Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Malik Jackson is our new hero! And a hero for many lucky cats and dogs. The football player recently paid the adoption fees for a whopping 181 animals at the Jacksonville Humane Society (JHS) in Florida!

JHS partnered up with PetSmart Charities, as well as Malik Jackson’s foundation Malik’s Gifts for a huge two-day adoption weekend earlier in May 2017. Adoption events were held at the JHS, as well as two local PetSmart locations. Partnering with Malik Jackson’s foundation was of course more than enough, but then Malik Jackson surprised everyone by stopping by the adoption event and paying for 181 adoptions!

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“He came on Sunday, and everyone was really excited to see him. Jackson was able to meet fans, and meet new families and interact with some of the pets,” Lindsay Layendecker, Development Manager for JHS told SB Nation.

The football star not only said hello to fans but also spent time with the dogs and cats! “The coolest part was when some of the adopters actually got to thank him for providing the adoption fees,” Layendecker said to SB Nation

One of the pups adopted was Prince, who got to take a photo with Jackson and his new Mom! Because she adopted Prince for free, thanks to Malik’s generosity, she spent the money she saved at PetSmart getting Prince’s home ready. 

The cats also received attention from Jackson! This adorable kitten enjoyed a nice cuddle session with the star.

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Looks like this young girl will have years of happiness with her new feline friend, all thanks to Jackson’s kindness! 

 

Because of Jackson’s support, the adoption event ended up being one of the biggest for JHS and provided well-needed relief to the crowded shelter. Malik’s Gift director Rodney Smith told SB Nation, “A bunch of the locations were full. This really helped all the centers out where they hold the adoptions.”

And it seems like Jackson is looking for new four-legged friend himself. Jackson loved spending time with the animals so much, he was talking about taking several of them home with him.  “I think he’s going to end up [adopting], he fell in love with about 10 of them,” Smith told SN Nation. Wow!

We love seeing celebrities use their platform to speak up for animals in need! With six to eight million animals entering U.S. shelters every year and only around half ever getting adopted, animals need as many voices as possible speaking up for them.

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If you feel inspired after reading this story, you can make a difference in the lives of homeless animals and you don’t have to be a football player!

Organizations rely heavily on volunteers to assist with animal care and day-to-day operations. There’s never a shortage of things to do and opportunities are available for people of every skill set. You can help take dogs for walks, give them food and water, and make sure their area is clean. If your preference is helping out behind the scenes, you can volunteer your services by assisting with fundraisers, outreach events or general office tasks. And please, always adopt and never shop!

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Image source: Jacksonville Humane Society/Facebook