Stories of kindness and care toward animals

Smiling husky dog on a leash
From the power of photos to the magic of a good haircut, these animal lovers are making a difference for pets in need.
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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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. 

Powerful pup pics

Photographer Rachael Rodgers knows the power of pictures, and she’s putting that power to use to find homes for adoptable dogs. Traveling around the U.S. and Canada, Rachael volunteers at local animal shelters and rescue groups, taking their dogs out on adventures and photographing them. She goes hiking, kayaking, and more with the pups to capture their true personalities while they have fun. She then posts the photos on her Instagram account, @trailsandbears, with info on how people can adopt the dogs. Not only do the dogs get to have an exciting day with Rachael, but the photos help them find homes, where even more adventures await.

An incredible journey

Butters the cat picked the right house when he needed some help. In Riverside County, California, Dalton Churchwell, an animal services officer, noticed Butters wandering around his backyard. When Dalton scanned the cat for a microchip, he received quite a shock: Butters had been missing from his San Diego home for 12 years. Dalton called Butters’ family (who had since relocated to Washington state) with the news that their adventurous feline had been found. A team of people stepped up to get Butters homeward bound, including a volunteer who flew with him to Washington. Butters was finally reunited with his family, who never gave up hope that they would see him again.

Lifesaving makeovers

Miraculous transformations happen behind the doors of NJ Dog Barbers. The dog grooming salon not only grooms people’s pets but also dogs from local animal shelters and rescue groups. These homeless pups often come with severely matted and dirty coats and overgrown nails, and they can be very nervous if grooming is unfamiliar to them. But John Revella, NJ Dog Barbers’ owner, welcomes canines in all conditions and works his magic to help the dogs look and feel their best. He offers this service for free — his contribution to help dogs get out of shelters and into loving homes.

High-flying hero

A U.S. Air Force veteran is offering his services with a new form of high-flying heroics: rescuing cats stuck in trees. Spencer Cocanour runs Asheville Tree Top Cat Rescue in North Carolina, using his tree-climbing skills to get cats safely out of trees — free of charge. It all started when Spencer bought a tree-climbing kit and joked that maybe someday he’d need to rescue a cat with it. Now, around 150 cat rescues later, he’s a hero to both the felines in his community and their humans.

Crafting for canines

Joan Potters has a mission: to make sure dogs in shelters around San Antonio, Texas, are comfortable. That’s why the 93-year-old spends her days meticulously sewing dog beds out of fabric scraps from the local quilting guild, which she then donates to local animal shelters. She cuts up rags to stuff the beds with and checks over each bed to remove any loose threads that could snag on a pup’s paw. Volunteers help her with sewing and delivering the beds. They manage to complete around 30 to 40 beds per month to ensure that the dogs have comfort and warmth.

This article was originally published in the March/April 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 by 2025

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.

Silhouette of two dogs, cat and kitten

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.

Saving lives around the country

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

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