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Pet Adoption Event Leads to Family Reunion

The Jacksonville Humane Society, a non-profit, no-kill animal shelter, is a member of No Kill Jacksonville. The shelter provides adoption and veterinary services to homeless pets in the area in an attempt to reduce suffering and create a community where no adoptable pet is killed simply because there isn’t a space for it.

In 2018 alone, over 500 volunteers sacrificed over 27,000 hours to help meet those goals. A labor of love, the shelter helps keep families together and reunites pets with their families. 397 pets were returned to their owners in 2018, thanks to the hard work of the shelter workers.

Special Adoption Events

Shelters like the Jacksonville Humane Society have special events where the adoption fees are reduced or waived, and where families can come out to see if they are interested in adopting an available pet for their own family. One such event was called Generosity Breeds Joy, a day chosen to celebrate the shelter’s one year anniversary in its new and innovative building.

For the November 9 event, adoption fees were free, and some local restaurants offered to donate a percentage of proceeds to the shelter, as long as the diners asked on the special day. The special event also offered face painting, arts and crafts, and a special presentation for yoga with cats. There was even a special day camp for on November 12 for kids in grades kindergarten to 8th.

Surprise Reunion

On that special day, a family showed up at the PetSmart that was hosting the event in hopes of adopting a kitten. While they were waiting in line, they happened to notice a dog that was being readied for a walk. The brown-and-white dog looked very familiar to the family, who had lost a similar-looking dog in August.

The dad shouted loud enough to be heard throughout the store, “That’s my Dopey!” The dog was so excited he ran over to see his dad, only to find that his whole family was there excited to see him again. 

At that time, Dopey had been with the Jacksonville Humane Society for over a month. A kind stranger brought him in on October 1, believing he was a stray who needed to find a home. The shelter took good care of him and then brought him to the Generosity Breeds Joy event to try to find a forever home.

More and More Reunions

Just a few days later, the shelter reunited another family. A kitten was brought in during a big spay and neuter event, and she turned out to have a microchip. She was quickly reunited with her family.

One lucky lady in Florida was reunited with her dog who escaped a fence in 2007. She kept searching, looking in shelters and searching the streets when she was out. After 12 years, her Duchess was found living under a man’s home in Pennsylvania, and she got to go home.

How You Can Help

You never know who you might be helping when you give to a shelter. You may find a new family member or help a pet that belongs to a friend. While many people are already overextended, there are a lot of ways you can help your local shelter. 

If you have food your pet doesn’t like, you can donate it instead of throwing it away. Let others in your community know so the shelter can receive assistance, and even if you can’t volunteer, suggest it to teenage friends as a great way to get some work experience. It takes the whole community to make miracles like this happen.


Woman Finds New Purpose Helping Hedgehogs





Kitty Johnson was worried about feeling lonely when her son left for college. So, she found an unusual hobby – rescuing hedgehogs!

It all started in May 2023 when Kitty got a call about a sick hedgehog in a park. She rushed out with gloves and a box, found the little animal, and took it to a sanctuary. The hedgehog lived, and Kitty felt great about helping.

Kitty always loved nature, but she didn’t know much about hedgehogs before. She joined a group that helps these spiky creatures because she wanted to stay busy when her son went to college.

At first, Kitty answered phone calls about hedgehogs. But she wanted to be more active, so she became a “hedgehog driver.” Now she goes all over her town looking for hedgehogs that need help. She finds them in gardens, graveyards, and even compost bins!

In one year, Kitty has saved about 30 hedgehogs. Some were hurt or sick and needed to go to the vet. Others were babies left alone by their moms. Kitty says, “They’re not just cute but they’re also amazing animals, native to our country, that need protecting.”

Kitty made her own garden safe for hedgehogs. She put out food for them and made holes in her fence so they can travel through. She even has a camera to watch them!

Now Kitty is writing a book about hedgehogs. She says helping these animals makes her feel good and keeps her busy. Even though her son is away at school, Kitty found a new way to feel useful and happy.

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From Streets to Home: A Dog’s Remarkable Transformation

Renee Yates



In a heartwarming tale that underscores the transformative power of love, a once “sad little street dog” found a forever home, dramatically altering its life for the better.

Initially discovered by an animal rescue center, the stray dog was in poor condition, with matted and dirty fur, and a noticeable wariness of humans. Its future seemed uncertain until a woman, moved by photographs she saw on Facebook, decided to adopt the little pooch.

