Meet The 8 Cutest Dogs In L.A.

There are only so many magical moments during a journalist's career when he or she can be on a photo shoot with the most in-demand models, wearing the latest fashions straight from the runway. This was not that shoot. Yet somehow, it was better.

In case you didn't know, today is National Mutts Day, and we're taking it very seriously. So much that we cast eight of L.A.'s cutest mixed-breeds, rescues, and utterly charming former strays for a fashion shoot with doggy designs from our favorite local pet boutiques. Yes, you read that correctly: Get ready for cute dogs wearing collars and clothes straight from L.A.'s coolest pet-accessory designers.

And of course, each set of four legs (and one inseparable doggy duo) comes with a heartwarming story of how they beat the odds and ended up in a loving SoCal home. According to the ASPCA, approximately 3.9 million dogs enter shelters each year in the U.S., and around 1.2 million of those are euthanized. That's about one third.

Need even more proof that adopting is the way to go? Just click through our slideshow for the best seven reasons you've ever seen to pass on the pet store.
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PHOTOGRAPHED BY DEREK WOOD.
Stella's Adoption Story

"I was looking for a dog for about six months, going to the shelters on every single day off, trying to find my dog. The first time I walked by her cage, she was huddled in the corner, super-skinny with long, greasy hair. I walked by a few times and then sat down and started talking to her, hoping she would come over to me. It took about 10 minutes before she slowly crawled, on her belly, towards me, lifted her head, and let me pet her. Then I got the feeling everyone talks about: I had found my dog!

"She was a stray that had just been brought in, so she had a week-long hold on her, but I was the first on the list. She was about six months old, and they don't know how long she was on the streets. She was really skittish for a long time; she peed every time anyone pet her, and I had to learn how to approach her. I named her Chloe, which lasted for three days — it just didn’t stick. When a friend suggested the name Stella, it just worked. She’s the best thing that has ever happened to me. It’s hard to think of a time when she wasn’t a part of my life! She's a miniature schnauzer mixed with something else, maybe poodle, but we're not really sure."

— Brittany, Stella's owner

Rosie Bunny Bean Serape Sherpa Bed, $100, available in-store at Rosie Bunny Bean. Beast and Babe Point Break Collar, $46, available in-store at Healthy Spot.
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PHOTOGRAPHED BY DEREK WOOD.
Stella's Vital Stats

Age: 6 years
Rescued From: The Pasadena Humane Society
My Personality: Loyal, bashful, spunky
Favorite Game: Biting my mom's hand under a blanket
Biggest Vice: Fish treats!
I Love: Going to Lake Hollywood Park with my friends
I Hate: When people touch my "tickle spot"

Beast and Babe Point Break Leash, $96, available in-store at Healthy Spot.
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PHOTOGRAPHED BY DEREK WOOD.
Modeling comes naturally for Stella, clearly.

Dogs of Glamour Coco Ruffle Dog Dress, $59.95, available at D.O.G. Pet Boutique.
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PHOTOGRAPHED BY DEREK WOOD.
Brooklyn’s Adoption Story

"My husband and I had wanted a dog for a while, but it never felt like the right time to do it. But then I heard about No Kill L.A., and we decided just to stop by to see what kind of dogs they had, not thinking we'd actually be coming home with one! We saw two puppies we liked a little. Then, on our way out, we spotted Brooklyn in a gated-off area; she had just gotten fixed and was recovering. She was part of Wags and Walks, an amazing rescue organization. I sat down next to her, and it was instant.

"In the beginning, she had major separation anxiety. She would freak out for hours when we left, but we’ve worked with her and a trainer at Dog Gone Problems, and a few months later she is much better — but she’s still afraid you’re going to leave her and freaks out for about 10 minutes when we leave. She has a serious fear of missing out, especially when you’re in the shower — she just sits there by the sink and waits for you to come out; it’s the cutest thing. The vet thinks she is part spaniel and part chihuahua, with a few other things mixed in, but it’s a mystery. It's been a few months, and we can't imagine our lives without her!”

