A new leash on life: Abandoned dog picks owners at adoption event
by Rachel Miller
May 19, 2013 12:17 AM | 4087 views | 4 4 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Hannah Williamson, 14, and her neighbor and best friend, Caitlin Thompson, 14, show their excitement in securing a new home for Magic at the Williamson household. The pair coaxed Magic out of hiding after it spent the night evading Cobb County Animal Control officers’ attempts to capture her in time for Saturday’s pet Adopt-A-Thon. Officials say the dog had been dumped off on the street near the shelter Friday.<br>Staff/Kelly J. Huff
Hannah Williamson, 14, and her neighbor and best friend, Caitlin Thompson, 14, show their excitement in securing a new home for Magic at the Williamson household. The pair coaxed Magic out of hiding after it spent the night evading Cobb County Animal Control officers’ attempts to capture her in time for Saturday’s pet Adopt-A-Thon. Officials say the dog had been dumped off on the street near the shelter Friday.
Staff/Kelly J. Huff
slideshow
Cobb County Animal Control volunteer Beth Burt of Smyrna and her sister, Julie Vallies of Marietta, parade Hoffa and Mazzy around the grounds Saturday in hopes of finding the dogs a new home during the Adopt-A-Thon.<br>Staff/Kelly J. Huff
Cobb County Animal Control volunteer Beth Burt of Smyrna and her sister, Julie Vallies of Marietta, parade Hoffa and Mazzy around the grounds Saturday in hopes of finding the dogs a new home during the Adopt-A-Thon.
Staff/Kelly J. Huff
slideshow
A woman makes friends with a cat while her brother looks for a dog to adopt.<br>Staff/Kelly J. Huff
A woman makes friends with a cat while her brother looks for a dog to adopt.
Staff/Kelly J. Huff
slideshow
MARIETTA – For years Caitlin Thompson has been viewing images of unwanted animals on Craigslist, resulting in her family’s two dogs, a 100-pound shepherd mix and much smaller dachshund. On Saturday, an abandoned female sandy-brown husky chose Thompson.

It all started Friday morning when a truck pulled off Al Bishop Drive, the road to many Cobb County service buildings, and suddenly released a dog as it pulled away from Cobb County Animal Control, officials said.

Animal control officers immediately set a trap to capture the stray dog, and within minutes she climbed in. However, when the officers went to retrieve her out of the cage, the dog wiggled loose.

The dog ran loose all night and morning despite repeated attempts to coax it away from the road.

Thompson, 14, and her best friend, Hannah Williamson, 14, instantly spotted the scared puppy as they arrived for Saturday’s Adopt-A-Thon at the county shelter.

Thompson and Williamson said that they tossed bits of food and called out as the dog began to sneak closer until eventually wagging her tail and coming to their outstretched hands. Volunteers then ran out with a leash and brought the eight-week-old puppy inside.

Two hours later, Thompson finally convinced her father to take the new puppy home.

Making new friends

During Saturday’s event, each time an animal was adopted, the staff rang a cowbell. However, on the overcast afternoon, fewer than 20 animals had been taken home after two hours.

Keeping the cats indoors during the spring Adopt-A-Thon did not keep Linda Williamson away from her goal of taking home a new furry friend.

“We came in specifically to get one,” said Williamson, who had not planned on adopting two identical male black kittens, each with a white strip running down the nose.

Williamson said her 12-year-old cat had died the day before, but could not say her late pet’s name before breaking into tears.

The new additions will be brought home to a family with three dogs, three cats and a foster dog that Williamson said would be leaving today.

“I have the word sucker written across my forehead,” said Williamson, as her kittens that the shelter volunteers dubbed “the twins” responded with high-pitched calls.

Going to the dogs

Operation Manager Billy Mayfield said it is normally the late hours of the day when final decisions are made by visitors and many animals are placed in cardboard carriers to make the trip home.

Conducted twice a year, the facility was able to place 14 cats and 22 dogs Saturday.

The majority of the dogs available were pitbull mixes of various coloring, from tiger-striped to white with big black spots.

A supporter had prepaid the costs for a three-legged pitbull, but “we can’t give it away,” said animal control officer Jason Knowles.

There were varieties that are often sold for hundreds of dollars by breeders, such as a 2-year-old Siamese cat named Ash and a 4-year-old Maltese named Armani.

The adoption fee during Saturday’s event was $85, which is normally $115, and includes the cost of spaying or neutering, a microchip, needed tests, and a round of shots.

Along the hallway were discounted cats, including one for $20 that was nearly 7 years old.

Alternatives for pet owners in need

A day designed to place shelter animals in loving homes resulted in 9 cats and 9 dogs being turned over by current owners to Cobb County Animal Control, according to Mayfield.

Mayfield said the animal shelter staff, including the 30 volunteers that worked during Saturday’s event, encourages those people to keep their pet, offering assistance with food from Cooper’s Cupboard, a local pet pantry.

Mayfield also mentioned Ahima House, an emergency program for abused animals, which also places animals in a foster system when owners have a temporary problem, such as a hospital stay or being evicted from their home.

Some animals are abandoned for being unruly, but Mayfield said the owners are often uneducated about the physical and emotional needs of that breed.

Mayfield praised a Marietta kennel named Dog School 101, which offers group obedience classes and “Puppy Manners” courses, for giving each adopting family a $25 gift certificate.

The energy of the day was felt through the animals’ excitement from getting attention, said Mayfield. He added that anyone who is not able to adopt a pet is encouraged to come to the shelter during normal operation hours to visit with the dogs and cats.

“Stimulation is what they need,” Mayfield said about those who remain after the day’s adoptions were completed.
Comments
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anonymous
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May 21, 2013
Amen to all the comments. I carry a bottle of water, dry dog good and dry cat food, and two bowls in my car. I have seen two dogs in the road in the past 2 weeks in Cobb County. They were not approachable even though I tried my hardest. This tells me their contact with humans has not been that positive. I had two dogs for years that I found in the road (and tried to identify their owner to no avail) that immediately jumped in my car. I have housed up to 3 dogs and 4 cats at one time, all strays. I am down to 1 dog and 4 cats through old age and have either asked God not to send me another stray dog or either to send me another stray dog, whatever His will is. I considered fostering since I love dogs so much, but I know me. Once that dog lived in my house, it would not be going anywhere. Cats are okay and I love the ones I wound up with, but dogs are over the top. Whoever can look into the eyes of a dog and cannot see just pure love and devotion, I don't know. I know I do.
Melissa S.
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May 20, 2013
Great story. Thanks for keeping the public informed of what is going on at Cobb County Animal Control. They do a good job, but wish the public would help out more by volunteering, spay and neutering their pets and being more responsible pet owners. Thanks again for your story. I look forward to more like it.
anonymous
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May 20, 2013
There are pure goodhearted people in the world, yes, there are. How anyone can just dump a dog without knowing it is safe from cars is beyond my comprehension, thank God that I am the person I am instead of the oth

er

one that dumped the dog. Thank you, Lord.
Animal Lover
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May 19, 2013
Thank you, MDJ, for this follow up as the need for publicity for this shelter as well as Douglasville, Paulding and others is critical to make the difference between life and death for many of these animals. If the public were more aware that animals have to be killed in these shelters, their attempts to find homes for the animals might take on more urgency. The shelters just run out of space. Cobb is one of the better, more proactive shelters but even they have to euthanize and it is heart-wrenching to see this. Please continue to give shelters coverage and save lives.
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