Landfill Dogs

For those that know me – know that I am obsessed with my dog Chumley. Like more than obsessed.

He was a horrible, mischievous, rotten puppy when we got him,but when you saw this face, how could you not melt? He has since grown up to be a quasi-normal dog.


We found Chumley on Petfinder almost 4 years ago. Originally Luke and I wanted to get a dog from a breeder because we wanted a puppy but no breeder would call us back; so we decided to adopt. We found this little black lab/mastiff puppy named Chipper online and drove up to Tahoe to get him. He and his litter mates were dropped off at the shelter, along with his mother because their owner could not take care of them anymore.

If I could save all wayward animals I would – growing up we would find turtles on the side of the road and bring them home, we had a pet pelican at one time that we saved – we even had two donkeys that came to live with us after they were saved from becoming dog food.  I blame my family for this – I come from a serious animal family.

I pulled the same move on Luke a couple years ago -I met Kandu at the dog “hotel” Chumley stays at when we go out-of-town. Kandu is deaf and has a deformed front leg and might just be the cutest dog ever. Kandu was on a shelter’s death row in Louisiana. No one wanted him but the shelter staff saw what an amazing dog he was, so they pooled their personal money together and bought him a one-way ticket to San Francisco knowing that he would find a good home with the hippies of Northern California. Once I found this out, I was determined that we needed to save him. How could you not! Well we took him home to live with us and boy 2 dogs in a small apartment was a lot of dog. Our landlord finally saved us from ourselves and said that we could not keep him. We were broken-hearted but it was the right thing to do. But all was not lost on Kandu, he was adopted by the family who owns the pet hotel and now he lives next door (I actually saw him yesterday!)


All of this is to say is that I am a total softy when it comes to animals that need homes. So when I saw these images from the Landfill Dog series, I knew that I had to share them on here. If I could I would save every one of those dogs and they could come live with me. The photographer , Shannon Johnstone does an amazing job capturing these dog’s personalities and showing them in such a positive light, not just as shelter dogs. She also takes their pictures in landfills which just about breaks my heart thinking that in some way these dogs may be headed there if not adopted.

Landfill dogs

Landfill Dogs

Landfill Dogs Landfill Dogs

Landfill Dogs

Landfill Dogs


Landfill Dogs

Johnstone is an animal shelter activist -check out her site for some of her other work but be warned there are some pretty graphic pictures of shelter animals, so enter only if you want to have a full on breakdown like I just did. On the Landfill Dogs Facebook page, Johnstone divides up her photos into three albums – Never Found a Home, Landfill Dogs Who are Still Looking for Homes, and Landfill Dogs Who Have Recently Found Homes.

What do you think, maybe you should adopt one of these dogs?!? They would be the perfect Christmas gift!

{All images of Landfill Dogs via Shannon Johnstone’s Facebook site and website}


  1. Donna A says

    When I win the lottery I’m buying a huge grassy valley with lots of trees and a river and we will adopt all the landfill dogs and give them a home where they can roam.

  2. Gail says

    Awwww! So cute. Reminds me of the abandoned pit bull I had who was the sweetest dog !
    Named him Brad (Pit) – looked mean but he was gentle and a terrific dog.
    Wish I could take them all – healing for the soul!!!

  3. says

    Thank you for opening your heart and your home and your pocketbook to rescues!! Thanks also to your family for encouraging your love of animals. As someone who is a volunteer and a current Board member of Big Dog Ranch Rescue, we know the value that each of these special dogs and puppies can bring to a family. On our website, we have a video that shows a young boy who came to adopt a puppy…. (see 2:43) well, it just shows you that some things are meant to be. Chumley is a prime example too.

    The business of rescue is costly, emotionally and financially. It is so hard to walk in knowing you will save some but not be able to save them all. Tears are always shed, of joy for the ones you walk out with and of grief, for the ones you did not knowing that they did not deserve their fate. Adopt, don’t shop.

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