Guest Post – Fostering a Pet…Make Your Own Holiday Story

   This post is provided by Alana, one of the Pet Sitters at Fetch! Pet Care of NW Atlanta and the owner of ABJ Photography.  She shares some of her experiences working with a pet fostering program and how you may be inspired to get involved and give a pet a very happy new year!

 

In 2009 ABJ Photography was born out of a love for photography.  Little did I know that in just a few years my business would take on another level of passion and dedication for capturing life’s memories. 

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 In 2012 after losing our amazing black lab Tess I turned to the Atlanta Lab Rescue looking for some healing through giving back.   My Tess was a black lab, and I was drawn to this rescue group for that reason.  In the beginning it was simply to use my profession of photography to help their dogs look better in online profiles.  I was guided a few years ago to use my talents to help others. 

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As you will see above our involvement quickly grew, and soon we opened our home to other labs and lab mixes who were in need of homes.  During the course of the year, we even ended up adopting one of our own!  The process of bring a dog in need of a home into yours temporarily is called fostering.  Over the course of the last year David and I have fostered six dogs.  Some dogs come from shelters, some are surrendered by their owners due to life altering circumstances, and some have literally been rescued from unkind owners. 

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Fostering is very important in the rescue process.  This is an opportunity for a loving pet owner to share their knowledge and kindness to an animal that may not have been shown that love or respect their entire lives.  It also keeps them out of overwhelmed shelters that can cause psychological damage.  This Holiday season we have more than 20 dogs living in homes with volunteer foster families!  And, the Atlanta Lab Rescue is close to saving the lives of 2000 dogs over the past six years. 

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There are so many great rescue groups out there, and many dogs still needing foster families and forever homes.  To get involved with fostering you can connect with your local shelter or rescue group and inquire about foster applications.

 

As you can see through the eyes of some of our foster dogs above fostering can be a lot of fun.  It is also through those experiences that I transitioned my business to specialize in pet and family photography. Pets are our confidants, our family, our friends. We are lucky enough to share our lives with these incredible beings for a short time, and it is my passion to capture images that are true to life and lasting memories. 

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National Pet Month

   Now that we are getting weather in Atlanta that feels a little like the way spring is supposed to feel, I’ve noticed dogs out about as much as the pollen.  As I drive to my dog walking jobs with Fetch! Pet Care, Image I see all sorts of breeds out with their owners.  May is National Pet Month, and many organizations are promoting adoptions so you can have a new pet to give you another reason to be outside and enjoy the nice spring weather.

      It may be as easy as ever to see some of the pets that need homes.  The Cobb County Animal control is having a big adoption fair at Jim Miller Park on May 18.  On June 9, an animal rescue fair at Willis Equestrian Park in Alpharetta is being billed as the largest pet adoption event in the Southeastern United States.  The Georgia Homeless Pets has pets it is trying to find a home for at Pet Smarts stores in Smryna and Austell. every weekend.  Of course, most days the Humane society of Cobb County Imageis open for you to come in and look for a pet.  They mostly just have cats because of the limited space there.  The Atlanta Humane Society has two offices: one on Howell Mill Rd. and one on Mansell Rd. in Roswell.  Most breeds have a rescue group in the Atlanta area or somewhere in Georgia.  There are too many other rescue groups in the metro Atlanta area to mention all of them, but many will be represented at the event at Willis Park. 

    The first thing about adopting a pet is making sure that everyone in the family is on Imageboard.  You may want to contact trainers about what breeds fit in with your family’s lifestyle and personality.  They can also tell you about what breeds may work better with kids.  If you’re not sure about if a pet will work with your family, you can foster a dog.  Many of the organizations that put pets up for adoption need foster homes.  You can get a pet for a while and see how it works.  Sometimes the foster pet is available for long-term adoption.  If it’s not, but you realize a pet will work in your home, you can get another one.  If you have kids, it may be beneficial for you to scout a few possible pets without the kids around and once you have narrowed down the animals, have the kids check them out.

