Surgery in the Dark

 

What would you do if the power was out and 40 animals were relying on your help? Some of the animals need urgent medical care, and they all had traveled from rural county shelters for surgery through our Go Fix Georgia program.   

Earlier this month our team had to answer that question FAST. They arrived to our clinic at 7 a.m. to find no power in our entire building. A utility pole was knocked down by a car accident, and we were told that power to our entire block would likely not be restored before end of day!

First all of all, our perishable vaccinations had to be rushed to a fridge or thousands of dollars in supplies would perish. One of our team members carried them down the bock to her car (the streets were all shut down, so our parking lot was inaccessible) and drove them to her house for storage. CRISIS #1 AVERTED!

Second, the cats we keep at our clinic, including barn cats and house cats, needed attention. They were all in the dark and without air conditioning. Our receptionists helped clean and care for cats by flashlight since the phones and computers were not working. The cooler weather worked in our favor that day, but we had an evacuation plan in place within the hour. CRISIS #2 AVERTED! 

Third, we had to decide what to do about our planned surgeries. 13 cats and dogs had arrived the night before from Newton County Animal Shelter, and there were an additional 27 on board the Habersham County Animal Shelter bus that was waiting in our parking lot! They had arrived before the road was closed.

With 40 animals counting on us, some with medical emergencies, we had to make a choice. Cancel surgeries for the day, or figure out how to do surgery in the dark? It wasn’t a difficult decision to make. We had to figure out a way to help the 40 animals relying on us for the day. 

Our staff rallied! They contacted volunteers who could loan us a generator, battery operated lanterns and fans. It was all hands on deck. Several reliable fosters and volunteers came immediately (by foot), items in hand, and we were able to start surgery only an hour later than expected. Fortunately, our anesthesia and monitoring equipment do not require electricity to operate.

We worked with what we had, and had people standing by ready to help us evacuate if it came to it. A van was kept running in the parking lot to provide a safe and cool holding space for surgery patients and the cooler weather worked in our favor. Even though it was less than ideal, things went smoothly! We were able to do almost all the animals, including two emergency eye removals! CRISIS #3 AVERTED! 

Our team shines the brightest under pressure. We are lucky to have such a wonderful group of volunteers, staff, and supporters standing beside us to light our way. Thank you to everyone who stepped up to help. 

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Dog Mistaken for Coyote Survives Gunshot Wound

If you have never been to Habersham County, GA it is filled with scenic views located the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. This is an agricultural community known for peaches, apples, poultry, and the stunning Tallulah Gorge. This small and quite county is a lovely place to live, but it is often filled with wildlife such as bears and coyotes. 

After trying to catch a stray dog that was evading rescue for about a week, Habersham County Animal Control received an alert from 911 late one night. A woman called crying. She found a severely injured dog struggling. The face was barely recognizable and the dog needed help. (We won’t share those images, because you DO NOT want to see them. Trust us.)

Animal control sent out an officer and brought her immediately to an emergency veterinarian. She had been shot with a shot gun— in the face. A resident suspected she was a coyote on his property, and he shot her and left her for dead. The sweet girl, later named Tink, mustered up the energy to find a kind soul and beg for help. Habersham officers wanted desperately to help this dog, but unfortunately the county does not have a veterinary team, and has limited funding for special medical cases. They typically would have been out of options for Tink, and would have been forced to humanly euthanize her. However, Planned PEThood’s Go Fix Georgia program visits the shelter weekly to transport cats and dogs to our clinic for spay/neuter surgeries. 

Knowing that our van would be arriving the next day for transport, Habersham Animal Control contacted our Go Fix GA Coordinator, Tanya Weaver, begging for help. That set the wheels in motion. Our veterinarian, the amazing Dr. Simpson, quickly jumped on board with the rescue effort and agreed to see the dog and attempt to remove the pieces of bullet from her face and remove her injured eye. Our medical team didn’t hesitate to step up to add this sweet girl into their surgical day even though that meant they had to work late. Our staff has nothing but the best of intentions for every animal and could not ignore the severity of her injuries. Regardless of her pain, Tink was nothing but the sweetest dog who was the perfect patient. Her eye removal surgery went smoothly, and donations poured in from the community to help with her care. 

After a few weeks in recovery at Habersham Animal Control, and a follow-up spay surgery Tink was ready for adoption. As fate would have it, the woman who called 911 after finding this sweet soul decided to adopt her!

Her story is an example of why our Go Fix Georgia program is so vital for those counties just outside of our metro area. Without veterinarian care on staff, they were limited in options to care for her. We were able to step in and provide not only her spay surgery, but also the eye removal and fix her up so that she could be adopted out and not just another statistic. We hope you enjoy seeing her smiling and happy face, and thank you to everyone who donated for her care!

