Congratulations to Joy: WNC Pet of the Year!

We feel so lucky to live in a community that has a genuine love for animals. Once again our amazing community came together to help animals in need by supporting Asheville Humane Society in their most recent fundraiser, the "WNC Pet of the Year" photo contest. Over 150 photos were submitted for a chance to be named WNC Pet of the Year. Each photo was accompanied by the pet's amazing story. The community had a chance to vote on the photos. Each vote cost one dollar and all the donations will help shelter animals at the Asheville Humane Society.

With your generous support, the Asheville Humane Society raised over $22,000 for animals in need! Thank you to everyone who voted for these phenomenal animals. Our staff members who entered the contest with their Asheville Humane Society adoptees were touched by the support of family, friends and the community who voted for them. They wish to send out a big "Thank You" to everyone who voted and helped to raise funds for the shelter animals.

We also want to Congratulate the WNC Pet of the Year: Joy!

Here is Joy's story that was submitted by her mom, Andrea:

"I’m a veterinarian and Joy was brought to me in December, 2016, at the young age of 4 weeks old. Her rear legs were paralyzed, likely as the result of trauma from being dropped by a bird of prey. This little kitten was such a fighter from day one, when she appeared in my office soaked to the core with a large wound near her spinal cord region! I knew I had to do everything I could to help save her life.

"Since that first day, she and I have been inseparable. She came home with me and I first provided the medical attention she needed to thrive. Next, she and I tried everything to get her to regain function to her rear limbs but all failed. Acupuncture, water therapy (when she tolerated it), Assisi loop, physical therapy, IV drugs, the damage was too far gone. I felt as though I failed her, that is until I took a hard look at her. She was truly unfazed by her disability. To her, life was perfect and she loved everyone and everything in it. So I shifted my focus instead to celebrate her life.

"Joy comes everywhere with me and she’s a remarkable traveler. We have hiked, visited local breweries, strolled in her stroller to cities, festivals and animal sanctuary events where she has interacted with children, horses, goats, pigs, dogs and adults. Wherever we go, she’s always the life of the party. Children flock to her, adults ooh and ahh over her and she happily lets everyone get their chance to pet her and give her love. Once she even had a group of children at a cherry blossom festival perform a puppet show for her. She calmly sat in her stroller and watched. The children were elated and the parents took hundreds of pictures!

"Her name is perfect for all these above stories; she literally brings joy to everyone around her. She teaches us that it’s okay to be different, but also not to let those differences stop us. Joy comes to work with me every day at the ASPCA Spay/Neuter Alliance where we practice and preach controlling the pet population with spay/neuter techniques to decrease the number of pets surrendered to shelters. I like to think of her as our ambassador. We participate in walks to raise money for shelter animals, farm sanctuary animals and once we even supported autistic children in a charity event.

"Joy will soon be registered as a therapy pet so she can help more seniors, adults and children open up to her. The amount of love she gives just amazes me every day. And to see her move around effortlessly on her front limbs warms my heart. I know she is happy and enjoying life to the fullest. Now if only we could all learn from her!"

Congratulations to Joy and her family for winning WNC's Pet of the Year and raising the most funds to help other animals in need!