This month, I met with Sam Shelton, CEO of Furkids. Headquartered in Cumming, Furkids is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization that operates the largest cage-free, no-kill shelter in the Southeast for rescued cats, as well as Sadie’s Place, a no-kill shelter for dogs. Furkids also operates one of the few facilities in the Southeast dedicated to the care of feline immunodeficiency virus-positive cats.
Tell us about what Furkids does.
We save lives — more than 5,000 dogs and cats each year. We get some of the most at-risk animals, the sick and injured. Animal Control (AC) often will call us before euthanasia. We seek to restore health and find loving homes.
Describe your new facility.
In 2018, we bought 9 acres in Cumming, the original Wakoola Water Gardens. We renovated the existing buildings and now have our headquarters there. The land gives us an opportunity to expand, and we are getting ready to break ground on a new medical facility and cat and dog shelter. We will also have a special events venue in our beautiful setting. We welcome the community to the campus.
How many cats get help each year?
We help more than 3,000 per year. The majority come from AC or are strays that people find. On the dog side, we help about 1,200. Our Community Cat Program helps more than 100 cats each month. We have brought the Cobb County Animal Services euthanasia rate down substantially, and are focused on making Cobb County cats non-kill.
Do you transport out of Georgia?
In 2018, we started transporting cats and dogs north to no-kill partners in Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Maine.
What did you do before you started Furkids?
I have always loved animals and children. Before I started Furkids, I worked in the corporate world for Turner and Equifax. One day, I found a mother cat and kittens in my backyard. I called Fulton County AC, and they told me they had no space, and, if I brought them in, they would be euthanized. I then went to an adoption center in Buckhead, Friends of Animals. I learned so much. I started Furkids by just putting a “Volunteers Needed” sign up, and the rest is history.
What do you want people to know?
We love animals. We love placing them in loving homes. If you are looking to adopt, visit us. If you want to volunteer, we have opportunities for adults, and for kids, too. The FurTales Program for children allows them to read to cats. And, children can help their parents volunteer.
We have kids that help out in our thrift stores, too. We want to help the community. We have vaccine clinics, and we are working on a food pantry for struggling families.
You can make a difference. Apply yourself. Don’t turn your back on an animal in the street.
How can the community help you?
Fix your pets. Adopt. Support the work we do by donating and volunteering. We truly appreciate community support. Donate to one of our thrift stores based in Marietta, Johns Creek, Peachtree Corners and Lawrenceville. For more information, visit Furkids.org.
This dog needs urgent help, and his name is Fushi. He is a 13-year-old Shar-Pei. He was an owner-surrender, turned in with a tumor at a very old age. He is a very sweet dog who really needs a home. It would be amazing if someone would adopt and help this dog.
This cat’s name is Princess. She is a medium-sized white cat. She is very friendly and very soft, as well. She was a stray and would be a very chill cat that would love you.
– Rob Macmillan is on a mission to help shelter dogs and cats. On Facebook @robsrescues. www.robsrescues.com.