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.
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.
The volunteers at Labrador Friends of the South take homeless labradors under their wing, often fostering them in their own homes until they can find loving, adoptive families for them. Battling myths that abandoned dogs have health or behavioral problems, the volunteers carefully screen prospective parents and educate them about each dog's personality and medical history to ensure a good fit. Before the dogs are adopted out, they ensure each one is vaccinated, treated for any major health condition, and spayed or neutered to prevent pet overpopulation. The volunteers ensure each dog receives permanent care; if labs cannot remain in their homes due to unforeseen circumstances, they can return to the program to find another placement for as long as they live.
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The professional exterminators at Community Pest Solutions rid abodes of such nuisances as termites and mosquitoes so that homeowners can take back control of their living spaces. The team wields more than 15 years of dealing with a wide range of pests who thrive in Georgia's warm climate and streets paved with peach juice. Concerned homeowners can sign up for free inspections and estimates should they suspect an infestation or that the milkman is just a bunch of termites standing on each other's shoulders. In addition to bug eradication, Community Pest Solutions’ multitalented technicians also handle around-the-house jobs such as attic insulation, landscaping, deck staining, and home remodeling and painting.
The Tarzan Zerbini Circus, which is sponsored by Shriners Fraternity, thrills carnival-goers with high-flying acts, a bustling midway, and more than 40 rides. Huddle under the big top and feast peepers on hurtling human cannonballs, traffic-law-defying motorcycle stunts, and high-flying wirewalkers and sway-polers. Shriner circus clowns and a friendly elephant make for humorous cameos in between the death-defying deeds. After a rousing bout of tentertainment, browse kid- and family-friendly attractions or spin, drop, zoom, and flip on a collection of rides that keeps the adrenaline percolating for thrill-seekers, little ones, and oversized sentient plush gorillas.