Heartfelt stories of animals inspiring kindness

Smiling do outside on a walk with a person
From forgiving library fees to a thoughtful token, these stories prove that animals bring out the best in people.
By Mary Daly

Kindness is powerful, and even the smallest act to help an animal, the planet, or another person plants a seed for more good to come. That’s why Best Friends’ vision is a better world through kindness to animals. Every day, animal lovers are making a difference through their actions and helping to bring the entire country to no-kill in 2025. We’re excited to share a few of their stories here.

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No fees, just felines

There’s nothing quite like curling up with a good book and a purring cat on your lap. During March Meowness, Worcester Public Library in Massachusetts celebrated both reading and felines by offering to forgive fees for lost or damaged books, as long as patrons showed the library staff a picture of a cat. It could be a photo, a drawing, anything that spread some feline love. Then, they were free to check out The Great Catsby or Romeow and Juliet and read to their heart’s content. Another excellent reason to adopt a new feline friend and load your phone with cat photos.

In memory of Dipper

After Jon Stewart shared on The Daily Show that his dog Dipper had passed away, Animal Haven in New York City (where the Stewart family had adopted Dipper) was flooded with thousands of dollars in donations from viewers who were moved to tears by Jon’s emotional tribute to his pup. Dipper was a three-legged pit bull-type dog who was with the Stewarts for around 12 years. They met him when Jon’s kids wanted to raise money for Animal Haven by selling cupcakes. It was love at first sight. And that love has carried on to help many more pets like Dipper go to new homes.

Fostering health and healing

Vet student Annika first saw golden retriever Frannie in a video asking for help. The sweet 8-year-old dog was so overweight she could barely stand up. Annika was just whom Frannie needed; she had successfully helped her own rescued dog, Georgia, lose 85 pounds. After Annika volunteered to foster her, Frannie was put on a special diet and a physical therapy regimen. In just a few months, she lost over 30 pounds and can now go for half-mile walks and even chase tennis balls. She still has more weight to lose, but according to Annika, Frannie is already a completely different — and much happier — pup.

Finding purpose after loss

Lisa didn’t really plan to take in a dog, but Gaia came into her life after her person passed away. Lisa also hadn’t planned on being half of a therapy team, but she noted that Gaia was exceptionally calm on walks, even around young children. So she decided to embrace her new pet’s kindness and enrolled Gaia in therapy dog training. Now they volunteer together at a children’s hospital, bringing joy to kids and their families.

Token of love

Paige had been taking her senior cat, Alibi, to the groomer for a few years after Alibi started having a hard time grooming herself. When Alibi passed away at 21, the groomer sent the most thoughtful gift to Paige to help her through the grieving process. She had collected some of Alibi’s fur during those grooming visits and fashioned it into a little fur heart so that Paige will always have that tangible connection to her beloved kitty.

This article was originally published in the July/August 2024 issue of Best Friends magazine. Want more good news? Become a member and get stories like this six times a year.

Let's make every shelter and every community no-kill in 2025

Our goal at Best Friends is to support all animal shelters in the U.S. in reaching no-kill in 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.

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You can help save homeless pets

You can help end the killing in shelters and save the lives of homeless pets when you foster, adopt, and advocate for the dogs and cats who need it most.

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Together, we're creating compassionate no-kill communities nationwide for pets and the people who care for them.

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