They're also somewhat hopeless.
PSPCA spokeswoman Wendy Marano and PAWS executive director Melissa Levy say that the dogs and cats chosen for these brief media close-ups are often the hardest to adopt out because they're in poor health, untrained, under-socialized or just unlucky. "Sometimes, for whatever reason, wonderful pets just keep getting passed over and passed over," said Levy.
We got to wondering recently what's happened to some of the aspiring pets who've appeared on our pages over the years. We tracked down seven former "Pet of the Week" pooches who've gone from homeless to housed, lonely to loved, hopeless to happy, thanks to those who took them in and made them family. Here are their stories.
Rescued: Stray, about 8 years old.
Before: "Really good but really thin," said papa Charlie Pasquale, who brought sons Chase, 4, and Gavin, 8, to the shelter to meet her.
Attraction: "She just looked cute, and that was it," said Pasquale.
Now: Lives on an acre-and-a-half on the Main Line.
Pastimes: "Hanging out with the cat, DJ, and laying directly in the sunlight."
Pet philosophy: "There are so many dogs out there, so many dogs at the shelter - there's no need to go out and buy a dog. I like the way older dogs behave a little better, and nobody wants them."
Rescued: Found on the street on New Year's Eve, this English bulldog pit-mix had just given birth to a litter.
Before: "Just a terrified little girl," remembered Levy of PAWS.
Attraction: "She was such a sweetheart," said Kathleen Sweeney, who, with then-boyfriend, now fiancé Tyler Haskins, met Ellie Mae at the shelter. "She came right up to us and wanted to play ball."
Now: Lives with the happy couple in Conshohocken.
Pastimes: "Ellie Belly" would play fetch with tennis balls "until she dropped dead," said Sweeney. "She's addicted to it." Sweeney added, "She was once scared to walk down the street. Now her head's held high and tail is wagging."
Lesson learned: "I'd forgotten how nice it was to have a cool dog. She really makes us happy when we come home."
Rescued: Not sure.
Before: Named Chelsea by the shelter, this Staffordshire terrier became Karma when Courtney Golden saw her at PAWS in Old City and fell in love.
Attraction: "She was the most beautiful dog I'd ever seen," said Golden.
Now: Goes for walks in Point Breeze, where, one day, she nosed out a bucket of eight abandoned pit-bull puppies, one of whom is now her little brother, Deebo.
Pastimes: Golden, a dog groomer, loves to dye Karma's paws, paint her nails and adorn her white chest with cheetah spots.
Naughty bits: Karma is so good at breaking into the fridge to gobble up leftover pizza and hot wings that Golden has childproofed the kitchen.
Rescued: Surrendered by owners who couldn't afford to take care of her anymore.
Before: "Her papers said she was a Lab-hound, but she's got pittie eyes," said owner Dennis Boyle.
Attraction: "She came up to me and was just the sweetest thing. She put her little nose on my lap."
Now: Boyle, a Philly native, had to work hard to persuade PAWS to let him take Bella home to Vermont, where he and his family have lived since 1987.
Pastimes: Goes with Dennis and his wife, Pat, and big-brother-dog Dempsey on mountain-bike rides, hikes and backcountry skiing.
Part-time job: Unofficial mascot of the Mount Mansfield ski patrol in Stowe, Vt.
Rescued: Not sure, but she spent nine months at PAWS before becoming Melisa Wolfson's foster, then official, dog.
Before: "When I got her, she was about 60 pounds, very malnourished. But she knew 'sit,' 'paw' and 'down' - so many good things. You could tell she hated living in a little box," said Wolfson, a kindergarten teacher.
Attraction: "I had a pit before . . . I kind of have a soft spot in my heart for them."
Now: Lives life on Main Street in Manayunk and summers in Margate, N.J.
Pastimes: "She loves the beach. I was really concerned because she was a pit bull, but she is the sweetest thing at the dog park and the dog beach."
Big problem: "It kills me to see any dog in a shelter, and Sophie is a bigger size, and I know it's harder to get them placed, especially when they're pits."
Rescued: Surrendered by an owner who had to move.
Before: Had cruciate (knee) surgery, needed to be housebroken.
Attraction: "His picture. We were done. Love at first sight," said Jen Schubert, a freelance equestrian.
Now: Lives in Royersford with Schubert, boyfriend Erik Olm, Hunter the beagle, and Pilot the horse.
Pastimes: Dog park, fetch and hanging out with Pilot.
Happiness is: Schubert said, "He's a bundle of energy, a clown, and he makes us laugh every day."
Rescued: Wound up at Animal Control as a puppy, after reportedly biting a child.
Before: Had fleas and puppy mites, wasn't housebroken and had, according to new mom André Vermeulen, "extremely nervous energy, an insecurity about her environment."
Attraction: "Daisy is a cuddler," said Vermeulen, a pianist. "From day one, she'd look at you with these eyes, and if you did not make your lap available, she would start crying. I was shocked [at her behavior] for a shelter dog. I didn't think that would be something she would want."
Now: Lives in Voorhees, N.J., where she's worn a path running back and forth in her fenced-in yard.
Pastimes: Runs a couple of miles a day. Occupies laps.
Adoption option: Said Vermeulen: "There are too many dogs in the rescue centers, just perfect dogs that have a couple of bad habits."
Contact Lauren McCutcheon at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-854-5991. Follow her on Twitter @LaMcCutch.