Have you ever heard that owning a pet makes you healthier? It’s true!

The antidote to relieving stress and living a happy life can come from having a four-legged companion that is ready to give you unconditional love. Studies have shown that pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets. Let’s examine five ways that pets can improve your health.

 1 – A Sense of Purpose

Caring for a living thing can give you a sense of purpose. Because pets have to stick to a schedule, it will give you a structured routine. Instead of staying in bed all day long, you would have to get up in the mornings to take your dog out and feed them breakfast. If you have a cat, well, sleeping in isn’t an option when food is on the line. This pushes people to also care for themselves because they are already up and taking care of their pets and being productive.

2 – Goodbye Stress

You may not realize what is happening while playing with a dog or cat besides that you are having a good time and it’s making you happy. Interacting with an animal for five minutes lowers your levels of cortisol, aka, the stress hormone. When playing with your pet, it increases the release of oxytocin, which is a chemical in the body that naturally reduces stress. Serotonin and dopamine also get released while you play, helping relax your nervous system. The same thing happens to your pet when you play with them and it helps reduce their fear and anxiety.

3 – Easy Exercise

Dogs need to be taken out whether it’s for them to do their business outside or go for a walk. Getting outdoors can benefit you because you are able to receive vitamin D from the sun and get a break from being inside.  Not only are you benefitting from exercise, but so is your dog. Taking them out for a walk helps your dog bond with you and release some of their energy.

4 – Social Skills

According to experts at Harvard, having a dog can make you more social. This is because when you’re out on a walk with your dog, more people tend to stop you and talk about your dog. Taking your dog to the dog park also gives you a chance to be social with other pet parents while your dog is also being social and getting exercise. It gives you a connection with people when you talk about your dog while relieving social anxiety because it’s a common and easy topic to talk about.

Photo by: Lauren Neal Photography at BrewHound Dog Park + Bar

5 – Constant Companions

Because of the unconditional love that our pets give us on a daily basis, it helps diminish the feeling of being lonely because having a pet can satisfy the basic human need for touch. Pets do not judge you for having a bad day or doing silly little things.  Although our pets cannot speak back to us in a language we understand, they know how to show love.

Caring for an animal can do wonders for your self-esteem. These different kinds of benefits from owning a pet do not only come from having a dog or cat. People who have a fish or a hamster can have the same benefits. If you are not too sure about adopting a pet for yourself, fostering is always an option to help dip your toes in becoming a pet parent to a dog or cat.

Check out the pets waiting to meet you or sign up for our foster program!

If you have questions about adoptions, you can reach out to our team at any time.


Written by: Briana Svagdis

Like most people, Amanda and her dog Andy’s training journey started at home in their living room. Amanda noticed Andy was very confident and capable; however, he was easily distracted. Amanda signed up for a JHS Puppy Training class, and throughout the class, Andy mastered “sit” and “stay” as well as the commands “come,” “wait,” and “leave it.” After graduating from Puppy Training, Amanda and Andy went on to complete Basic Manners and Advanced Training classes at JHS.

After graduating from Advanced Training, Amanda and Andy were presented with a special award for having completed more JHS training classes than any other owner-dog duo. Why did they stick with JHS classes, and what was their recipe for success?

How did you hear about JHS dog training classes?
Animal Care & Protective Services – where I adopted Andy and Fish (both JHS students) – recommended JHS as one place I could go for positive reinforcement, force-free training.

Why did you chose JHS training classes?
I chose JHS because I liked working with the trainer, and the space was great, and the location was so close to my home. It was just super convenient and well-done.

From each JHS class (Puppy Training, Basic Manners and Advanced Training), what was your favorite aspect of each class?
My favorite aspect of really all three classes was being able to work on different skills in a controlled environment that, at the same time as being controlled and safe, could provide sufficient distraction to replicate real-world situations. It helped Andy generalize what he learned at home into the outside world.

