Shelters get creative to showcase adoptable pets

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These groups are using every opportunity and tool at their disposal to send more dogs and cats to new homes — and keep pets together with their families.
By Best Friends staff

Our network partners are making a difference every single day for animals in so many ways. With partners in all 50 states, it only makes sense that there’s a lot of good news to share. Here are a few highlights from around the country. Learn more about these incredible groups at

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Dogs’ day out

On a February afternoon, Grover and some other dogs were enjoying a day out of the shelter as part of Asheville Humane Society’s Mountain Mutts program. Volunteers take the dogs on hikes on trails in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

When Wayne and his family ran into the group, they felt an instant connection with Grover. They decided to adopt Grover on the spot, and Wayne canceled his flight back home to Massachusetts so he could make the 14-hour drive with his new pup. Programs like Mountain Mutts not only provide enrichment, but they also introduce dogs to people they likely wouldn’t have met otherwise.

Match made on YouTube

Magnus, a sweet, shy dog who had been at Pima Animal Care Center (PACC) in Tucson, Arizona, for nearly a year, was finally adopted after he made his debut on YouTube. PACC holds daily play groups so dogs can romp around together off leash in a controlled environment. A PACC volunteer named Bruce films the play groups and posts the videos on his popular YouTube channel, which has 40,000 subscribers. Magnus’ play group video caught the eye of a Missouri couple, who are regular viewers of Bruce’s channel. They loaded their dogs into their car, drove 1,300 miles to meet him, and now Magnus is loving life with his new family.

New dog breeds?

Have you ever heard of the Norwegian hamburglar or the teenage mutant ninja terrier? Michigan Animal Rescue League (MARL) in Detroit got a lot of positive attention for their dogs by flipping breed labels on their heads in a video that went viral on social media. The video showed eight adorable dogs, including a giraffadoodle named Reba (pictured). Studies have shown that identifying a dog’s breed by looks alone is unreliable, so MARL played that up in a hilarious way while racking up views for their adoptable dogs. Watch the video on Instagram @mi_animalrescueleague.

Feeding hope

When a door closes, community members in Roanoke, Virginia, open a window. After Saleeba’s Grocery, which had been part of the community since 1946, closed a few years ago, the store was transformed into a pet food pantry. Called Saleeba’s Store of Hope, the pantry is run by Angels of Assisi, a local animal welfare organization, with the goal of providing pet food and other necessities so that people and their pets can stay together.

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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