— Natasha, Brooklyn's co-owner

California Collar Co. Leather Bow-Tie Collar, $40, available at California Collar Co. Jax and Bones Geo Lounge Bed, $119, available in-store at Healthy Spot.
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PHOTOGRAPHED BY DEREK WOOD.
Brooklyn's Vital Stats

Age: 9 months
Rescued From: Wags and Walks
My Personality: Animated, mischievous, mushy
Favorite Game: Barking until you notice me
Pet Peeve: When the humans say "off"
Biggest Vice: Mommy’s flip-flops
I Love: Belly rubs
I Hate:
When it’s not all about me
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PHOTOGRAPHED BY DEREK WOOD.
Brooklyn's day rate is a braided bully stick.
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PHOTOGRAPHED BY DEREK WOOD.
A few props left in Brooklyn's high-energy wake.

Beast and Babe Occasional Ninja Collar, $46, and Leash, $79, available in-store at Healthy Spot. Lincoln Bark Treat Smart All Natural Treats, prices vary, available in-store at Healthy Spot.
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Sam's Adoption Story

"I found Sam on Craigslist in an advertisement for Cocker Spaniel puppies, but when I showed up to the house in East L.A., they were definitely not Cocker Spaniel. It was him and his brother, covered in fleas and shaking. They both had back problems, with front legs that were longer than their back legs, which could be why they were getting rid of them, but I really don’t know. I wanted to take both of them, but I couldn’t; I was still in college and couldn’t have two dogs. To this day, I wonder where his brother is. If I could, I would take that dog in a heartbeat now.

"For the first few months, he was so scared that he hid in the corner of my room, under my bed, so I think his previous owners weren’t very nice to him. To this day, he still likes to sleep under the bed. He had approximately seven names before he was Sam. At first, I named him a few different Hawaiian names, which is where I’m from, but they didn’t fit him. Then he was Samual, then Sammy, then just Sam. Some vets say he’s a poodle mix, some say he’s a Bijon mix, maybe part terrier, but I don’t know. Sam is truly my best friend. He’s changed my life in so many ways, and every single minute that I’m with him makes me a better person."

— Maia, Sam's owner

Penn + Pooch Herringbone/Peach Statement Babe T-Shirt, $26.50, available in-store at Healthy Spot.
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Sam's Vital Stats

Full name:
Samual
Age: 7 years old
Rescued From: A private home via Craigslist
My Personality: Weird, quirky, human-like
Favorite Game: I like to play keep-away with my favorite toy, the reindeer
Pet Peeve: When mom takes me for walks but doesn’t let me play with all the other dogs on the street
Biggest Vice: I’m a sucker for a good bully stick or, even better, a fresh marrow bone!
I Love: The beach! I love swimming in the ocean and running free at Broad Beach in Malibu. But my favorite thing to do is cuddle on the couch.
I Hate: Car rides! They’re the worst

Beast and Babe Point Break Collar, $46, available in-store at Healthy Spot. Rosie Bunny Bean Denim Sherpa Bed, $102, available in-store at Rosie Bunny Bean.
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I'm ready for my close-up!

Beast and Babe Point Break Leash, $96, available in-store at Healthy Spot.
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PHOTOGRAPHED BY DEREK WOOD.
Hank & Harriet's Adoption Story

"Hank and Harriet came into our lives organically and unexpectedly. About four and a half years ago, Jane was in the passenger seat of her friend's car in a parking lot when she spotted a beautiful pit bull running loose without a collar or owner. Her friend pulled up next to the pup, and he leapt through the window into Jane's lap, stared at her for a minute, and began licking her face. After a week spent looking for his owner, [we] decided to keep him. Six months later, one of our friends discovered Harriet running down the street on Melrose and took her with him out to a bar. He couldn't keep her and knew that we loved dogs, so he asked if we wanted to bring her home. She was so tiny and adorable, how could we resist? That night, she came home with us. And the next morning, we woke up to find her snuggled up with Hank. The rest is history..."

