It’s always a good time of year to cuddle a new-to-you animal friend, but there’s something special about doing it during the holidays. If you’re thinking about introducing a new pet to your home, Furkids, a Georgia nonprofit, is here to help.
Furkids operates the largest cage-free, no-kill shelter in the Southeast for rescued cats and a no-kill shelter for dogs. Since 2001, FurKids has been dedicated to providing a nurturing environment and the best medical care while working to find forever homes.
Samantha Shelton started FurKids to save homeless animals from being needlessly euthanized. In the last 20 years, she has worked tirelessly to save the lives of over 50,000 “furkids”. The pandemic has caused massive revenue loss, volunteer and staff shortage, and many other challenges. However, the organization persevered and continues to serve Atlanta.
We talked to Samantha recently to learn more about Furkids and for some holiday adoption advice.
RL: Why should someone adopt a pet from Furkids?
SS: FurKids serves 5,000 animals per year and we work hard to be matchmakers. We take our time to get to know the applicant and help them make the right choice. We want these adopters to become connected with us so we can continue to be a resource. We have about 855 animals available for adoption now.
RL: What led you to start this organization?
SS: I knew it was the right thing to do. I felt called to do this. Euthanizing animals struck me as so horrible. I threw myself into Furkids. Now it’s a large operation that employs 66 people and manages over 1000 volunteers. I'm proud of the work we've done and excited about the impact we've had on animals and humans who get to experience an animal’s loving, healing bond.
RL: What are Furkids' immediate needs?
SS: We need people to provide loving homes to the animals in our program and volunteers to help in our shelters. Monetary donations are always appreciated as are donations of household goods for our thrift stores.
RL: What do you tell families who want to adopt pets as holiday presents?
SS: We recommend families make sure they’re ready to adopt a pet and make a lifetime commitment. Pets can live 15-20 years! It’s important that everyone in the family is on board. It's always a great time to adopt but it shouldn't be a spur of the moment decision.
It’s not recommended that someone give an animal to someone else. It’s important for people to select and bond with their own pet. Instead, try putting together a goody bag of pet-related items and offer to pay an adoption fee.
RL: What does the future of Furkids hold?
We are excited about purchasing nine acres of land and building an amazing campus. In April, we're opening a 4,000 square foot event facility, available for the community to rent. This will be a "destination shelter" where people can develop deeper relationships with animals in a beautiful setting. It's going to be magical.
Headquarters and Cat Shelter
5235 Union Hill Road
1520 Union Hill Road
Pet Adoption &
Community Resource Center
4015 Holcomb Bridge Road