needs. My time at Best Friends was both humbling and inspiring and truly changed the way I see the world.

Cletus the one of a kind dog was adopted from Best Friends and why you should adopt a one of a kind dog today
Photos used with permission of Lori Fusaro and Best Friends Animal Society

Sadly dogs like Cletus are often euthanized. Shelters are filled with dogs and cats waiting for someone to see beyond their gray whiskers, special needs, and bruised hearts. Some of these animals have known loving homes but many others have not. They have much to share and when given a second chance, their gratitude and love is immense.

Please do not adopt an animal if you are unable or unwilling to provide a lifetime of loving and compassionate care. If you are ready for adoption, please consider fostering or adopting a one-of-a- kind pet with special needs because second chances are amazing whether you are on the giving or receiving side.

All photos in this post are used with permission of Lori Fusaro and Best Friends Animal Society. If you would like to learn more about the life-saving work of Best Friends, please visit their website and follow them on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. If you want to learn more about my visit to Best Friends, check out my posts on the cats of Quincy House and the dogs of Fairway House.

Cletus is part of The Specials, an award-winning blog series focusing on special needs pet adoption. Senior pets, those with chronic medical issues, behavioral or temperament concerns as well as overlooked or misunderstood breeds like Pit Bulls and black cats. If not, for the courage and compassion of their adopters, many of these animals might have been euthanized in shelters or died alone and hungry on the streets. You can read more special needs adoption posts here.


  1. Mark Muller
    February 20, 2017 / 6:19 am

    I wish Cletus and all this special dogs are wonderful life and a loving home… it often happens that people call them ugly… but NO dog is ugly… and people with a good heart never see anything ungly… Hugs to this cute pup…

  2. Bella Roxy & Macdui
    February 20, 2017 / 8:01 am

    We hope he finds a wonderful home.

  3. Molly and Mackie
    February 20, 2017 / 9:50 am

    We are so very happy for Cletus! Bless Mark and Summer for loving him♥

  4. Sketching with Dogs
    February 20, 2017 / 11:10 am

    Cletus is SO adorable! It's lovely that people would want to adopt such a deserving little dog. Lynne x

  5. Julie
    February 20, 2017 / 11:29 am

    He IS sooooo cute!!!!Loves and licky kissesPrincess Leah xxx

  6. Madi and Mom
    February 20, 2017 / 11:51 am

    Cletus is adorable. What beautiful soulful eyes too and pretty color of furHugs Madi and Mom!!PS Keep us posted on your search for a new friend for Ruby..

  7. Marg
    February 20, 2017 / 1:03 pm

    We think Cletus is just so cute. We are so thrilled that he got adopted by such good sounding people. These stories always have a good ending. You all have a wonderful day..

  8. Millie and Walter
    February 20, 2017 / 2:43 pm

    We're glad to hear Cletus has a happy home. He sure is a special one.

  9. The Menagerie Mom
    February 20, 2017 / 3:06 pm

    Oh, what a beautiful piece you have written here. Cletus is nothing short of beautiful. I wish more people were like you and realized that different or one-of-a-kind is not synonymous with imperfect or unadoptable. I am so happy that Cletus got a happy ending, because he more than deserves it. And of course thank you for sharing yet another beautiful story with us!

  10. Cathy Armato
    February 20, 2017 / 4:10 pm

    What a great post! I love little Cletus, what an absolute sweetheart. I'm so glad he found a loving home. Now you can start looking for another one to save…Love & Biscuits,Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

  11. Three Chatty Cats
    February 20, 2017 / 5:35 pm

    Cletus is such a lucky little fella to be adopted by Mark and Summer! I love that Best Friends pulls these harder-to-adopt pets from shelters. I was fortunate enough to tour BF in LA this month and it is an amazing place. While I blog about cats, we also have a rescue dog. And seeing all of the dogs in the kennels with pleading eyes…so heartbreaking. But they are the lucky ones that BF has already helped. Thank you for your awesome series!

  12. stellaroselong
    February 20, 2017 / 5:42 pm

    Yay yayayayyayaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaty what a great ending. stella rose

  13. Dory and the Mama
    February 20, 2017 / 6:11 pm

    We just loved reading Cletus's story, what a wonderful pup with a special personality…we are so happy he found his furr-ever family!

  14. Idaho PugRanch
    February 20, 2017 / 6:39 pm

    Oh we are so happy for Cletus! A very special story!hugsMr Bailey, Hazel & Mabel

  15. Brian
    February 20, 2017 / 6:49 pm

    He looks like a wonderfully special guy to me, way to go Cletus!!!

  16. Sully
    February 20, 2017 / 7:20 pm

    Aww Cletus has the face that only a mother could love. Yay for Mark and Summer for loving his little face.Aroo to you,Sully

  17. M. K. Clinton
    February 20, 2017 / 8:27 pm

    Cletus is such a lucky pup! I hope he enjoys a happily ever after. ♥

  18. Wyatt
    February 20, 2017 / 9:14 pm

    That is really wonderful. Best wishes to Cletus and his new family!

  19. Foley Monster, Pocket and River Song
    February 20, 2017 / 9:32 pm

    Bless Cletus' wonderful parents. I am sure he is a very special dog and is filling their lives with love.

  20. Bouncing Bertie
    February 20, 2017 / 9:35 pm

    So moving to read about Cletus. How wonderful that he can enjoy a new lease of life in such a loving home. Thank you for sharing his story.

  21. Hailey and Zaphod and their Lady
    February 20, 2017 / 10:50 pm

    He is so sweet! Thanks for sharing his story.

  22. pilch92 15andmeowing
    February 21, 2017 / 2:37 am

    I am glad he got his forever home, he looks like a sweetie.

  23. KB Bear
    February 21, 2017 / 2:38 am

    What a wonderful story. His eyes stole my heart.

  24. The Island Cats
    February 21, 2017 / 2:46 am

    We're so glad Marc and Summer gave Cletus a loving home.

  25. meowmeowmans
    February 21, 2017 / 4:12 am

    Cletus is adorable and super special. We are so happy he found a loving forever home with Mark and Summer!

  26. Jeanne Pursell
    February 21, 2017 / 4:59 am

    We are thrilled that Cletus has found his furever home! Kudos to his new adoptive parents!!

  27. Janet Keefe
    February 23, 2017 / 11:23 pm

    Best Friends is the best! We're so glad Cletus was found by them, and ultimately went to his happy home (even though it wasn't yours!). He is so cute….I bet he looks adorable doing his little shuffle!Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

  28. Denise Gruzensky
    March 9, 2017 / 5:00 am

    I love Cletus! With Best Friends LA being so close, as I was reading, I started thinking about what I could do to add him to our pack. Then I read you were doing the same, then that he was adopted. Yay!

  29. Kat
    June 30, 2017 / 7:38 am

    Oh what a heartwarming story! Cletus you are the best

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