The adoption marked a turning point in the dog’s life. Fast forward three months, and the shy, forlorn street dog has become a lively and joyful house pet. Photos shared by the new owner on Reddit capture this incredible journey, showing the dog happily playing in a grassy yard, grinning widely, and enjoying the company of a furry friend and a cozy bed.

The Reddit post, titled “From sad little street dog to happy housepet in three months,” quickly resonated with the community, garnering over 1,200 upvotes and a slew of positive comments. One user remarked, “So adorable. Thank you for taking care of him and giving him a lovely home and family.” Another noted, “He’s got such a personality! Shines through the photos. Thank you for saving him.” A third added, “Aww. What a darling. Glad you were there to take this honeyface in and give him the love that all the sweet pups deserve.”

The story also sheds light on the broader issue of homeless dogs. According to Dogster, around 100,000 canines are currently homeless in the UK. This poignant transformation underscores the profound impact that adopting a homeless pet can have, not just on the animal but also on the adopter. The woman who adopted the dog shared her feelings, saying, “He has done so much for us! He’s so sweet and easy to love, and he has completed our first dog’s life by being a patient and gentle best friend towards her (she can be very clingy)… It’s been awesome getting to know him and getting to see him get to be a puppy!”

This touching narrative serves as a powerful reminder of the difference a loving home can make, encouraging more people to consider adopting homeless animals. The joy and fulfillment that come with giving a pet a second chance are immeasurable, benefiting both the animal and its new family.

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High School President Expresses Gratitude with Personal Touch

Kevin Wells



A high school class president in Massachusetts, showing a remarkable sense of appreciation, decided to honor each of his fellow graduates with personal thank-you notes. This touching gesture took center stage at their commencement ceremony.

Mason Macuch, the class president of Apponequet Regional High School in Lakeville, MA , delivered a speech on June 7, where he revealed his thoughtful plan. “I wish I could’ve acknowledged you all, but there was simply not enough time,” he said. “Instead, I want you to reach under your chairs, where you will find a personal note that I’ve written to each of you as a way to say one final goodbye and thank you for making these years that will soon pass the ‘good ole days.’”

Under the chairs, the graduating seniors discovered 5-by-7-inch white cards, each containing a heartfelt message. Macuch had spent about 10 hours crafting these notes, a labor of love that reflected his connections with many of his classmates. “I just wrote anything from farewell messages to little memories that I had with whoever I was writing to, or maybe if it was a close friend, a longer message to them,” Macuch explained. “Anything that I could think of about the person I wanted to say about them before we graduated and went on our separate ways.”

The initiative required the approval of school administrators, and on the day of the ceremony, Macuch, along with an assistant principal and a teacher, arrived early to tape the cards under the chairs. His effort did not go unnoticed; many graduates thanked him personally, and parents expressed their appreciation through social media.

Macuch’s act of kindness was not just a farewell; it was a testament to the bonds formed over the years. “Some people I hadn’t talked to in a few years were just so thankful for them. It was really nice to see that they were just so appreciative of all the hard work that went into them, and it was a really nice way to say goodbye to everyone,” he reflected.

As he prepares to start college in the fall, with plans to study biochemistry, Macuch’s gesture serves as a lasting reminder of the power of gratitude and personal connection. His mother’s advice on writing thank-you notes undoubtedly played a significant role in this memorable act of appreciation.

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Cat Reunited with Owner 12 Years After Disappearing: ‘Didn’t Feel Real’

Kevin Wells



A family that had lost hope of ever seeing their cat again received surprising news recently. After 12 long years, their cat, Artie, has been reunited with its owner.

Artie disappeared from the home of Theo-Will McKenna, 29, after the family moved from Blacon in Chester to Connah’s Quay in Flintshire, Wales, back in 2012. McKenna, who was 17 at the time, spent six months searching for Artie, but eventually, the family lost hope.

Then, just three weeks ago, Artie was discovered after spending four days in a garden close to where the family used to live in Connah’s Quay.

“I hadn’t been able to take him with me when I moved out, and my mom moved to Connah’s Quay with him, my brother, and our other pets,” McKenna explained. “I was in college in the area, so I’d pop back to visit once a week or so.” One day, when McKenna was visiting home, his mom reported that Artie was missing. “He hadn’t come back in a couple of days — and he’d never done that before. He used to come back every night.”

McKenna immediately went out to look for Artie, walking around the entire area with a bag full of treats but found nothing. He kept an eye out for Artie every time he was in the area, but there was no sign of him. “After about six months, I lost hope. I reached the point where I thought that either, God forbid, something had happened to him, or someone else had taken him in.”