— Jane and Rick, Hank and Harriet's owners

Rosie Bunny Bean Serape Fleece Blanket, $88, available in-store at Rosie Bunny Bean. On Hank: California Collar Co. Buckled Martingale Collar, $55.00, available at California Collar Co. On Harriet: California Collar Co. Spikes Leather Collar, $48, available at California Collar Co.
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PHOTOGRAPHED BY DEREK WOOD.
Hank's Vital Stats

Age: Unknown
Rescued From: A parking lot
My Personality: Gentle, loyal, hyper-alert
Favorite Game: Climbing trees in search of phantom squirrels
Pet Peeve: Cats!
Biggest Vice: The rogue chicken bones that are all over the streets in downtown Los Angeles
I Love: My sister, Harriet, smoked salmon (all meat, really), climbing trees (especially palm trees), peeing on everything (even my own leg, or Harriet sometimes), lounging hard, running laps in the backyard, barking at things that aren't really there, cruising the streets with my family, and ice cubes
I Hate: Cats, fireworks, thunder, fire alarms, and when my parents try to clean my butt
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PHOTOGRAPHED BY DEREK WOOD.
Harriet's Vital Stats

Age: Unknown
Rescued From: The street
My Personality: Tough, frisky, co-dependent
Favorite Games: Begging for food, or sometimes even for inedible objects that I think are food. Barking at someone to put me on the bed with Hank and then hiding under the bed when they walk over to put me on it, and inventing new cuddling positions with Hank
Pet Peeve: Birds
Biggest Vice: Eating whatever falls on the floor, chewing paper towels and Q-Tips
I Love: Exploring with Hank, cuddling with Hank, being fed people food, being scratched, being carried, howling with fire trucks, and being spoiled
I Hate: Sitting on the floor, bodies of water, when it rains, being ignored, and long walks
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PHOTOGRAPHED BY DEREK WOOD.
Already missing Hank and Harriet? Don't fret: The duo has an Instagram.
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PHOTOGRAPHED BY DEREK WOOD.
Spuds' Adoption Story

"I had been thinking about getting a dog, kind of, but I wasn’t really serious about it. I had some meetings in Santa Monica one day and decided to go to the shelter to look afterwards. There weren’t that many dogs that day; then I saw this little dude. I wasn’t looking for a small dog, but for some reason it just felt right. Most of the dogs seemed pretty out of control, and he was so chill. It was instant, kind of like you don’t know what you want until you see it.

"The previous owner surrendered him, saying that he didn’t listen to commands and attacked small children, which is insane. He is the most relaxed dog in the world. The people at the shelter said that he had been there for five months and not one person had looked at him until the week I got him, and I was the fifth person to ask about him, which is so bizarre. He’s a big cuddler and loves to sleep right between my legs for some reason. His name was Sonny, but it didn’t fit him, so I named him Spuds, after the '80s Bud Light dog, plus he kind of looks like a potato."

— Squid, Spuds' owner

Healthy Spot and Penn+Pooch Mantis/Hunter Green/Grey Emerson Hoodie, $42.50, available in-store at Healthy Spot.
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PHOTOGRAPHED BY DEREK WOOD.
Spuds' Vital Stats

Full Name: Spuds MacKenzie
Age: Around 2 years
Rescued From: The Santa Monica Animal Shelter
My Personality: Chill, happy, just one of the bros
Favorite Game: I like the "bite your finger gently and repeatedly" game the best
Biggest Vice: Getting into my human's gummy bears
I Love: Begging for a taste of your food, especially pizza
I Hate: Weird-smelling people

Jax and Bones
Sierra Fire Napper Bed, $99, available in-store at Healthy Spot.
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PHOTOGRAPHED BY DEREK WOOD.
Modeling is such hard work.
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PHOTOGRAPHED BY DEREK WOOD.
Who wants to go on a w-a-l-k?

From left to right: Beast and Babe Magic Lamp Leash, $103; Point Break Leash, $72; and Occasional Ninja Leash, $79, all available in-store at Healthy Spot.
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PHOTOGRAPHED BY DEREK WOOD.
Blue's Adoption Story

“Poor Blue had a very tumultuous start to life. We occasionally dog-sit and got a call late one night from a man who was desperate for me to watch his dog, saying that he’d been kicked out of his apartment and had nowhere to take him. I agreed to watch Blue for a few days while he was trying to get his life back in order. However, after a few weeks, it became clear that he may not return for Blue. Which we all felt might be the best thing for everyone involved because we wanted to adopt him! It turns out that his previous owner was in some trouble with the law. At this point, poor Blue was a ball of pent-up energy, which made him a handful to deal with at first. He was not house-trained, thought biting us was a fun game, was destructive, and pretty much all around a crazy little maniac!

