‘Hugging dogs’ find permanent home

As the news broke this week, Malena Evans was delighted to hear Kala and Keira, affectionally known as the “hugging dogs,” have found a permanent home together.

“I’m thrilled about it,” said Evans, adoption coordinator for the Etowah Valley Humane Society. “I guess, they became very [reliant] on one another, so I’m glad that they’ve been able to find a home together. It just makes it that much better.

“... I love what I do. I’m very glad to have been able to play a part in [this adoption]. ... Etowah Valley [Humane Society] has hit 10,000 lives saved [since 2010], so we’re doing a fabulous thing and we couldn’t do it without the rescues.”

In July, Evans captured a photograph of the two canines embracing at Bartow County Animal Control that quickly became an Internet sensation. The image was taken days before Kala, a hound mix, and Keira, a boxer mix, were scheduled to be euthanized. In its July 24 edition, The Daily Tribune News reported the Alpharetta-based Angels

Among Us Pet Rescue secured a foster home for the playful puppies 2 hours and 6 minutes after sharing the image with its followers.

“I’m the adoption coordinator here, so I went over to [Bartow County Animal Control] to look at the animals that we were going to pull over here to Etowah [Valley Humane Society] to adopt out. I came up to them — actually the little red one, it was a younger, playful dog, so she was just jumping around the kennel and everything,” Evans said, referring to Kala, who is now 11 months. “I was talking to them and letting them know that we were going to get them out of there. The little red one just happened to hop up on the other one’s back and I took the picture.

“The photo was posted on our rescue [Facebook] page, which is Rescue at Etowah Valley Humane. That’s where we post all of the animals that are needing rescue from Bartow Animal Control. So the photo was posted on our page and Angels picked it up from there. ... When I took the photo, I thought it was cute, but no, I never thought it would go as far as it went.”

In the past few months, the “hugging dogs” have experienced an eventful journey, including being diagnosed with and treated for parvovirus. On Oct. 26, Angels Among Us celebrated the latest chapter in their lives on its Facebook page.

According to, “Longtime friends and roommates, Wendy and Pam, have officially adopted the famous hugging dogs, Kala and Keira, from Angels Among Us Pet Rescue. Wendy had recently lost her two elderly dogs when she saw the People [magazine] story and realized the hugging pups were still available. ‘It just fell together,’ Wendy explained. ‘We turned our tears into smiles with these two young, playful dogs.’”

Angels Among Us has rescued more than 9,000 cats and dogs from shelters across Georgia since 2009. For more information about supporting the rescue organization’s efforts or to foster and adopt animals, visit Further details about the Etowah Valley Humane Society can be obtained by calling 770-383-3338 or visiting

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