Act of random kindness waives all adoption fees at animal shelter

The Capel family gathers around their newly adopted puppy at the Fayetteville Animal Shelter on Friday. The Chihuahua was abused by her former owner, and Tessa Capel said she was excited to offer her a loving home.

Photo: Caroline Bauman

Thanks to Mitchell Communications Group, Christmas came a little early for four-year-old Cepriana Capel this year.

In an “act of random kindness,” a team from the Fayetteville-based company decided to sponsor every available pet at the Fayetteville Animal Shelter on Thursday, Dec. 20, meaning all adoption fees are covered. Adoption fees per animal can range from $30 to $60.

“She’s been begging for a puppy for her Christmas gift,” Cepriana’s mother Tessa Capel said. “We wanted to adopt, to give that animal a second chance. Because all of the adoption fees are taken care of, this is a task we could take on financially.”

A pup up for adoption returns to his kennel after playing outside on Friday.

Caroline Bauman

The donation came as a total surprise, Fayetteville Animal Services Superintendent Justine Lentz said.

“The Mitchell team just walked in and asked how they could help,” Lentz said. “After walking around and visiting with our animals, they decided to sponsor every one of them. This will especially help draw attention to animals who have been with us for a while.”

Sponsoring the shelter was just one part of the Mitchell Group’s annual giveback program, “Ignite,” President and CEO Elise Mitchell said. Nine teams were given $500 and four hours to spend it all away on random acts of kindness in the community.

“Our team picked the shelter, and we arrived not necessarily knowing what the need was,” Mitchell said. “Walking cage to cage and seeing all the animals, I couldn’t help but fall in love with every one of them. I couldn’t walk about without trying to give each one a home.”

During the holiday season, the shelter usually sees an upswing in adoptions, Lentz said. This donation was the first time the shelter had any interaction with the Mitchell Group, and Lentz said she was eternally grateful to the company for thinking of them.

Superintendent Justine Lentz answers a phone call at the front desk of the Fayetteville Animal Shelter.

Caroline Bauman

“To me, this is the perfect time to act on what the holiday season is truly about,” said Lentz, the owner of three dogs and one cat. “You see people being kinder to people and animals alike. It’s a great time to think about how your lives can be improved by bringing pets into your family.”

In addition to the animal shelter, Mitchell teams volunteered their time and resources at local organizations and charities, such as 7Hills Homeless Center, Lifesource International and the Veterans Administration Hospital.

“Every year we learn how much need in our community isn’t being met on a daily basis,” Mitchell said. “Fayetteville is our home, and we feel it has given so much to us. We want to repay it and give back in any small way.”

In the future, Lentz said she hoped people will be inspired by the actions of the Mitchell teams.

“It’s amazing the ripple effect one good action can have on the community,” Lentz said. “I want people to realize that the small actions, such as adopting or sponsoring one animal, can also make a huge difference.”

After some deliberation, the Capel family decided to adopt a Chihuahua. The dog was abused by her former owner, and Tessa Capel said she was excited to offer her a new and loving home.

“I’m going to name her Cupcake,” Cepriana said, smiling. “She’s going to be safe with me.”

More photos

Cepriana Capel sits with her family member, Maggie Capel, and newly adopted Chihuahua on Friday, Dec. 21. Cepriana said she hopes to name her puppy, “Cupcake.”

Caroline Bauman

Carmen Jones holds her 11-month-old baby while looking at dogs at the Fayetteville Animal Shelter on Friday. Jones said her family is looking to adopt a pet for Christmas.

Caroline Bauman

Two of Animal Services Superintendent Justine Lentz’s pups perch on the desk of the Fayetteville Animal Shelter. Lentz said even on a bad day, having her pets at work brings her joy.

Caroline Bauman

A volunteer at the Fayetteville Animal Shelter leads a dog into its kennel Friday, Dec. 21. Superintendent Justine Lentz said she hopes to see an increase in adoptions throughout the holiday season.

Caroline Bauman