   Maybe you’ve thought it would be a great way to spend a nice spring evening, walking the dog.  Or perhaps your kids have made that suggestion.  Pet ownership is great, but it does take work.  Of course you can hire a professional pet sitting company like Fetch! Pet Care to stop by and give the dog a walk, or clean out the cat’s box and play with it, (sales pitch) but you will want to do most of it yourself.  If you have been seriously considering adding a pet to your family, take advantage of these opportunities available the next few weeks to save a pet’s life and bringing new life to your home!

Fetch! Pet Care provides pet sitting, dog walking and cat care services for Roswell, East Cobb, Marietta and Woodstock, GA.  You can see the happy pets by following us on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/fetchnwatlanta/

National Pet Adoption Weekend

    This weekend is National Pet Adoption weekend.  ImageTwo of the largest pet supply superstores are taking a lead role in this.  Petco is having centers at its stores.  In the Atlanta area, the Georgia Homeless Pets will be at Petsmart stores in Smyrna, Austell and at the Bark Ave. Pet Resort in Smyrna.  The Georgia Homeless Pets folks are at those stores every weekend. 

     If you can’t make it by one of those places this weekend, there are several places you can go all the time to take home a rescue pet.  ImageThe Humane Society of Cobb County is a place I do a lot of volunteer work and they have a few dogs, but a lot of great cats of all ages.  The Atlanta Humane Society in Midtown or on Mansell Rd in North Fulton has dogs and cats available.  There are also many groups, like Mostly Mutts in Kennesaw that have pets for adoption.  If you are looking for a specific breed, most of them have a rescue chapter in the Atlanta area. 

    You can make a difference in a pet’s life even if you don’t take a pet home.  ImagePerhaps you can’t decide if it’s right for you to adopt a pet.  Several groups have fostering programs, where you take a pet into your home for a predetermined period.  If that works out, you can decide to keep a pet permanently.  Be aware that many times, the pet you are fostering may not be available for adoption, so know that in advance, so you won’t get too attached. 

   Adoption agencies usually do background checks on the people who adopt animals, so it may take some time before you actually get to take the pet home. Image Many of these pets have been taken from a bad situation, so you can understand how the workers want to make sure that doesn’t happen again. 

     If you just don’t want to have a pet in your home for whatever reason, but you still love Imagespending time with animals, all of these organizations need volunteers and supplies.  You can donate some time to make a difference in these animals’ lives and you’ll be surprised how much better they make your life too!

 Fetch! Pet Care of NW Atlanta provides pet sitting, dog walking and cat care services for Roswell, East Cobb, Woodstock and Kennesaw, GA.  You can see the happy pets by following us on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/fetchnwatlanta/.

Pets and Giving Tuesday

      You’ve survived Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  Did you realize today is Giving Tuesday?  Yes, a day  that organizers hope will become a national day of giving.  We’ve just had a day of thanks and two days of deals, so today it’s time to give to others.  If you’re an animal lover there are several different things you can do to help the life of an animal on Giving Tuesday.  The best thing you can do is to adopt an animal and bring it into your home and what presumably will be a loving environment.  But adopting an animal is not something that should be taken into lightly.  Sure the animal is cuteImage and you feel sorry for it and want to get it out of the cage it may live in, but it is a responsibility.  There are costs and time requirements that must be considered.  If you’ve discussed all of these things with your family and are ready to take that step that is wonderful.

                However, if you’re not ready to take that step to bring an animal into your home, you can still make a difference in their lives.  The easiest thing to do is to make a donation to your local humane society.  In Cobb County, the Humane Society of Cobb County has a wish list of items they need, as well as a form for you to donate money on-lineImage

In North Fulton, the Atlanta Humane Society has a new facility on Mansell Road.  Although it is already open for adoptions it is still trying to raise money for the operation and donations can be made on-line.  Adoptions to these organizations are usually tax-deductable. 

