Can’t adopt, but looking to spend some time with a JHS pup?

Join the JHS foster family by taking a dog on a “Shelter Staycation.” Anyone 18+ can fill out our questionnaire and schedule an appointment so JHS staff can match you with the best fit. Your furry house guest can stay two nights with you to get the shelter break they deserve.

Curious about the process? Keep reading to hear about Lindsey and Jackpot’s adventures!

Jackpot enjoyed his “Shelter Staycation” with his new pal Lindsey! He got puppuccinos, lots of love, treats, and plenty of walks. Jackpot’s shelter break allowed us to learn new things about him, like how much he loves car rides! The Staycations give JHS pets a chance to let their true personality shine outside of the shelter. Before his Staycation, we had no idea how much he loves adventures and snuggles!

According to a study done by Carrol College, dog’s cortisol levels (stress hormones) dramatically drop after just a one-night foster stay. In between all the walks and love, Jackpot got a chance to decompress and relax. After this rest, Jackpot came back to JHS recharged and ready to find a home! During Jackpot’s break, the JHS staff were able to give more attention to other pets while he snuggled with Lindsey.

Here is Lindsey’s take on Shelter Staycation:

1. Where did you hear about this program?
I follow JHS on social media and have friends who work there. I saw the ad for the new program and immediately sent in my applications.

2. What inspired you to try the program?
I grew up with dogs and I’m a crazy dog person. Even at my job people joke about dogs going by and “oh, Lindsey needs to go on break to pet the dog.” My landlord only allows me to keep animals for a short period of time, so I can’t have an animal of my own. I saw this program and thought it would be a great chance for me to have my “dog fix” as well as giving a pup a chance to have a relaxing weekend.

3. How do you feel about the person/dog matching process? Do you feel like you were accurately matched with a great dog?
YES! Originally I had another dog in mind but she was adopted. My friend at JHS sent me pictures of him and told me how great he was but I didn’t mention him when I went for my appointment. Coincidentally enough, the matchmaker said Jackpot was the first on her list for me to try and I was so confident that he was a great dog for me. He was so well behaved I’m convinced he practiced. Honestly, I couldn’t have asked for a better dog.

4. How was your overall experience during the Shelter Staycation?
I would rate it a 40 out of 10. He was so fun and energetic but polite and quiet when it came to downtime. He was house trained and crate trained and slept through the whole night. We got along perfectly and I was super upset when it was time to go back. He even has such a personality, he’s hilarious! He snores like a real 80-year-old man and rolls his eyes and head butts you when you don’t give him all your attention. He’s the best dog ever.

Lindsey and Jackpot’s successful Staycation have our pups wagging their tails in excitement for new adventures. JHS is excited to add Shelter Staycations to enrich our shelter pet’s lives. We want our pups to feel their best so they can find the perfect family!

For more information or to try the program, visit

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 to learn more.


Black Friday is coming and that means deals and savings. But there’s no greater saving than life-saving! Join us this weekend for FREE* adoptions! Come out to 8464 Beach Blvd. between Friday, November 29, and Sunday, December 1, to find your new furry friend. In addition to the hundreds of dogs, cats, kittens, and puppies available for adoption at JHS, our friends at Animal Care and Protective Services will also be joining us with some special furry guests. You won’t want to miss this lifesaving special!

*Additional fees may apply

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.

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

  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 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 

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!

It may not be Girl Scout Cookie Season, but this story is just as sweet. 🍪

Meet Girl Scout Troop 2286. When it came time to pick a project for their “Bronze Award”, the girls decided to support animals in their community by making “Pet Starter Packs” for dogs and cats in their communities.

The scouts spent time learning what supplies would be needed, shopping for the best prices and tie-dying the pillowcases. Each pillowcase was transformed into a bag and filled with the supplies a family would need to care for a pet during the first few days in its new home.

The bags had items such as dog/cat food, bowls, toys, litter boxes and scoops, and dog/cat treats. Labels were also attached so we could easily identify which bags were for dogs vs. cats.


Girl Scout Troop 2286 with JHS team member Allie Plummer.
Not only will this project benefit families and pets in our town, but the girls learned many valuable lessons. They researched supplies needed to care for pets, comparison shopped, designed a bag that serves dual purposes as a pillowcase, and even learned how to tie-dye! Perhaps the biggest lesson of all was the joy that comes from helping others.

The project also has another layer – sustainability. According to Troop Leader Débora McCarty, “We are providing a simple flyer to be posted on the Jax Humane Society’s counter, so all who come can see how easy it is to put a bag together. We are also spreading the word on social media.”

Each bag had a label for “dog” or “cat” and supplies inside.
As a local, independent 501c3 non-profit, the Jacksonville Humane Society relies on donations to support our mission. Donations come in all shapes and sizes – some even come in tie-dyed pillowcases. We are delighted that these young ladies chose to support keeping pets and people together. As we say … generosity breeds joy!

If you would like to conduct a similar project, here are the steps to take:

  1. Answer the following questions – how do you care for a dog or cat? what supplies are needed?
  2. Decide how you will purchase the necessary items. Shop around!
  3. Purchase pillowcases and tie-dye.
  4. Make a list of items to go in each bag. Label as dog or cat.
  5. Select an animal shelter in your area and deliver!

More Info:

Find other fun ideas on the JHS Pinterest: