Uplifting tales from animal shelters across the country

Nikki the German shepherd lying next to a person after having been rescued
Best Friends Network Partners share creative ways they’re saving more animals’ lives.
By Liz Finch

Best Friends’ goal is for all animal shelters across the country to reach no-kill by 2025. That means working with our shelter partners in a variety of ways, including support, training, and grants plus celebrating and sharing their good news.

From free rides to loving homes to a dog and her favorite stuffed toy, here’s a roundup of good news tales from five Best Friends Network Partners.

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Need a Lyft?

To land a home, sometimes all a cat needs is a free ride. That was the case for Autumn, a kitty who took advantage of a program at Animal Care Centers of NYC that provides free Lyft rides for pets in shelters. It can be tough, especially in Manhattan, to bring home a foster or adopted pet via public transportation. Sometimes that even prevents people from opening up their homes. Best Friends provided $20,000 to start the barrier-removing program, and in the first two months 43 animals got a literal free ride to a new life.

Locking in funding

There are worse things than hanging out all day with a fluffy companion, even if you spend that time locked inside a kennel. Every year, the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia offers people a chance to spend a day “in jail” with one of their dogs. The catch? To get out, those people must raise money for bail. “It’s an eye-opening experience to spend a day inside a kennel. We also waive the dogs’ adoption fees during the three days we offer this opportunity,” a shelter staff member says. Sounds like a good reason to take part in a jail break.

Sunshine after the rain

When the co-founder of Detroit’s Almost Home Animal Rescue League (AHARL) received a message on social media about Nikki the German shepherd, her heart broke. She says, “It included pictures of her carrying her stuffed toy in the rain. It was gut-wrenching.” Nikki had been surviving on scraps for months after her person died. That swiftly changed once Nikki made it to AHARL, where she was treated for heartworm disease and other health issues. Then she met a family and quickly bonded with the husband, who says, “We have fallen madly in love with our girl and are so thankful we could add her to our family.” So are we.

Third time’s the charm

The staff at Progressive Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) in Lynwood, Washington, had their hands full with Maximus the cat. Surrendered because he attacked the dog in his home, Max got adopted but then was returned when his inner bully surfaced. “The other cat was constantly on edge even though they were separated,” PAWS staff say. “The adopters installed cameras and discovered that Max got out of his room after they left for work to terrorize their cat, then returned to his room before they got home!” It was clear that Max needed to be the only pet of experienced cat folks. Such a family walked in the door at PAWS one day and gave the feisty feline his third (and hopefully final) chance.

This article was originally published in the November/December 2023 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.

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