Good news from animal shelters across the country

The face of a black and white cat in front of a PCV piping cat bed
Need a mood boost? These cat and dog stories should do the trick.
By Liz Finch

Best Friends’ goal is for all animal shelters across the country to reach no-kill by 2025. That means working with our shelter partners in a variety of ways, from support and training, to grants, and also celebrating and sharing their good news.

From a cat who took a perilous journey before reuniting with his family, to a canine kitten caregiver (say that three times, fast), to a group of volunteers who are going the distance for dogs, here’s a roundup of good news tales from five Best Friends Network Partners.

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Full of inspiration and positivity, Best Friends magazine is full of uplifting tales, gorgeous photos and helpful advice.
When you become a member of Best Friends Animal Society by making a donation of $25 or more to the animals, you’ll receive Best Friends magazine for a year. Inside, you’ll read about what Best Friends is doing to save the lives of homeless pets nationwide. 

Fearless feline

How this handsome kitty got stranded on a freeway overpass is a mystery. Luckily, the team at City of San Antonio Animal Care Services has experience with such predicaments. They safely rescued the cat, who, it turned out, was healthy and sweet. And his name is Oliver, which the shelter staff learned from the family desperately missing him. Oliver and his family were swiftly reunited, and we’re pretty sure the first thing this daredevil said to his people was this: “You won’t believe the story I have to tell you!”

Honorary cat mom

As a former mom to nine pups, rescued dog Ginger had experience raising babies. So, when her foster family brought home some orphaned kittens from the San Diego Humane Society, she stepped right up to care for them. Since that first foray into being an honorary cat mom, the gentle dog has cared for more than 50 kittens. “She does everything for them, including providing that close connection all babies need,” says Susan Hicks, Ginger’s person. “Our family believes in supporting the community’s animals. By helping so many kittens, Ginger is giving back in her own way.”

Inspiring the next generation

Many kids dream of becoming veterinarians, so the SPCA of Erie County in New York has spent the past seven years offering summer camps to encourage those dreams. The routinely sold-out camps teach children ages 6-14 about all aspects of animal medicine. Campers can research topics like whether dogs respond more often to hand signals or words, and they can learn hands-on skills like how to read X-rays. As communications manager Bethany Kroc says, “It’s where STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) meets the human-animal bond.”

Run, Rover, run

Young, exuberant dogs seem to need an endless amount of daily activity, but even the least athletic canine benefits from regular walks. When shelters don’t have enough staff to provide such exercise, they recruit volunteers to meet the need. That’s exactly what El Paso Animal Services is doing with its Rescue Runners program. Whether they’re practicing for a marathon or taking a lazy stroll, the shelter’s dogs use every outing as an opportunity to show off and attract the attention of potential adopters.

Unbreakable bond

When two dogs are fast friends, nothing can keep them apart. The staff at Minneapolis Animal Care and Control learned that after putting stray dogs Brenda and Linda into individual kennels. That situation was unacceptable to the girls, and Brenda wasted no time scaling their shared wall to prove it. The staff got the message, placing the girls together and requiring them to be adopted as a duo. Once the video of Brenda’s display of devotion was posted on Facebook, the dogs garnered tons of fans and are now happily sharing a new home.

Our goal at Best Friends is to support all animal shelters in the U.S. in reaching no-kill by 2025. No-kill means saving every dog and cat in a shelter who can be saved, accounting for community safety and good quality of life for pets. Shelter staff can’t do it alone. Saving animals in shelters is everyone’s responsibility, and it takes support and participation from the community. No-kill is possible when we work together thoughtfully, honestly, and collaboratively.

This article was originally published in the September/October 2023 issue of Best Friends magazine. Want more good news? Become a member and get stories like this six times a year.

Silhouette of two dogs, cat and kitten

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