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richmond, virginia, animal shelter, dogs, adoption
Photo by Terricks Noah on Unsplash

Richmond kids help shelter dogs get adopted.

There is not much cuter in this world than dogs, with the exception of kids, but putting the two together makes for all kinds of adorable. That’s exactly what Cody and Marie Lucas found when they were on the hunt to rescue a dog from an animal shelter. They knew they wanted a dog and had been to several animal shelters looking for the perfect pup to adopt. When they got to Richmond Animal Care and Control in Virginia they noticed something different about the kennels that held the dogs up for adoption.

There were hand-drawn pictures and colorful notes attached to the dog kennels. On the kennel of a 5-year-old American Staffordshire terrier named Duquesa, the note read “I’m cute and short haired. I can cuddle and bark. Please adopt me.” The note was written in a child’s handwriting. There was another note on Duquesa’s kennel written in Spanish that read “Yo necesito to be adopted. Yo necesito food and agua. Please adopt me.” Marie said that after reading the letters and looking at the dog's sweet face “how could I not love her?”


Looking around the shelter, the Lucases found notes attached to the kennels of other dogs that had health issues and dogs that could be viewed as undesirable by adopters. The notes were all written by children around 8 years old and from the perspective of the dog who was looking for a forever home. The doodles that accompanied the sweet stories added to the appeal for the dogs.

Cody and Marie Lucas with Bonnie.

Richmond Animal Care and Control

The couple decided to bring Duquesa, renamed Bonnie, home with them after reading the letter. The pup had been in the shelter for more than a month and was hard to find a home for due to her limp. There are around 170 animals at the shelter and they stay there until they are adopted in most cases, unless they are deemed too sick to be rehabilitated. Most animals are adopted within three weeks, with the exception of the ones who may have health problems or other issues that make them less desirable, which is where these cute notes come in.

The letters were part of a class project coordinated by Kensey Jones, a second grade teacher at St. Michael’s Episcopal School in Richmond. Jones has been a volunteer at the shelter for the past four years. She also has three rescue dogs of her own, so it’s safe to say this project was close to her heart. Jones wanted to find a way to help the dogs less likely to be adopted find their forever families.

Christie Peters hangs letters on kennels of available dogs.

Richmond Animal Care and Control

Jones told The Washington Post, “The idea just came to me to connect persuasive writing with these adoptable pets that need a forever home.” She thought it would be “a way that I could make their writing real for [the students], and actually make an impact on the world and our Richmond community, specifically.”

The shelter's director, Christie Peters, has a son is in Jones' second grade class. So when Jones approached her with the idea, Peters enthusiastically agreed.

A letter written to hang on a dog named Sunday’s kennel reads: “I would love to be adopted. If you do adopt me, I hope I will brighten up your Sundays like the sun. You’ll be my Sunday Special, and I hope I’ll be yours!” Jones admitted she was surprised at what the kids came up with and that it “pulled at the heartstrings.”

Shelter dogs are always looking for a home that will care for them forever, and this is just one way to make sure they get the families they deserve. If you’re thinking about adding an animal to your family, consider adopting from a local animal shelter. Maybe you, too, will be met with sweet notes from kiddos helping to facilitate successful adoptions.

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