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Microchips Provide Comfort, Hear Layla’s Story

You know those scenes in the movies where a group of college students are sitting in an auditorium and the professor says, “Look to your left. Now, look to your right. Only one of you will be here at the end of the semester.” Well now apply that visual to your pets. Do you want to take that chance?

1 in 3 pets will get lost at some point in their lifetime, and that statistic is higher for cats. The question is will they make it home? A simple microchip can help, and it only costs $25 at Planned PEThood.

Yes, your pet lives inside. Yes, you keep a collar and tag on your dog, but, please listen when I say this, ACCIDENTS HAPPEN! Life is messy. Let me tell you a story about my dog, Layla.

When she was about a year old I was living in Athens going to school. We went on a walk in the neighborhood on a traditional collar and leash. Everything seemed great. I pulled her collar to alert her to come inside as she was sniffing a bush, and WOOSH her collar pulled right off her neck, and Layla was free as a bird. We had a moment where we looked at each other and I could see it in her eyes. She thought it was playtime at the dog park. She began to run around in circles and have zoomies all over the place. No matter what I did I could not get close enough to get the collar back on. On top of that, we were right next to a busy, four-lane road.

Layla darted across four lanes of traffic, and I risked my life chasing her and stopping traffic. It was a pet parent’s worst nightmare. I watched her run around the nearby elementary school having the time of her life, and in my mind I remember thinking to myself, “At least she is microchipped. At least if she keeps running I have a chance to get her back.” I had almost given up, when a lovely man in a pick-up truck pulled over to help me. Luckily, Layla thought the stranger was interesting and came right up to him. He scooped her up and put her in the truck. We both made it home that day in one piece, although I had a nervous breakdown that night, and the next day I registered her for training classes.

The point of my story is that no one is perfect. Accidents happen. In that scary moment I want you to feel confident that your pet is microchipped too, and should they keep running you have a chance to get them back. Book a microchip only appointment for $25 now, before it is too late.

Layla passed away just a few months ago, but she was honestly the best dog anyone could imagine. She was sweet, kind, obedient, and overall a gem of a dog. Let her story and legacy live on and keep your pet protected.

Written By: Lauren Frost (Layla’s mom and Development Coordinator)

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Three Incredible Adoptions

Every adoption at Planned PEThood of Georgia is a gift. Knowing that we helped a pet make the journey from lost and alone to found and home. What could be better?

Well, at any given time we have about a dozen special needs pets in our foster homes. And when those pets find their forever homes, the reward is extra sweet. These are the pets that everyone else ignores, avoids, or cannot take into their programs. At Planned PEThood, we believe these pets need us the most. Sadly, their special needs often mean that they won’t find homes very quickly like most pets. For these special pets, its not as simple as finding a home. You have to find the home ready to take on a life-long project. At Planned PEThood of Georgia, we always try to keep open arms for these special needs pets when we can.

Amy D. with one of her foster babies.

Fosters are the unsung heroes of our program, and Amy D. is one of our kitty special needs foster homes. She has saved countless lives and never turns down a kitten in need. Her heart has been broken so many times when one of those special needs kitties can’t turn that corner, and instead she has to say goodbye. But it’s all worth it when she sees the ones that had no hope survive against all odds. They go from cold, lonely, hurting, or surviving horrific injuries, to purring, loving, growing, and healthy kitties.

The last, and often most difficult step for the foster homes is to find their forever home. The last step, sending them off to their forever home, can be both the best feeling and and the most stressful for the foster home. After all, you have spent weeks or months with your furry charge, pouring many hours, vet visits, meds, and love into the healing process. You know they deserve it. You worry whether you have fully prepared your adopter. And ultimately, you let them go with all the love in the world behind them. So, back to the question… What could be better than an adoption at Planned PEThood of Georgia?

That’s right. It’s a special needs adoption at Planned PEThood, and in early January we had not 1, not 2, but 3 special needs adoptions in the same day! Whatever you call it – fate, kismet, or a miracle, our hearts were filled with joy. Read about each of their journeys to adoption.

Adoption #1:

Clover after his reconstructive surgery and then a few months later.

Clover, fostered by Amy D., was in our program for over 400 days, and now he is home. Clover was brought to Planned PEThood of Georgia missing most of the skin off his back and neck. Even the medical staff weren’t sure he was treatable. However, we were able to work with a veterinary partner to provide Clover with a reconstructive surgery. Clover, survived, but the odds seemed stacked against him.