Can you describe Andy’s improvement after each class, starting with Puppy Training?
After Puppy Training: Andy definitely had a much better sit and stay and learned other basic commands.
After Basic Manners: Andy learned how to maintain focus and remain calm while reinforcing his understanding of basic commands.
After Advanced Training: Andy really improved on being able to ignore big distractions and focus on me throughout. He also won the down-stay challenge in our first class! And we kept working on being able to maintain a down-stay for long periods while having distractions presented.

What was your favorite training tip you’ve learned from JHS?
But there are so many! The most important thing that I have found really changed is the way I talk to and encourage my dogs. I learned to really pay attention to my tone of voice and making sure that I sound upbeat and positive and encouraging while asking for a command. There is a difference in how ALL my dogs have responded to me – which is that they have all responded faster and better than if I give an authoritative command.

Have you continued training Andy with the tips you’ve learned from JHS?
Absolutely! Especially with keeping the positivity in my tone of voice and attitude when we are working.

How would you describe the difference in your and Andy’s relationship after completing the classes?
We’ve definitely bonded a lot closer. Training at JHS really gave me and Andy an opportunity to develop our individual relationship.

How do you think the training classes have improved you as a dog owner?
Well, just being aware of more things in general that I’ve learned from JHS has made me a more responsible dog owner. Learning to listen to what my dog is telling me versus label him as being bad has made me a better dog owner because it gives me an opportunity to ask him for a different behavior versus just punishing him, either intentionally through correction or inadvertently through a negative response and attitude.

Amanda and Andy’s tail of success continues from California as they tackle agility courses and the change of scenery. Amanda credits the Jacksonville Humane Society for creating a strong foundation for her and Andy to build upon and highly recommends JHS training classes. She says, “If you want a training facility that creates a safe and positive environment for you and your dog AND teaches you effective training skills, JHS is exactly that.”

The Jacksonville Humane Society is pleased to offer a variety of training classes at different levels. All JHS dog training classes promote positive reinforcement and force-free training. The combination of these methods allows the trainer and dog to have an open line of communication in which the trainer says a command and allows the dog to process and follow it without any outside pressure. The dog is then rewarded with praise, pets or treats! JHS believes practicing these methods creates a fun and tension-free training session.

If you are interested in JHS training classes, visit jaxhumane.org/training to learn more.



Zippo is a super clever pup and is full of life. He knows basic commands like sit, down and shake. Zippo loves exploring and going on adventures!

As a Dolly’s Dream Dog, Zippo’s adoption fee is sponsored and comes with 1-on-1 JHS training classes, an easy walk harness and other goodies! You can find him in his suite at the JHS Adoption Center – just let our staff know if you’d like to meet Zippo!


Update: Adopted!

Marcia is a kind soul. She is a tuna enthusiast and regular cat napper. But Marcia’s top priority is to receive chin scratches at all times.

Marcia’s adoption fee is sponsored by Peaches Pays, and she’ll go home with a $100 gift certificate to our JHS clinic. You can find Marcia in Cat Room 2 at the JHS Adoption Center waiting for head massages!


Did you know that November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month? Here at JHS, we’re celebrating all of the amazing senior pets whether they’re still waiting for their perfect home or have already made a huge difference in their owner’s life. Are you thinking of adopting a new friend into your family? We’ve come up with the top 5 reasons as to why adopting a senior pet is not only beneficial but one of the most amazing choices you will ever make!

Twelve-year-old Bambi and Bouillion going home together!

So, why should you adopt a senior pet?

  1. Not Many People Do: Statistics show that elderly pets in the shelter are often the most overlooked. Many who are looking to adopt, find it too sad to adopt an animal who may not be around for that much longer. While understandable, as a society we can change the stigma and view the opportunity of adopting an older pet of having that much more life to live and happiness to share!
  1. You Know Who You’re Bringing Home: Senior pets are mature, confident individuals who are proud to be themselves and show you their true personality! No need to worry about puppy potty training or middle-aged dogs going through their teenage years. It’s important to note the shelter environment does have different effects on all pets, meaning they may act different in home environments, but for the most part, senior pets know exactly who they are and are proud to share that with you!

