Pet adoptions we’re most thankful for

A spotlight on our most memorable pet adoptions for this year.
By Nicole Hamilton

Whenever a homeless pet finds a forever home, it’s reason to be thankful. That’s because each time a pet gets adopted from a shelter, it creates space for another deserving homeless pet. Every adoption pays it forward.

And there’s so much to be thankful for this year, so we’re sharing a few adoptions we’re especially thankful for. These pets and their stories are a celebration of what’s found in every homeless pet: a resilient spirit, a love of life and people, and the ability to look ahead, rather than behind.

We hope their stories will inspire you to keep working together with us every day to end the killing in America’s shelters. They show us that, together, we really can Save Them All.


When you’re a dog waiting for your forever home, you don’t have to win the heart of everyone — just one. That’s what Butterscotch found out when he met Sanctuary intern Stephanie Peters. Butterscotch may be a blind, deaf senior dog with serious food allergies, but to Stephanie, he’s about as perfect as a dog can get.

As she got to know Butterscotch, she didn’t think of him as a dog who couldn’t see or hear, but rather as a dog eager to learn — and eager to make a connection with everyone he met.

Stephanie began teaching Butterscotch new skills, communicating with him through his sense of smell. She also started taking him on sleepovers, where he got along well with her dog, Marmalade. In fact, Butterscotch settled so easily into Stephanie’s life that when her internship ended, she left the Sanctuary with a whole lot of knowledge — and Butterscotch.

Now Butterscotch is inspiring other seniors — senior humans, that is — as a therapy dog in Ames, Iowa, where he lives with Stephanie and his adopted family. He’s teaching others that the golden years can be the best years.

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Butterscotch and Stephanie


Archer tried out a lot of homes while at the Best Friends Pet Adoption Center in Salt Lake City, but none seemed to be the perfect fit. You see, Archer’s his own man, a cat who likes his alone time. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t like people; he just prefers to be admired from afar.

As time passed, staff and volunteers began to wonder when Archer would finally find a home where he would be accepted — and loved — just for being himself.

Archer’s long wait recently ended when Addison Fuller walked in one day looking for a cat to adopt. The handsome Archer quickly caught Addison’s eye. Addison liked the way Archer looked around curiously at everything going on around him while the other cats napped. After a few visits to the pet adoption center, Addison brought Archer home.

In no time, Archer felt comfortable at his new place and with his new adopter, who is busy starting his own software company and doesn’t have time for a lap cat. Finally, Archer has found someone who really gets him and a home where he isn’t loved in spite of his quirky personality, but because of it.

Archer the cat


Sparkle had a good reason to be scared of the world around her. Emaciated and terrified, the young cat was found in a cage by a passerby, who brought her to Los Angeles Animal Services. Staff at the municipal shelter reached out to Best Friends about Sparkle, knowing it would take time for Sparkle to recover from the trauma she’d been through. And when Sparkle arrived at the Best Friends Pet Adoption and Spay/Neuter Center, the healing began.

Soon after Sparkle got settled, she began to let her guard down. Little by little, she let go of her fears, until she was brave enough to stay in a room where she could play with other cats and meet potential adopters.

One day, Sparkle met Shannon Bellamy, who was visiting the center looking for two cats to adopt. Sparkle bravely walked up to Shannon and let her pet her. As she got acquainted with Sparkle, Shannon fell in love with her gentle and kind nature.

That day, Sparkle found the loving home she so deserved. Now she feels safe and secure with Shannon, who has shown her that the world isn’t so scary after all.

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Sparkles the cat


A sweet smile that matches her loving personality. An adoring fan club. Minnie seemed to have everything but the one thing she really needed: a loving home to call her own. That all changed the day Nathan and his husband, Luke, turned a corner at a Best Friends Super Adoption and saw Minnie for the very first time.

As they made their way toward Minnie, she began to wag her tail excitedly, as if she knew how special this moment was. And when Nathan and Luke decided to adopt Minnie, tears of happiness were shed by the many Best Friends staff and volunteers who had come to love this 73-pound American bulldog.

From the moment Minnie (now named Ms. Mary Todd Lincoln) walked through the doors of her new home, she’s brought joy to her new adopters’ lives and has found joy herself — as evidenced by the sweet dance she did when she finally realized she was home.

Today, Ms. Mary is living the good life — accompanying Luke and Nathan to sidewalk cafés, going for walks in the park and meeting new friends. The road to her forever home may have been long, but in the end, the destination made the wait more than worth it.

Give thanks. Donate today.

Minnie the American bulldog

Photos by Molly Wald, Sarah Ause-Kichas, Lori Fusaro and Shannon Kirkman

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