While in recovery, he contracted ringworm. Then during ringworm treatment, he had a bad reaction to the medication and had to be hospitalized for liver failure. Finally he seemed to be the mend again, and then he was diagnosed with yet another serious disease, toxoplasmosis. Finally, after 2 courses of treatment were successful, he could rest.  Finally, he could rest. After months of surgeries and treatments that felt endless, Clover was healed.

Clover and his new mommy.

The entire time, his foster mom Amy never gave up on him. Amy was always there for him and helped him through every treatment and illness. Because of his original injury, Clover ended up with nerve damage which would require a special home. Amy continued to helped him by looking tirelessly into adoption options for him. And now, she has sent him on to his next adventure… 410 days after he arrived, Clover was adopted. Happy Life, Clover!

 

Adoption #2:

Lt. Dan, also fostered by Amy, was found with his littermates by the local shelter. Lt. Dan was a bit different though… He has no rear paws! Amy did not hesitate and immediately volunteered to foster and brought him into the program. Lt. Dan never let his lack of paws slow him down. And Amy always kept up with him. He had an infection of his nubs early on, a consult with a physical therapist, and so many trials and errors trying to find way to get a young active growing kitten to wear booties!

Lt. Dan and his new parents.

Amy also picked up on subtle signs of a lingering upper respiratory infection. Just in time for adoption, Lt. Dan made a big trip to an outside veterinarian. Thankfully his heart and lungs were normal, but he ended up being diagnosed with kennel cough! After a course of medication he fully recoverd. And now, he has made the last step and went home to an amazing special needs home. Happy Life, Lt. Dan!

 

Adoption #3:

Crayola enjoying some sun.

Crayola, fostered by Christina, was pulled from a rural shelter just after Thanksgiving with her 11 newborn puppies. Little did we know that Crayola wasn’t going to be easy. Within the first week, Christina found out that Crayola suffered from severe separation anxiety – and she has the damaged bathroom doorway and door to prove it. Christina or her husband had to sleep in the room with Crayola and her puppies every night, and the whole family travelled to work with Christina every day! Once the pups were weaned, Crayola was given anxiety medication that helped a bit, but the foster home’s life was re-arranged in a big way.

Finally, the time came for her puppies to be moved and for Crayola to be spayed. Prepared to keep Crayola for months, Christina went ahead and listed Crayola as available on PetFinder. And within a couple of hours, an insanely perfect application arrived. Instead of months of extra time in the program, Crayola found her home in a day. She went home to a family that has agreed to never leave her alone, to always be there for her, and to love her forever. What more can we ask for? We have already received updates and she is doing very well.

 

So, today, we ask you to celebrate with us. Celebrate the lives of these three fosters. And join us in saying thank you, not just to these two fosters, but to all of our fosters at Planned PEThood of Georgia. In 2020 our foster homes helped to rescue 1,018 cats and dogs. Isn’t that incredible?

Thank-you for supporting us, so that we can support them. If you want to help animals like Clover, Lt. Dan, and Crayola have a chance at a better and happier life, consider becoming a monthly life saver. Your small gift of $5 or $10 a month will help provide care to animals like these.

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Featured Volunteers: The Haynes Family

What is better than one volunteer?

The answer is… an entire family of volunteers! 

The Haynes family learned about Planned PEThood of Georgia a few years ago through their daughter’s high school. There was a colony of community cats living on the campus that needed to be trapped, neutered, and returned (TNR). At Planned PEThood of GA we offer humane trap rentals for a refundable deposit, so it was cheap and easy for the PTA to get their cat situation under control. 

Soon after the high school project, Crystal, her husband, and two daughters Alannah, 16, and Aisling , 13, adopted a kitten named Nala at one of our Petsmart adoption centers. Nala is doing great these days and loving life on her cat trees. That could have been the end of the story, but the Haynes decided they wanted to become a foster family for other homeless animals. About six months into the pandemic, they signed up to foster animals. They have become a valued part of our volunteer and foster team.

The pandemic has been difficult for teenagers used to after school activities and outings with friends. Fostering homeless animals has given Alannah and Aisling something fun to do after school work and chores. The animals also provide lots of companionship which has helped tremendously.

Not only have the Haynes assisted other animals find forever homes, they have adopted 3 animals of their own this year including tuxedo siblings and a new puppy, nicknamed Ghost Dog.

We asked Crystal a few questions about her experience fostering with Planned PEThood of GA. Below are her answers:

Why do you continue to foster with Planned PEThood? For that amazing feeling I get when my foster kitties find their purrfect forever home

What do you get out of volunteering with Planned PEThood?  I love that I am helping to save precious lives, but mostly I love all the purrs, snuggles, and playtime.
 
