Tales of random acts of kindness toward animals

Brown tabby cat in a dark kennel
From a community that rallied for an ailing cat to a man who jumped in frigid water to help a dog and his human, these stories will inspire you.
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 we're excited to share a few of their stories here.

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Pure imagination for Willy Wonka

Willy Wonka may have lost his ears, but he found his golden ticket to a better life. The sweet boy had to have both of his ears amputated after they were injured. But thanks to a veterinary technician’s pure imagination, Willy has a new pair of “ears.” The creative vet tech knitted a headband for Willy, complete with white-and-pink floppy ears that look right at home on the pup’s fuzzy head. The cherry on top of this story? Willy was adopted from the Sacramento SPCA in no time — and his knitted ears went with him.

Rallying around a celebrity cat

When the Song family adopted Paul from Seattle Humane, they probably didn’t expect him to have fans around the world one day. Nicknamed Shop Cat Paul, the orange kitty spent time in the family’s convenience store, where community members fell in love with his sassy yet easygoing attitude. His family also created an Instagram account showcasing his antics, which gained him thousands of followers. When Paul was diagnosed with cancer, his fans rallied around him. A GoFundMe campaign raised more than $20,000, allowing his family to pursue the best possible care for the beloved celebrity cat.

Double water rescue

An Arizona man and his dog are safe, thanks to the quick action of Ryan Correa. Rich Zuccarello was walking his dog, Smokey Bear, when the pup slipped and fell into an icy canal. Rich jumped in after him but ended up dislocating his shoulder and struggling to keep both himself and the 80-pound Smokey above the water’s surface. Ryan heard his calls for help and didn’t hesitate. He jumped into the frigid canal and helped Smokey out of the water as Rich got himself out. While Rich hails Ryan as a hero, Ryan simply sees himself as a person who couldn’t let a man and his dog drown.

Road-tripping kitty

Tucker the cat’s road trip lasted longer than planned, but he met some great new friends along the way. When he and his person, Jamie McCall, were driving home to Michigan from Florida, Tucker went missing during a stop at a Tennessee hotel. Sadly, Jamie’s search for Tucker came up empty. Eventually, she had to get back on the road, but she put a plea on social media for people to keep an eye out for her kitty. It worked: A kind stranger named Holly Lea found Tucker and took care of him for several weeks. Then, Holly’s grandfather, James Heathfield, a tour bus driver, made the 11-hour trip to Michigan to bring the well-traveled feline safely home to Jamie.

New life for Snoopy

As he dragged a five-foot chain through the woods of western Appalachia, Snoopy couldn’t have known his life was about to change dramatically for the better. A woman saw the dirty, frightened pup on her property and knew she had to help. She spent over an hour attempting to gain Snoopy’s trust, and eventually she was able to catch him. Then it was off to the vet, where Snoopy was diagnosed with heartworm disease. Next, he went to a foster home, where compassionate folks helped him through heartworm treatment and neuter surgery. Life is now all about sweet smiles and friendly people for this lucky pup.

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