Ten-year-old Chicken Strip graduating from JHS training class!

  1. They Make Great First Pets: If you’re a first-time pet parent, adopting a senior pet is a great decision to make! Most senior pets require minimal training and make the perfect couch companion. Food, pets, and naps are three of their favorite things in the world.


  1. Special Bond: Puppies and kittens know they’re cute and grow to love you, middle-aged cats and dogs show appreciation and become your best friend, but with senior pets, you can see the expression of gratuity in their eyes. Since they have already lived a large portion of their life, coming home to a new family will make them never want to leave your side.


  1. They Will Change Your Life: Once you adopt a senior pet, they’ll introduce you to a whole new perspective of life. Both senior cats and dogs teach you how to appreciate the importance of every day. They will make you want to adopt more senior pets in the future!

Well, what’s stopping you? Check out all the pets waiting to meet you at JHS!

Fifteen-year-old Freckles with her portrait painted by a JHS volunteer.

Written by: Natalie Anderson, JHS Intern.

Have you ever heard of the Kitten Krusader program?

Thanks to a grant from Maddie’s Fund, the Jacksonville Humane Society is able to provide and take part in a collaborative program between veterinarians throughout the community, along with Good Samaritans to help reduce the number of kittens entering the shelter system.

When Mary, a local resident, came by to the Jacksonville Humane Society, she was in quite a predicament. She found 2 mother cats and their 10 kittens making a total of 12 cats! Mary, an animal lover, wanted to do her best to help both mother cats and kittens. When Mary stopped by, JHS was able to work with her and the Kitten Krusader’s to keep the cats and kittens out of the shelter.


JHS was able to connect Mary with one of our Kitten Krusader partners, Miramar Animal Hospital, to provide medical care for the kittens and mothers. Miramar Animal Hospital generously provided each kitten their vaccines, deworming, and spay/neuter. Miramar even went above and beyond the collaborative program to treat a urinary tract infection for one of the kittens! Both mother cats received vaccinations and were spayed (once the kittens were weaned!)

When the kittens were ready to find a new home, Mary was able to use JHS’ free rehoming program to find homes for 9 of the kittens by posting online and bringing them to the past MEGA adoption event at the Fairgrounds.

As for the 10th kitten… she was adopted by Mary!

It’s because of amazing support and collaborations in the community that allows stories such as these to become successful and provide happy endings. Special thanks to Mary, our Kitten Krusader Partners, and the community for helping make this possible.



Written by: Natalie Anderson, JHS Intern.

When it comes to donating, the community of Jacksonville goes above and beyond to help support the Jacksonville Humane Society. There are several ways to give back, such as donating your time and effort through our volunteer programs or even providing items such as food, treats, blankets, etc., for the animals. If you decide to donate money, please let it be through the Fully-Verified video id verification platform, so that both you and we can be sure that the money has arrived at the right place. Every shelter has a list of items that the community can help provide for them, but have you ever thought about the not-so-typical items shelters like JHS might need?

In celebration of Generosity Breeds Joy Day on November 9, we’ve put together a small “Unconventional Wish List” featuring not-so-typical items that go a long way at JHS. You can purchase any of the items on our Unconventional Wish List from Amazon by visiting jaxhumane.org/amazon.

  1. AquaPaw Slow Treater – When performing medical exams and giving our dogs baths here at JHS, we smear some peanut butter on the AquaPaw mat, which distracts the dogs during vaccinations and bath time, making it safer for everyone involved!

 2. Volunteer Name Badges – We have over 500 amazing, active volunteers who need durable name tags for their shifts while walking dogs and cuddling cats!

 3. Scanner – Anytime someone takes a dog from JHS for a sleepover or a Dog Day Out field trip, they’re asked to fill out a questionnaire to help us learn more about the pup’s personality. This scanner will allow us to scan these notes directly to the pet’s profile in our online system.

