Top 10 Adoption Success Stories of 2023
As 2023 comes to a close, Best Friends Animal Society, a leading animal welfare organization working to end the killing of cats and dogs in America’s shelters by 2025, is celebrating some of the most remarkable adoptions that took place over the past year. According to Best Friends most recent data, the number of no-kill shelters is at an all-time high at 57%.
After a difficult year for animal welfare, success stories like the below showcase how when people adopt pets, they become part of the solution to help take the country no-kill. These stories remind us that with love, care, and a bit of courage, every challenge can be turned into a beautiful victory.
Read on for adoption stories from Best Friends pet Lifesaving Centers across the country, Best Friends embed projects, and Best Friends Animal Society’s Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah – the largest no-kill companion animal sanctuary in the United States.
Amethyst – Alumni from Best Friends Pet Adoption Center in Los Angeles
Amethyst's life began with daunting challenges – she was the sole survivor of her litter, battling and overcoming Panleukopenia. At just a week old, she came to Best Friends in LA from West Valley Shelter. There, she was diagnosed with Cerebellar Hypoplasia, but that didn’t stop her – soon she began showing her boundless appetite, not just for food, but for life. Her disability didn't dampen her spirit. Since then, she's mastered navigating non-carpeted surfaces and conquered stairs.
Amethyst's happily ever after came at Best Friends Super Adoption event in November, where she found her new family who saw her not for her challenges, but for her triumphant spirit and loving heart.
Neo – Alumni from the Best Friends Pet Resource Center in Northwest Arkansas
Back in 2022, Neo was confiscated by city police when they were tipped off that he was being badly abused in his original home. He then spent over 400 days in a shelter in North Little Rock, Arkansas, waiting for his case to be taken up by the court.
Though Neo was injured, fearful, and understandably defensive, the shelter staff showered him with love and attention throughout his stay, which helped him overcome his fear of people and open up to affection. When the shelter finally got the okay to release custody of Neo this past July, the shelter director contacted the recently opened Best Friends Pet Resource Center in Northwest Arkansas to see if they could bring him into their program.
Neo came to the Pet Resource Center in Bentonville on his 468th day at the shelter. After some time with a loving and patient foster family, Neo found an adoptive home with a family who understood his past and is happy to work with his needs.
When he went to his new home in August, he was accompanied by a card, made and signed by the staff at his original shelter, which hung on his kennel throughout his stay. The card let every visitor know that whatever Neo had been through, there he was loved.
Mort - Long stay dog from Best Friends’ Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah
Mort came to Best Friends’ Sanctuary in June of 2021 after his owner passed away. Mort had been living alone in his home in a nearby rural area. Once he was found, no one was able to approach Mort, because he was understandably nervous and defensive. After arriving at the sanctuary, Mort began to build his trust with humans. Although Mort preferred not to live with other dogs, the sanctuary staff made other arrangements where he was able to blossom and began regularly going for walks with volunteers, wearing sweaters when he was cold, and experiencing car rides and outings for the first time.
After over two years at the sanctuary, Mort won the hearts of his future adopters. They dedicated time to build a relationship and visited him on a regular basis. After 806 days at Best Friends’ Sanctuary, Mort was adopted on September 9, 2023 and he's thriving in his new home.
Bing – Hearing Impaired Canine Alumni from Best Friends Pet Lifesaving Canter in New York City
Bing Crosby was a deaf, special needs puppy who came to Best Friends in New York City in June from Homeward Bound Pet Adoption Center in New Jersey. Bing, who is deaf, understands hand signals but required a patient and loving owner. During his stay at Best Friends, this star in the making made several TV appearances including a stint on The Today Show. He bounced around from foster home to foster home until he finally found the right, loving family of his very own in October.
Sid – Special Needs Kitten from Best Friends’ Partner, Rhea County Animal Shelter
Sid, a special needs kitten, came to Rhea County Animal Shelter as a stray in June with a severe upper respiratory infection and seemed to be partially blind with a noticeable head tilt. He was treated with daily medication by the shelter’s vet and recovered over the next few weeks. During that time, he was housed with a young adult cat, named Pepper, who also came in as a stray. The two formed a bond and were adopted together in July.
Moose – Perpetual Foster from Best Friends Pet Lifesaving Center in Atlanta
Moose, a 70-pound anxious fellow, had been through quite a journey since he first came to Best Friends in Atlanta from Paulding County Animal Control in Georgia back in 2021. He was adopted but then returned to Best Friends in March of this year. At that time, he went into foster care and frequently attended adoption events, but his special quirks and large size often left him overlooked.
As the months went on, his foster family became more and more attached, but weren't sure they were ready for a dog of their own. In early 2023, Moose was finally adopted by another family, only to be returned 8 months later. It must have been fate though. Upon his return, Best Friends called his former fosters, Vanessa and Alexander, and they cried tears of joy to welcome him back. They officially adopted Moose this December.
Willow, Dasae, Sienna and Perrin - Herd of Horses Head Home from Best Friends Animal Society’s Sanctuary
A recently retired Green Beret and his family were looking to adopt a couple of horses for their young family. They traveled to Best Friends Sanctuary in June to meet the adoptable horses but were so impressed that they ended up adding three equines to their family. The horses were Willow the mule, 26 years old, who had retired from a long career as a pack mule with the National Forrest Service, Dasae, the mustang, who had suffered a severe injury that left her with a fractured scapula and a massive laceration, and Sienna, who was rescued from a large starvation/cruelty case.
In October, the family decided that there was one more spot in their herd and came back to the sanctuary. They met Perrin, a rangy, malnourished young stallion that had been impounded as a stray by the AZ Dept. of Agriculture. Since his adoption, he has transformed into a people-loving horse and gets along great with his herd.
Susie Q – Graduate of Best Friends Pet Adoption Center in Houston
Susie Q came to Best Friends in Houston as a neonate puppy at 6 weeks young. She was underdeveloped, underweight and had to be syringe fed for the first few weeks, which temporarily affected her mobility.
Susie Q was adopted by longtime Best Friends supporters, who had recently lost their senior dog to cancer. Now, Susie Q is living her best life with a rescue dog sister, and she accompanies her human to work several days a week as the office celebrity.
Leo – Alumni of Best Friends Pet Lifesaving Center in Salt Lake City
Leo, a staff favorite at Best Friends in Salt Lake City, was having a hard time getting adopted because he was afraid of strangers and needed to be placed in an adult-only household as the only dog. Leo had minimal adoption interest until his future adopter, Matthew, came in. Leo warmed up to him and loved all the attention. Despite being reactive in the past, he and Matthew’s other pup, Theo, became best friends almost immediately at their meet-and-greet and Matthew decided to make it official.
Garkane – Adoptee from Cat World at Best Friends Animal Society’s Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah
In June of 2022, Garkane (named after the electric company that ultimately saved him) ound himself in a tricky situation when he decided to climb a telephone pole and got stuck up top for several days after realizing he didn’t know how to get back down. The electric company came to the rescue, bringing Garkane down from the top of the pole At the sanctuary, Garkane received lots of love, harness walks and going on sleepovers! After 6 months he was adopted and now lives in Ohio.
To learn more about adopting a pet this holiday season or to find out more about Best Friend’s lifesaving work through the country, visit bestfriends.org.
*Best Friends embed project - an interim leadership support program Best Friends provides where an employee is stationed on-site to provide on the ground support for the shelter.