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Local Heroes Come to Animals’ Rescue

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Pet Rescue

Two groups that that save animal lives

After losing the German Shepherd rescue dog she’d loved for a decade when he died suddenly, Debbie Robinson said she’d never own another dog.

She decided that, when she was emotionally ready, she would instead foster homeless dogs at her Peachtree Corners home. She already had an organization in mind — Canine Pet Rescue (CPR), a Dacula-based nonprofit that rescues German Shepherds and other herding breeds from kill shelters in the South.

Robinson and many other local residents are saving animals’ lives through CPR and other groups such as Furkids, an Atlanta-based animal rescue and shelter nonprofit that operates a thrift store in Peachtree Corners.

About a dozen Peachtree Corners residents, including CPR’s adoption coordinator Therese Aleman and foster coordinator Lila Hunter, volunteer or foster with CPR. Some of these volunteers and other local residents have adopted dogs through the organization, which helped find permanent homes for 100 dogs last year, Aleman said.

Samantha Shelton, CEO and founder of the Furkids animal rescue and shelter program, holds a puppy available for adoption while visiting Furkids’ new property in Cumming.
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Meeting Maui

Robinson visited CPR two days after Dante died in July 2017 to donate his unopened medicine. She let the group know she was interested in fostering but said she was not “100 percent ready.”

That resistance evaporated quickly. In September, she and her husband Barry accepted their first foster dog. In October, several foster dogs later, they took in the dog they could not part with — a thin, approximately 1-year-old German Shepherd they named Maui.

“For the first week, whenever she found a corner to hide in, that’s what she would do,” Robinson said.

The following week they got a call that someone was interested in adopting Maui. By that time, she had begun to allow the Robinsons to pet her and show her love.

“I just looked at Barry and said, ‘I can’t go through this again,“ Robinson said. Maui had found her new permanent home, and she’d brought with her a startling surprise.

Two weeks after arriving at the Robinsons’ home, Maui was at a vet’s office to be spayed when it was discovered that she was pregnant. She gave birth a week and a half later to 11 puppies. Eight males and one female, who was blind, survived.

CPR told the Robinsons they were willing to take the puppies off their hands, but the Robinsons chose to foster them all until they were old enough to be adopted out — a minimum of 10 weeks by CPR’s rules.

“We had a rip-roaring time,” Robinson said, of those days.

By last March, seven of the puppies had been adopted by families who regularly send the Robinsons pictures and news of them. The female dog was adopted by a service in Alabama that trained her to be a therapy dog.

The Robinsons kept one of the puppies and named him Hobie.
“I don’t think I would have made it through Dante’s passing if it hadn’t been for these dogs,” Robinson said. “I feel like Dante is back with me through Hobie.”

CPR always has about 20 to 24 dogs available for adoption, housing them in foster homes and in a kennel at the horse farm of Carla Brown, a Gwinnett County State Court judge who founded CPR 10 years ago, in April 2009.

Brown said the Robinsons are “amazing.”

“They really threw themselves into the organization in a way I know they didn’t intend to do, and they really went into it with their whole heart,” she said.

CPR is all-volunteer and privately funded through donations. It’s a “a tiny rescue that does huge things,” including taking on large cases that some national rescues have turned their backs on, Brown said.

She then shared one of her organization’s mantras. “Saving one dog will not change the world,” Brown said, “but for that dog, the world will change forever.”

Second-hand savior

Furkids serves thousands of animals each year in what they say is the largest cage-free, no-kill shelter in the Southeast for rescued cats and at Sadie’s Place, a no-kill shelter for dogs.

The group subsists on donations and with proceeds from its thrift stores, including a 9,000-square-foot store in Peachtree Corners that sells a wide variety of donated, gently used, merchandise.

Samantha Shelton, the group’s founder and CEO and a Peachtree Corners resident, is grateful to her community for supporting the thrift store since 2007.

“It’s been a tremendous source of revenue to support our program and to help us save lives,” Shelton said. “Every time you donate an item from your home or come shopping with us, you’re truly saving an animal’s life.”

