Diamonds in the Ruff

Finding loving homes for our overlooked dogs and cats 


Meet Rio


About Rio

This little cotton ball had a lovely start to life, no worries in the world. Sadly, this all got turned around in February of 2017. Rio's family was caught in a horrible fire. Everyone survived, but they needed skin grafts on their legs and little Rio had a bad habit of jumping and scratching that would do nothing but hinder their healing. They tried for over a year to make it work, but it was too much. In June of 2019, Rio's family was forced to make the necessary decision that would break their hearts; surrender their little Rio.

After all that's happened, it's no surprise Rio has developed some anxieties. He was adopted out quickly, as you would expect of a sweet little Maltese. In his home, we learned how these experiences have changed him. Once he felt a home was his, he thought it was his job to be in charge and keep everyone safe and in line. This meant scaring away visitors and even what he believes was deserved discipline of his humans. He would become very upset if he was left alone too, following his family around the house wherever they went. He was very sweet, loving, cuddly, playful, got along fine with their other dog, but the family could not handle his territorial behaviors, especially when they were directed at them.

We now know so much more about what Rio needs in a home. Firstly, due to his territorial tendencies he will need an adult only home. His family will ideally have little to no visitors. If there are visitors, he will need a quiet and enclosed area away from them where he feels safe and secure. He loves to play with little squeaky toys and snuggle, but isn't an active dog at all. He's been fine around other dogs both at the shelter and in previous homes, but we do not have a history of him with cats. He prefers to do his potty business outside, but isn't opposed to going inside, so he'd do best getting a potty break every few hours or so.

So many people will look at small dogs like toys, especially a little fluffy one like Rio. He needs a family who will take him seriously. A family with experience with territorial dogs who both guard their family and guard what they believe is theirs from their family. While small, Rio is a dog who's had a huge shake up in his life and for years things have kept changing and changing. He needs stability, which would be best found in a family with a strong routine and the confidence to set and maintain rules.

Rio is a 6 year Maltese and weighs 11lbs., but is currently overweight.


Why a Diamond?

Rio's adoption requirements cannot be budged on as he has already been through too many homes,

this is because he has bitten both strangers and even his loved ones, which is why Rio is a Diamond in the Ruff.

How to Adopt

We ask all prospective adopters to speak with a staff member and meet Rio in person at our facility prior to filling out an application. Visitors are welcome to our shelter any time during business hours, no appointment needed. You can find our location and hours here. Applications are available to be filled out in person at our front desk. Our general adoption policies can be found on our page here


The ideal home described below is based on the knowledge of Buddy Dog’s staff. This list reflects what Buddy Dog staff and believe will be necessary for Rio to succeed and be happy in an adoptive home.


Adopter Requirements

  • Rio needs an adult only (18+) home because of his bite history.

  • Rio's family will need to have experience with territorial dogs, or be willing to do research and educate themselves so that they are prepared to work with his issues.

  • Rio will need to be restrained from visitors, especially children. This can be done by leashing him and keeping visitors away from him, crating him in your company, or keeping him in a separate room (he will be upset that he cannot be with you, so this should be short term).

  • Rio cannot be alone more two hours a day, as he becomes very anxious when alone.

  • Rio's must live in a single-family home due to barking from separation anxiety Rio would not do well in an apartment style home.

  • Rio must be brushed at least once a week, and bathed at least once every three weeks. He will also need to see a professional groomer regularly to trim his hair.

  • As with all of our adoptions, Rio must be adopted by someone who is a Massachusetts resident and at least 21 years old.


  • Rio is fine living with other animals, but it has not improved his separation anxiety.

  • While Rio continues towards a healthier weight, his family should keep him on a weight management diet and limit his treats.

  • Despite Rio's behavioral issues in a home, he is usually sweet and calm at the shelter. This should not be the behavior the family expects in the home.

  • Rio may need to be muzzled for vet and grooming visits.

  • Rio has an overbite, which is why his tongue is almost always sticking out. This could lead to dental problems down the road.

  • Rio is not fully housebroken, so his new family must be okay with him having occasional accidents while he continues to learn.




Contact Us

If you are interested in learning more about Rio; contact a staff member by emailing or leaving a voicemail at 978-443-6990. Visitors are welcome at our facility any time during business hours, no appointment needed. 

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