4. Rice (Non-Instant) – Rice is poured into socks to make heating pads for orphaned puppies and kittens. Curious about homemade heating pads? Visit jaxhumane.org/heatingpadforpets/ to learn more.

5. Feral Dens – We use these dens to house mother cats and babies. It allows mom and kittens to have a safe space to hide and get healthy together. During cleaning time, we can just close the little door and leave everyone sleeping peacefully.


We’re so grateful for our generous community and we’re so excited to celebrate Generosity Breeds Joy Day with you! Here are a few helpful links to keep in mind when donating supplies to our organization:

JHS Official Supply Wish List

JHS Amazon Wish List

Monetary Donations 

Donation Info – Drop Off Location & Hours

Volunteering and Fostering

Facebook Birthday Fundraiser 


Update: Adopted!

Winchester loves being surrounded by people and going on Dog Day Out adventures! Many friends call him the ultimate snuggle-bug. Scratch his sweet spot on his neck and be his new best friend!

You’ll find Winchester in his suite in the JHS Adoption Center at 8464 Beach Blvd. Let someone on our team know if you’d like to meet him!


Andy is a friendly cat who has lived with other cats before. He enjoys many cat naps throughout the day while waiting for his favorite activity: dinner time!

Andy’s adoption fee is sponsored by Peaches Pays. Come meet him in Group Room 1 in the JHS Adoption Center at 8464 Beach Blvd.


Carroll is a sweet pup who enjoys focusing on the little things in life – like how many flowers she can smell in a row. Her perfect day would include a long walk, lots of snuggles, and YOU!

Carroll is a Dolly’s Dream Dog, so her adoption is sponsored. You’ll find Carroll in the Green Run at the JHS Adoption Center – just let our team know if you’d like to meet her!


Just like the car, Ferrari is a very sleek and elegant cat. She is a catnip connoisseur and enjoys sunbathing with her feline friends here at JHS. Ferrari dreams to live a life of luxury in your lap!

Want to meet Ferrari? You can find her in Group Room 1 in the JHS Adoption Center!

Thanks to a generous grant from our friends at Dolly’s Dream Fund, JHS was able to launch our first-ever “Dolly’s Dream School” for dogs at JHS. Led by a certified trainer, these lucky pups were selected for a four-week training session. The dogs attended with a JHS volunteer and they got 4 special training classes. They learned a lot of new skills including sit, come when called, stay, and leash manners. These honored dogs come with sponsored adoption fees and also go home with awesome dog supplies. If the dog was adopted during the four weeks, their new parents could continue the training class at no cost, thanks to Dolly. Here are a few of the dogs who ended up getting adopted after completing school:




Harper is a sweet girl who was looking for a loving family. She wasn’t getting a lot of attention at first but once the Dolly’s Dream School tag was put upon her kennel with all of her training info she was adopted shortly after by this wonderful family. She learned a lot of new commands during school which allowed her to become the best girl she can be. She is just one great example of how Dolly’s Dream School can change a dog’s life. On May 5th, 2019 Harper was adopted by her lovely family pictured above! On the left is a picture of just one of the many tricks she learned during her time at Dolly’s Dream School. We couldn’t be more proud of Harper. And we’re so happy her new siblings decided to attend our summer camp this year as well. The best family for the best girl, Harper!



Chicken Strip:

Chicken Strip is one of our more unique Dolly’s Dream School graduates. He was one of the older boys that we have had at the shelter throughout the years since he was 10 at the time he was here. His age did not affect him from being the best boy though. He loved learning new tricks and showing off his skills. He was a very calm and patient dog, which made him a perfect candidate for adoption. That’s why on April 20th, 2019 he was adopted! His wonderful parents are pictured above with him, along with an adorable picture of Chicken Strip participating in school. After he was adopted his new parents even kept attending the classes with him! We are so happy he found a great family to spend the rest of his days with.