Furkids has rescued and altered more than 30,000 animals since its founding in 2002. About 1,000 animals are in the program today in Furkids shelters, PetSmart and Petco adoption centers and more than 400 foster homes.

Last year, Furkids bought nine acres in Cumming, at 5235 Union Hill Road, to consolidate its shelters onto one property. Also last year, the group launched its “TransFur” transport service, taking rescue animals from kill shelters across Georgia to no-kill shelters in Northern states, where there is high demand for adoptable animals. So far, 1,300 cats and dogs have been transported, Shelton said.

“We’ve done some amazing life-saving throughout metro Atlanta and all across Georgia and it’s really because of the community support that we’ve been able to save as many lives as we’ve been able to,” Shelton said. “We’re excited for the future.”

Learn More Here

Canine Pet Rescue — P.O. Box 248, Lawrenceville, Ga. 30046, 1-855-435-7473, caninepetrescue.com.

Furkids Thrift Store — 4015 Holcomb Bridge Road, Suite 400, Peachtree Corners, Ga. 30092, 770-817-1405, furkids.org. Furkids’ cat shelter is just outside Peachtree Corners at 2650 Pleasantdale Road. Its dog shelter is in Alpharetta at 1520 Union Hill Road. Furkids also has thrift stores in Marietta and Lawrenceville. ■

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Community

Gwinnett Animal Welfare to Provide Free Rabies Vaccinations at Atlanta Pet Expo

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free rabie shots

As part of an initiative to help provide a safe and healthy community, Gwinnett Animal Welfare is providing free rabies vaccinations at the Atlanta Pet Expo on Saturday, April 6 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, April 7 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“We want to provide an opportunity for all pets to receive their annual rabies vaccination,” said, Gwinnett Animal Welfare and Enforcement Manager Alan Davis. “Rabies is almost always fatal if untreated; prevention is the best way to stop its spread and keep our pets safe.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, rabies is a deadly infection that affects the central nervous system and can be transmitted from animals to humans. Principal carriers of rabies are some insect-eating bats and wild carnivores, such as raccoons, skunks, foxes and coyotes. Rabies kills 59,000 people worldwide each year. 

The Atlanta Pet Expo will be held at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds, located at 2405 Sugarloaf Parkway in Lawrenceville. Activities include exhibitors, pet adoptions, free nail trimming, obedience demonstrations, a dog agility course and a costume contest. Other low-cost vaccinations and microchipping will be provided by the Animal Alliance of Georgia during the same event.

The Gwinnett Animal Shelter is open for adoptions Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Gwinnett Animal Welfare is located at 884 Winder Highway in Lawrenceville. You can find updated information about available pets, adoption specials and activities at www.GwinnettAnimalWelfare.com.

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Community

Gwinnett county animal welfare hosts inaugural adopt-a-sweetheart valentine’s event

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Gwinnett Pet Adoption

Forget the traditional gifts of candy and roses; Gwinnett County Animal Welfare is hosting an Adopt-A-Sweetheart special Feb. 11 through Feb. 16 with the discounted price of $2.14 for each dog and cat.

On Feb. 16, the sweetheart special will include vendors as well as gifts for new adoptions and a photo backdrop to capture joyful Valentine moments of these pets as they depart to their forever homes.

Alan Davis, manager of the Gwinnett County Animal Welfare and Enforcement Division, suggests that Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to give a gift that will bring a lifetime of smiles and happiness to the whole family.

“Adopting is a gift for both the pet and your Valentine,” Davis said. “Giving a home to a shelter pet is a memorable gift from the heart.”

Pet adoption fees are normally $45 for dogs and $20 for cats. Adopters can usually take their new pet home on the same day upon completion of paperwork and adoption counseling. All pets adopted from Gwinnett County Animal Welfare are spayed or neutered, have a microchip and are vaccinated.

Volunteer opportunities are available for this event as well as several others. Interested individuals are asked to visit www.volunteergwinnett.net to sign up to volunteer for Gwinnett Animal Welfare’s events.

Gwinnett Animal Welfare is located at 844 Winder Highway, Lawrenceville.  Adoption hours are Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. Up-to-date information, including available pets and activities, can be found at www.gwinnettanimalwelfare.com.

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