"The first few days were very tough, to say the least. I had cuts all over my hands; he was destroying my clothes with his insatiable desire to bite and tear at us. But once we got Blue into a routine with lots and lots of exercise, things started to change dramatically. As soon as that pent-up energy was taken care of, this incredible little genius of a puppy started to emerge. He is eager to please and loves interacting with his humans as much as possible, so that makes him a dream to train and work with. He has so many little facial expressions, and the way he just looks at you sometimes is so ridiculously adorable that my heart is constantly melting around him.”

— Linda & Alan, Blue's owners

Kenna Dakota Collar in Camel with Gold, $52, available in-store at Healthy Spot.
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PHOTOGRAPHED BY DEREK WOOD.
Blue's Vital Stats

Full Name:
Rebel Blue
Age: 2 years
Rescued From: His previous owner
My Personality: Loyal, inquisitive, and enthusiastic...about everything!
Favorite Game: My absolute favorite game is the one that I actually invented myself called "chase me"
Biggest Vice: Plastic bottles! There is just something about the way they crunch and the noise they make that I can't resist
I Love: All humans, especially my humans; ripping the squeaker and all the stuffing out of new toys; and sticking my head into doors, bags, suitcases — anything that it'll fit in!
I Hate: When my humans forget to take me with them when they leave the house
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PHOTOGRAPHED BY DEREK WOOD.
Did someone say treat?
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PHOTOGRAPHED BY DEREK WOOD.
Don't worry, we gave him one for the ride home.
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PHOTOGRAPHED BY DEREK WOOD.
A few leather and studded collars on set.

Top: California Collar Co. 5/8" Diego Leather Collar in Black, $60, available at California Collar Co. Right: California Collar Co. 1" Artemis Leather Dog Collar, $74, available at California Collar Co. Left: California Collar Co. 5/8" Diego Leather Collar in Brown, $60, available at California Collar Co.
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PHOTOGRAPHED BY DEREK WOOD.
Xander's Adoption Story

“I was having a bad day and wanted to pet some puppies — because that’s what we all do when we’re upset, right? — so I walked over to my neighborhood rescue with my roommate, just for fun. She has a dog and was very supportive of me getting one, but I didn’t think I would actually end up adopting one. Alexander was the second one they brought out to play, and I immediately liked him. The rescue, called Spot, makes you do an application, so I filled it out (again, just for fun). But then I found myself going back every day to see him, and then they approved me! I took him home and shortened his name to just Xander.

"The first four months were miserable. He had a lot of separation anxiety; he would bark and cry for hours after I left the house, but we got through it and now he's much better. What I love about our story is that he was already an adult, so he was already housebroken and walked on a leash. I didn’t have to deal with any of the puppy stuff.

"Years later, I met a woman who had worked at Spot, and she remembered Xander. I learned that Spot rescued him from the Downey animal shelter; they brought a van and took all the dogs that were going to be euthanized that day. He was only one or two when they saved him, and they had him for four months before I adopted him. I’m very grateful for them, because I can’t imagine my life without him.”

— Marisa, Xander's owner

Dogs of Glamour Diamond Repeat Hoodie, $54.95, available at D.O.G. Pet Boutique.
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PHOTOGRAPHED BY DEREK WOOD.
Xander's Vital Stats

Age:
Around 4 years
Full Name: Alexander
My Personality: Energetic, adventurous, brave
Favorite Game: Playing fetch with my mom
Pet Peeve: People who refuse to share their food
Biggest Vice: Rolling around in that weird-smelling spot on the grass
I Love: Chasing squirrels, belly rubs, and hellos
I Hate: Brooms, baths, and goodbyes

Kenna Black with Neon-Green Painted Edge Collar, $52, available in-store at Healthy Spot.
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PHOTOGRAPHED BY DEREK WOOD.
Xander broke his Blue Steel pose for one last shot.

Kenna Black with Neon-Green Painted Edge Leash, $76, available in-store at Healthy Spot.
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