5 feel-good pet stories to make you smile

From a grouchy cat who's reunited with his family to a dog whose name brings a little luck, we've rounded up some of the happiest stories from across the country.
By Liz Finch

A sweet reunion, the most adorable surprise found in a church and a resource center that keeps pets with their families and out of the shelter: We’ve gathered five feel-good stories about pets from across the country that are sure to uplift and inspire you.

Reunited and it feels so good

Barak the dog being reunited with his person

After spending four months at Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter, Barak the hound dog is back with his person. They were separated after a gas leak destroyed their house and injured Barak’s person, but the shelter kept the pup safe until they could be reunited. Once Barak’s dad secured new housing, he made a beeline to the shelter to collect his best buddy, who showered him with kisses.

Elementary lifesaving

Person wearing a red hat kissing a small brown dog

In a former elementary school, Gateway Pet Guardians in St. Louis, Illinois, recently opened a 54,000-square-foot facility dedicated to keeping pets with their people. According to Jill Henke, director of community programming: “We don’t think losing your job or being tight on money means you should have to give your pet to a shelter.”

From crabby to happy

Willard the cat holding a blue toy

When Willard went missing more than a year ago, his person thought she’d never see him again. Then she spotted a social media post about a “crabby cat” at Santa Rosa County Animal Services in Florida, and she knew right away that was her boy. The 15-year-old kitty, whose name is Jay, is back home and has never been happier.

That's not a bomb

Sprinkles the cat with her kittens in a bed with a fabric donut background

Ohio sheriff's deputies investigating a suspicious package outside a church were surprised to hear the bag purring instead of ticking. Inside was a momma cat (later named Sprinkles) and six one-day-old kittens. The furry family went to Animal Friends Humane Society in Hamilton, where they are warm, cozy, fed and waiting until they are old enough to be adopted.

Jake from State Farm

Jake from State Farm the dog with two people and an oversized check for $1,500 to the shelter from State Farm

Jake was a regular at Burlington Animal Shelter in North Carolina, landing there four times in three months. In fact, staff took to calling the eight-year-old dog “Jake from State Farm” after he kept reappearing, just like the guy in the commercials. It turned out to be a stroke of marketing genius that led to the local State Farm insurance agency donating pet supplies and $1,500 to the shelter. No word if it also played a role in Jake finding a new family, but today he is living happily with two canine pals in a home of his own.

Make a difference and feel good doing it

Whether you foster, volunteer or adopt, you can make a huge difference in the life of a pet from your local shelter.

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Photos by Lori Fusaro and courtesy of Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter, Gateway Pet Guardians, Santa Rosa Animal Services, Animal Friends Humane Society and Burlington Animal Shelter