Random acts of kindness toward animals

Dilute calico on a wooden shelf
Get ready to smile (and maybe have a few tissues handy) because these stories are sure to get tails wagging and purrs rumbling.
By Mary Daly

A night at the museum for kittens on a plane. A foster family filling up a senior dog’s bucket list with adventure. A family reunion 7,000 miles in the making. These five feel-good stories from across the country are sure to brighten your day and put a smile on your face. So sit back, unwind, and enjoy.

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Purring fighter jet

A volunteer didn’t expect to find a litter of five kittens when he heard strange noises coming from inside a 1950s fighter jet on display at the Hickory Aviation Museum in North Carolina. Museum workers teamed up with the Humane Society of Catawba County to capture the kittens and their mom. Mom was spayed and vaccinated before being released back to the museum area. Meanwhile, the “cockpit kittens” (named after aircraft in the museum: Mohawk, Falcon, Corsair, Prowler, and Hornet) were socialized in a foster home while awaiting adoption. The first departure, Mohawk, fittingly found a home with an aerospace historian.

Hot dogs

When Logan and Abigail Fabrizio noticed two puppies in the weeds on the side of a road in the Florida Panhandle, they assumed they belonged to someone. But when time passed and no one came to collect them or take care of them, the couple realized the beagle mix pups had been abandoned. They coaxed the pair out with a hot dog. And it wasn’t long before Logan and Abigail decided to do more than just rescue the pups; they welcomed them to the family. Now, Remi and Riley not only have a loving home, but they also have thousands of followers on Instagram.

Senior dog’s bucket list

When Annie, a 19-year-old Labrador retriever mix, was surrendered to Dallas Animal Services, the vets knew the super senior pup didn’t have much time left — but she still had some life in her. Lauren Siler spotted Annie’s sweet gray face in a photo online, and immediately she and her roommate, Lisa Flores, decided to help. They became Annie’s permanent foster home and created a bucket list for her to pack as much love and adventure as possible into the rest of her life.

‘Catman’ Joe and Cookie

There are cat people, and then there are cat people like Joe Perry and his wife, Cookie. Joe says, “We haven’t been blessed with children, but we think of our rescues (all 15 of them) as ‘the kids.’” Beyond the cats who live with them, “Catman” Joe and Cookie have made it their mission to care for free-roaming cats in their California neighborhood. They’ve lost track of how many cats they’ve trapped, neutered, vaccinated, and returned over the past 20 years, but it’s a lot. They do this work on their own simply because they enjoy taking care of, and ultimately spoiling, the cats they help.

7,000-mile reunion

It wasn’t easy for Maria Bezhenar and her family to leave behind everything when they fled Ukraine for the U.S. Above all, her youngest daughter desperately missed her kitty, Arsenii. He was safe with a family member, but it was still heartbreaking for 10-year-old Agnessa, who had grown up with Arsenii and cried every day over having to leave him behind. Maria mentioned this to a flight attendant she’d met and stayed in touch with, and soon a team of people were working to reunite Arsenii with his little girl. The gray tabby cat embarked on an incredible journey from Ukraine to Moldova, Romania, Greece, Canada, and finally the U.S., where he’s back in the arms of his best friend.

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