Staffers at the Fayetteville Animal Protection Society found this crate full of puppies on the shelter’s doorstep with a note on Jan. 13. Fayetteville Animal Protection Society photo

A broken dog crate tied together with zip ties arrived on the doorstep of the Fayetteville Animal Protection Society in North Carolina earlier this month, covered with a torn, striped blanket.

When employees looked inside the crate at around 7 a.m., they found five tiny black puppies and a handwritten letter from the person who’d dropped them off, said Jackie Peery, executive director of the no-kill, nonprofit shelter. Although the puppies were a little hungry, they were in good condition, she said.

“Please help! I found these puppies sadly after noticing a local stray dog that I would often feed when I could,” the penciled note began. “[She was] dead … by the road … she had been hit by a car. I knew from feeding her she had puppies somewhere, and finally from searching where I would usually see her, I found them.”

The anonymous writer apologized for leaving the pups and explained that he was homeless and couldn’t afford to care for them.

“I just want them to be given the chance their mother like myself was never given,” he wrote. “Please do not think poorly of me but it felt wrong leaving them in the cold waiting on a mother that would not be coming home.”

He signed the note, “Sincerly – Nameless Man.”


Staffers were so touched by the letter that they decided to post it on Facebook two days later on Jan. 15, Peery said.

“The night he’d been searching for the puppies was a night of treacherous weather with tornado watches,” Peery said. “He’d been feeding the mother dog, and it was obviously important to him to make sure her puppies were safe.”

Nearly 2,000 people have liked the shelter’s post and left hundreds of comments and offers to adopt the pups, as well as offers to help the man who dropped them off.

“He is homeless his next meal isn’t promised and yet he fed a stray,” one person commented.

“Please keep us posted if you find this kind man,” wrote another. “I’m sure many people (me included) would be willing to do what is most feasible to help him out and, of course, recognize him for his generosity. Wish I could adopt one of these puppies. Will donate.”

A third person wrote: “The puppies are adorable. I would like 2 adopt when they are available.”


Peery said she hoped the man would learn about the Facebook post and come forward so he could be properly thanked.

“To this compassionate individual, wherever you are, we want you to know that your act of kindness has not gone unnoticed,” Peery wrote on Facebook. “Your empathy in the face of adversity gives us hope and inspiration.”

A shelter staffer holds one of the puppies now up for adoption. Fayetteville Animal Protection Society photo

She offered to have him come by and visit the puppies. While she has not heard from him, she said that if she does, she’d like to help get him whatever assistance he needs.

“His selfless act not only saved these puppies – it sparked a broader conversation about animals and people in need,” Peery said.

The puppies, two males, and three females appear to be about 8 or 9 weeks old and have so far been thriving at the shelter. They are available for adoption – starting Thursday – to Cumberland County residents only, so the shelter can be sure the puppies are brought back to be spayed and neutered.

“Already, we’ve had dozens of people ask about adopting them,” Peery said.


The shelter raised about $3,500 from Facebook and PayPal donations as a result of the Facebook post about the puppies, she said. Since there is not a veterinarian on staff, donations will cover expenses including spaying, neutering, deworming, vaccinations, and microchipping, she said.

Staffers named the pups Fortune, Kismet, Chance, Fate and Serendipity to reflect their journey and the person who tucked them inside the crate.

“Their names symbolize hope and the new beginning that lies ahead of them,” Peery said. “Because of a stranger’s kindness, they’re getting a new chance – something we’d also like to see their rescuer get.”

Fayetteville’s municipal shelter is often overflowing with unwanted pets, Peery said, and her shelter has room for about 60 dogs and cats at a time. Nationwide, there’s a similar problem, with pet adoption numbers down after the pandemic.

If there’s a bright side, she said, the publicity around the five puppies, including a story done by TV station WRAL in Raleigh, has helped bring in donations to help more animals.

“A story of heartache is being turned into one of new beginnings,” Peery said.

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