Residents at the home where Artie was found took him to the vet, who discovered a microchip registered to McKenna’s mom, with a contact number for North Clwyd Animal Rescue (NCAR). NCAR picked up Artie and shared a post on Facebook to find his owners. A friend saw the post and recognized Artie, sending it to McKenna.

McKenna explained that Artie showed up in someone’s garden near where his mom had lived in Connah’s Quay. Artie stayed there for four days, not leaving at all. The vet’s office scanned Artie’s microchip and saw that it was still registered to McKenna’s mom at their old address. When they found out that she no longer lived there, they reached out to NCAR, who reclaimed Artie from the vet.

Artie had some medical issues that needed attention. He had some teeth removed, treatment for hyperthyroidism, and had precancerous lumps removed from his ears. NCAR got him stable and then posted about him on their Facebook page. “My friend saw it and sent me the post — it took me a second to recognize him because he looked so bedraggled and skinny,” McKenna said. “It didn’t feel real. I thought there was no way it could be him. It had been 12 years — he went missing when I was 17. I thought no cat could survive 12 years on the street.”

Once McKenna picked up Artie, he took him home to his current apartment, where Artie is now getting used to living with McKenna’s other cat. “We’re still in the trial period, but he’s been completely fine. He’s purring up a storm every time I go near him. My other cat has been a little bit wary, but we’ve been doing introductory methods and getting her used to his smell. It’s a slow process, but I’m absolutely determined that he’s staying with me.”

McKenna believes that people must have been looking after Artie over the years, putting out food or taking him in. “I don’t think he would have made it 12 years without community kindness.”

Artie is now 16 years old and will need ongoing medical care, with his medicine costing about $64 per month. McKenna has started a fundraiser online to help with the cat’s medical expenses. “I want him to be able to spend his twilight years somewhere that he’s loved — which will be here,” he said.

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Mum Thanks Sunderland Royal Hospital Team with Special Artwork for Caring for Her Son

Kelly Taylor



Hannah Graham, a Sunderland mum, created a heartfelt drawing to express her gratitude to the “absolute treasure” of an anaesthetist and his team who helped her autistic five-year-old son, Peter, during his first general anaesthetic at Sunderland Royal Hospital.

Peter, who has cerebral palsy and autism, was anxious about the procedure, which required anaesthesia. Consultant anaesthetist Will Green played an episode of the popular kids’ TV show Hey Duggee and even sang along to calm Peter.

To assist in keeping Peter entertained, Hannah, an illustrator, drew Will’s face on a rubber glove. She later incorporated this and other elements into a special picture, capturing the team present during Peter’s procedure as a way to thank them.

Hannah shared, “As an illustrator, I thought this would be the best way to show how much we appreciated what they did to help Peter. He was cared for in the hospital’s Neonatal Unit when he was born, so I used to draw to keep busy when he was very little. This was my way of saying the hugest thank you for the incredible experience we had. Peter has autism and cerebral palsy, and having a brilliant and proactive team made our journey so smooth.”

She highlighted the exceptional care provided by anaesthetist Will Green, saying, “He made so many proactive steps and showed sincere care, making reasonable adjustments to help Peter. F63 is such an attentive and happy team, they were all brilliant. They put on disco lights, and there’s the clickety-clack of the train in the Hey Duggee episode, so they’re in there too.”

Will Green expressed his emotional reaction to Hannah’s artwork, saying, “We were all lost for words when we saw the picture, it was rather emotional. I have a little boy named Henry, and enjoy Star Wars, superheroes, and Lego, which is all very helpful for my work in paediatrics. The illustration is absolutely beautiful, and we are all very touched that Hannah used her time and immense talent to give us some truly unique feedback. Hannah captured how the team comes together around a person, aiming not just to provide excellent medical care, but to create an individual and positive experience.”

He acknowledged the wonderful team he worked with, including Deb Hollins, Kelly Pearce, Ling Lee, Neil Gayares, Reny Chacko, and Ann Mallam, who all helped care for Peter. Will, who recently started as a consultant at the South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Trust, works across both adult and children’s services. He hopes that Hannah’s picture will show that coming for surgery can be a “happy and exciting experience.”

Reflecting on their work with Peter, Will said, “Peter was good as gold. We did for Peter what we try to do for all our patients, adjusting our approach based on what the person in front of us needs. Come to F floor theatres and you might see bubbles, disco lights, nursery rhymes, even a rave or a rap—it just depends on what makes the individual most comfortable. The team is committed to creating a positive environment from pre-assessment to theatre, and I see staff making small changes that make a big difference to our patients.”

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