Charlie was one of our more energetic boys during his stay here at JHS. He was very eager to learn and quick to pick up new skills during class. He was super outgoing and full of energy which drew his new parents to him! During Dolly’s Dream School classes, Charlie learned how to sit, stay and come when called. He loved to show off his new tricks. He came to the class with his foster parents and they loved him so much, they ended up adopting him! We are so proud of this good boy. Charlie’s new parents are pictured attending the class with him above.




Tinkerbell was one of the sweetest girls we’ve ever had participate in Dolly’s Dream school. She was very loving and easy-going. According to her volunteer trainers in Dolly’s school, she was one of the calmest dogs you would ever meet! She loved getting attention and did very well in school. She got along with children really well and was able to participate in the summer camp activities with the camp kids. Tinkerbell was so happy to finally find a home! She is pictured above with her new mommy.


JHS is immensely grateful to Dolly’s Dream Fund for creating Dolly’s Dream School and for making this possible. Because of your support,  each amazing pup was adopted into a wonderful, loving home! The dogs learned a lot of great skills that allowed them to open up and become the best pups they can be, helping break the stereotype about shelter dogs and “bully” type dogs. Thank you so much again to Dolly’s Dream Fund for making Dolly’s Dream School a reality.


By. Hannah Shiver


About Dolly’s Dream Fund:

Since 2017, JHS has not used breed labels. If you walk through the kennels or look at our website, you will see “mixed breed” for all of our dogs. Why? We believe that it’s important to know the dog for who they are and not how they look. However, that doesn’t stop some from believing stereotypes and myths about certain breeds that make it difficult to find these dogs homes.  Our “blocky head” friends who look like a “bully breed” are wonderful, loving companions and thanks to Dolly, their dream of finding homes will come true!

Donating is a great way to give back to your community. What better way to give back than to help animals in your local shelter?

Every shelter has a list of items that are needed for day-to-day functions around the shelter. Food, treats, kitten formula, litter, etc. But what about the unusual items that you wouldn’t even think about donating?

In celebration of Generosity Breeds Joy Day on November 9, we’ve put together an Unconventional Wish List featuring a ton of fun and unique things we regularly use here at JHS. You can purchase items from our Unconventional Wish List and send them directly to us by visiting jaxhumane.org/amazon.

Here are five of the more unusual items that we use around our shelter that you would never know we need:

#1 Kitchen Twine – When dogs and cats are intubated during surgeries, we use kitchen twine to help secure the tubes to ensure the animals remain healthy and safe. We use it frequently for all the surgeries we do here at JHS.

#2 Bath Buddy – We utilize these while performing medical exams and giving our dogs a bath at JHS. We smear some peanut butter on the Bath Buddy and the dogs are distracted during vaccinations and bath time, making it safer for everyone involved.

#3 Pool Shock – Sometimes our animals can make a mess. Pool shock is a versatile cleaning agent used often in many aspects of JHS. We use it for its sanitizing purposes, like disinfecting kennels and sterilizing surgical equipment.

#4 Pet Corrector – We use Pet Corrector for the noise it makes. It helps when dogs get into a small scuffle or yelling match during doggy playgroups. The sound surprises them and then we are able to lead them to make better choices.

#5 Paper food trays – You know those paper trays hot dogs and nachos come in at sporting events and fairs? We use them as feeding dishes for cats who are in medical quarantine, as they are disposable and we don’t have to worry about the risk of disease transfer. We also use these as feeding dishes at large offsite events.

And don’t forget – animals in need can always use your time and talent. Perhaps you can’t adopt a new pet or make a large donation. That’s okay! Your generosity is still needed. Volunteering and fostering are two excellent ways to help animals with the gift of time. No time? No problem? Consider raising funds with your business or even having a Facebook fundraiser on your birthday. There is never a gift that won’t make a difference.

At the Jacksonville Humane Society, we are so grateful for our generous community. You never cease to amaze us with their giving spirit. Here a few helpful links to check when donating supplies to our organization: