After discovering a stray cat with kittens that no shelter would house, Samantha Shelton founded Furkids, a no-kill animal shelter, more than a decade ago. To combat this and other examples of companion-animal overpopulation, her organization conducted adoptions through a network of foster homes. As a result, Furkids rescued 216 animals in its first year, and today has rescued more than 6,000 animals, caring for more than 600 on a daily basis. To do this, Samantha and her team maintain a cage-free cat shelter, dog shelter, a separate shelter for cats with feline-immunodeficiency virus, and nine adoption centers. In addition to housing cats and facilitating adoptions, Furkids works with local residents to sterilize homeless cats in order to prevent the spread of feral colonies.
Feral Cat Program of Georgia works with the community and a network of veterinarians to spay or neuter and vaccinate stray and feral cats throughout north Fulton and Forsyth Counties. Older cats are returned to their colonies and given food, water, and shelter by traveling colony caregivers, even in severe weather. Kittens are adopted into foster homes to help protect them from predators and foul weather. Volunteers help socialize these kittens, giving them both food and loving attention so that they can live happily in adoptive homes when they grow older. Foster families need to sit with them while they eat and pet them at least three times a day to help the kittens build trust in humans. In 2009, the program placed 228 cats into new homes and sterilized an additional 525 animals.
Alzheimer's Association Georgia Chapter provides services for people living with Alzheimer’s, as well as support and respite programs for their families. The chapter aims to enroll six people in the MedicAltert + Safe Return program to provide emergency assistance for people who wander. Enrollment in the program includes an ID bracelet or pendant, access to a 24-hour emergency toll-free phone line, a personalized emergency wallet card, a personal-health record, and an informational magnet.
Jennifer Arnold was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis as a teenager and spent two years in a wheelchair. A local organization at the time trained service dogs to help people in wheelchairs, but it had a long waiting list, so Jennifer and her family went on to spend the next 10 years organizing Canine Assistants to connect people with service dogs. Canine Assistants trains dogs and places them with recipients that have physical disabilities, seizure disorders, and special needs. The dogs can assist with a variety of everyday tasks, such as turning on lights, opening doors, retrieving dropped objects, and providing companionship. Specially trained seizure-response dogs can also remain next to recipients during episodes and summon help. Canine Assistants also takes trained dogs on educational presentations around the region where they meet with students and people in hospitals to teach about disabilities. A new K-9 kids' reading program aims to motivates children to learn to read by letting them read aloud to the dogs, putting them at ease with a companion from whom they will receive no judgment.