If someone was interested in volunteering or fostering what advice would you give them?  Do not hesitate to contact your foster mentor whenever you have a question. (New foster homes are paired with senior foster home mentors.)  They are an amazing resource, and my mentor, Amy, has been tremendously helpful and reassuring every time I have had a concern about my fosters.

 

Volunteers and foster parents are vital to our success. The animals depend on our efforts to place them on solid ground. If you have even a tiny bit of time to spare, a unique talent or trade to offer, or a spare bathroom/basement to occupy consider contacting Planned PEThood today.

Apply to become a volunteer.

Apply to become a foster home.

E-mail questions. 

Your life will be filled with more hair, but your heart will be happy. 

 

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Training Your Newly Adopted Puppy

New puppies are an exciting addition to families and add an instant spark to homes. Although these outstanding young pups bring cuteness and fun to their owners’ lives, they require special care and attention to feel safe, develop into healthy adults, and create strong bonds with all housemates. Depending on how old your puppy is when you pick them up, owners should be prepared to feed them right away, start potty training, keep them warm, and help them develop social skills. 

What You Should Know Before Bringing Your Puppy Home

Building a relationship with your puppy is the first and most critical step in petcare once your new companion makes it home. Having the time, space, and energy to make a loving home for your pup is vital. Make sure to have an area prepared where they’ll be comfortable, with a floor or floor coverings that are easy to clean. Keep in mind that transporting your puppy home can be extremely stressful for your pooch. Holding visitors at bay for a few days while they acclimate to your home and establish a routine is best for your puppy’s emotional health. 

Even amid the excitement of bringing home a new puppy, it’s important to remember to ask the caretaker about your dog’s health and make sure that you have what you need to feed and care for your puppy as soon as they get home.

Creating a Successful In-Home Puppy Training Academy

Plotting out a training plan for your puppy can begin before they even arrive. Once they’re home, starting a potty training regimen will help them develop a structured routine and get comfortable using the bathroom where they should (either a pad or outside). While your puppy is acclimating to their environment in the first week, be sure to introduce training concepts slowly and focus on feeding, fun, and some potty training. After you’ve established a schedule, tackling manners training should be the very next step. It’s essential to make training time fun and be consistent at the same time. Be patient with your pup and remember that practice, determination, and support will help your puppy progress. Remember to work on one area at a time until your puppy masters it before moving on to another concept. 

Key Training Areas

Housebreaking: Immediately after your puppy arrives at their new home, take them to their designated bathroom area where they should ideally do their business and make this a regular part of their day. Adult dogs have more blatter control than puppies do, and if you’re wondering how many hours your puppy can wait to use the bathroom, add one to their number of months. Example: 1 month + 1 = a maximum 2 hour wait time. Encourage your puppy once you get to their potty area and have them move around. A healthy diet will help to prevent accidents and promote bowel regularity. If your puppy has an accident, be patient with them, and use positive reinforcement to encourage good behavior. 

Crate Training: Some people may consider crate training to be harsh or inhumane, but there are times when dogs need to be in crates for their own safety, and making sure that your puppy is calm and prepared for those instances will help prevent anxiety and injury. Crating also helps puppies to exercise blatter control and limits teething to their own toys. Before starting crate training, make sure that your puppy’s crate is the right size. Puppies can sleep in crates for up to six hours overnight and a crate can be used until your puppy grows out of adolescence. 

Socialization: Puppies’ brains develop at a rapid pace from 6 – 16 weeks of age, and introducing your pup to as many sights, sounds, smells, and experiences that you can during this time will help them to become far more adaptable as adults. Diverse environments and introducing them to a variety of different people (including children) and other dogs are a few areas that will help your puppy form a well-rounded perspective of the world. 

Chewing: Puppies that have a chewing issue may need more exercise, supervision, training, or chew toys. Be sure to take your puppy on a walk at least twice a day. Games, tricks, and training will also help them to stay entertained and develop good habits. Puppies do love to chew, and they discover the world around them through their sense of smell and taste. Getting a complete set of chew specific toys will keep their focus on their own items versus yours 

Conclusion: 

Puppies and humans have quite a bit in common, and keeping that in mind as you care for your puppy will help you to meet the needs of your pup fully. Your puppy’s behavior may not always be due to immaturity or age. It’s critical to watch for signs of separation anxiety and help your dog feel safe. Excessive barking, destructive actions, frequent potty accidents, and pacing, whining, or trembling could all potentially be signs of more profound distress. 