                Another thing you can do is volunteer for the humane society in your town or county.  These places are always looking for people to do things like clean the cages and help with fresh food and water.  But these jobs are not always bad.  I work at the Cobb Humane at least once a month.  After we’re finished with the cleaning, we get to play with the animals there.  Sometimes I’ll walk one of the dogs, and the cats always love to be played with and held.  You can even stop by to play with the animals during the week.  This socialization is very important in their development, especially with the kittens.

                If you are a fan of a particular breed, there are many breed specific breed rescues around Atlanta or the state of Georgia.  A Google search for that breed will point you in the right direction.  You can donate money to them or volunteer.  Also several of these places need foster homes.  ImageOne of my sitters is a foster for Adopt a Golden Atlanta and will take a dog until a permanent home can be found for the dog.  This is a good test to make sure having a dog in your home is good idea.  Of course you have to give the dog up when a family takes him full time.

 

                There are several organizations around Atlanta that have pets available for adoptions.  Many of these groups save pets from shelters that are about to put them down.  One of those groups that I’m familiar with is Georgia Homeless Pets.  They have a need for volunteers to pick the pets up from foster homes and take to their adoption drives on the weekends at PetSmarts in Smyrna and Austell.  They also have a need for foster homes for the pets as well. 

                There are plenty of pets that need you this holiday season.  However you decide to give of yourself, be it money or time, you can be assured it is a gift that will have an impact on an animal.

                Fetch! Pet Care of NW Atlanta provides pet sitting, dog walking and cat care services for Roswell, East Cobb, Woodstock and Kennesaw, GA.  You can see the happy pets by following us on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/fetchnwatlanta/.

Pets and Adoptions

More and more Americans are adopting their pets.  Rescue dogs have become a bit of a status symbol in certain groups.  While it’s doubtful you will find one like “Weego” in the Bud Light commercial, a rescue pet will provide the same love, companionship and loyalty as any purebred.  A recent article passed along to me from the Christian Science Monitor shows how the number of homeless animals being put to death has decreased dramatically since 1970.  The article quotes a stat from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals that the number of animals euthanized each year has decreased from 20 million in 1970 to about 3 million last year.  During that same time the number of pets has doubled.

A couple of reasons are given for this.  One is the awareness of the importance of spaying and neutering animals.  Another reason is the rise of “no-kill” shelters.  And with so many people electing to take the pets home from these shelters, many lives are being saved. Image

There are many places around the northern part of the metro area where pets can be adopted.  The Atlanta Humane Society has opened a beautiful facility off Mansell Rd.  I do some volunteer work at the Humane Society of Cobb County.  Mostly cats are available there because they don’t have room to keep many dogs.  Here are just some of the other places I’m familiar with around the area that do adoptions:

Kittens are available at the Cat Clinic of Cobb on Sandy Plains.

Georgia Homeless Pets has pets available on weekend afternoons at the PetSmarts in Smyrna, Dunwoody and Austell.

Angels Among Us is a group that finds homes for animals.  Follow the link to their website for more information.

Mostly Mutts hosts events each week to try and find homes for dogs.

Our Pal’s Place on Canton Rd. is open on weekend afternoons for adoptions.

If you must have a specific breed, many breeds have rescue programs around the area.  Just do an internet search for them.  Most places give the animals the appropriate shots before they go home with you.  Most have been fixed, or you get a voucher to have that done.  Exactly what is done is one of the main reasons the prices vary from facility to facility.  Be sure and ask plenty of questions.

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If you can’t decide if it’s the right time for a pet some of these groups have a “foster” program where you would care for the pet on a temporary basis.  Also all of these facilities not only need money, but volunteers to help care for the animals.  A lot of the animals just need some attention and having loving hands and a soothing voice for a just a few minutes can do wonders for a animal.

If you’ve decided you’re ready to make the commitment to save an animal’s life and bring it into your home congratulations.  I think you’ll find it as rewarding for you as the animal does.

Fetch! Pet Care of NW Atlanta provides in-home pet care and dog walking as well as cat care services in Roswell, East Cobb, Marietta and Woodstock, Georgia.