Don’t hesitate to give your puppy lots of love but also discourage clingy behavior at the same time. Start by teaching your puppy to entertain themselves on their own in a room in a non-destructive way. Plenty of exercise is always a plus, and using treats to reward your puppy when they act responsibly when alone will help them to look forward to behaving while you’re away. 

— Written by Abigail Baker is a writer for K9 Sport Sack, the top retailer for dog backpack carriers.

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The Orphan Kitten Club

The Orphan Kitten Club is teaming up with Planned PEThood of Georgia to save the lives of kittens across Georgia. The mission of the Orphan Kitten Club is to protect the tiniest and most vulnerable felines. They are dedicated to advancing protections for kittens through our innovative programs and their state-of-the-art neonatal kitten nursery. 

Become a FosterWe are honored to be one of only a few organizations selected nationally to join their club in 2020. Last year, with the help of our foster homes and supporters, we saved the lives of 399 kittens under 8 weeks old. That means 40% of the animals we rescued last year were kittens under two months old! 

There are a few of reasons that Planned PEThood has such a high rescue rate for young kittens.

1. Planned Pethood manages the veterinary services contract at Gwinnett County Animal Welfare (the county’s animal shelter). Because of this, our team members are inside the county shelter and see the orphaned kittens brought in that will not survive without bottle feeding and a heat source.

2. Our Community Cats program, which helps to alter 2,000 community cats each year, works to prevent over population and outdoor births, but the fact is we find and rescue momma cats and kittens often from outside. 

Because of our commitment to help young kittens, the Orphan Kitten Club which was founded by Kitten Lady, has awarded Planned PEThood an $11,000 #MightyCat Grant to help save the lives of even more kittens in 2021. With this grant we will be able to purchase two kitten incubators, a set of cages for our rescue area, and kitten supply kits for new foster parents.  We look forward to sharing our progress on our kitten rescue expansion with you soon! 

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Panda was more as a premature kitten. We did not think he would survive, but against all odds he made it. This donation will give even more kittens like Panda a fighting chance at life. 

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Pectus Excavatum is Not a Wizard Spell

Pectus Excavatum! It kind of sounds like a spell from Harry Potter, don’t you think? Well unfortunately it is not a fun or silly spell. Instead it is a dangerous condition Yogi the kitten was born with that changed the way her rib cage was shaped causing breathing issues. When Yogi came to us a few weeks ago we had no idea how badly she needed help. Her condition was so severe that she needed surgery in order to have a chance of making it to adulthood.

Often this diagnosis is a death sentence for kittens. But thanks to our awesome donors, medical team, and partner veterinarians we were able to give Yogi a chance at life. Her story and pictures are amazing, and we thought they might bring some joy to you on this gloomy day.

One week ago, Yogi underwent surgery at Planned PEThood of Georgia to fix her chest shape. We knew there were a lot of risks, and we also knew we had great people on board to help if needed. We had not one, but three doctors and our veterinary service manager jump in to help this sweet bobtail kitten. Each of them donated their time and came into our clinic after normal business hours to make this surgery possible.

After a miraculously successful surgery, everything was looking well, until little Yogi entered recovery. She just wouldn’t wake up. Our veterinarians knew something wasn’t right, so we reached out to our veterinary practice partners who graciously fit us in ASAP for an x-ray. It turned out that Yogi’s lungs were having trouble expanding to the new bigger space available after surgery. We knew this was a possible complication and Yogi needed oxygen support.

Yogi took another short trip to an emergency facility where she could continue to recover with 24/7 care – and most importantly oxygen support. Almost 8 hours after surgery she finally started to wake up. And then, by morning, she was doing well enough that she was ready to slowly wean off of oxygen support. It was the best news we could have received. And the even better part was that she went home with her foster family on the following evening!!!

Now, Yogi isn’t out of the woods yet. Part of the surgery involved sewing a custom external splint onto her chest to help her chest keep its new shape. She will have the splint on for about 6 weeks, and then she will have a second surgery to remove the splint.

But for now, Yogi is doing well and taking it easy with her foster family. She has even started to play, wobbling around with half of her body covered in a cast.  

We look forward to sharing the rest of her story with you in a few months. A lot of tiny miracles had to come together to help little Yogi on her journey. Thank you for your friendship and support. A huge thank you to the doctors and staff who went the extra mile to save this precious bobtail kitten, and thank you. Without our supporters none of this is possible.

If you would like to make a donation to our rescue fund to help animals like Yogi please visit our donation page.

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Soft Sheets that Save Lives

The kind folks at Peach Skin Sheets have offered us a terrific deal on their soft, luxurious sheets, which come in 24 colors! Which color would look good on your bed?

They’ll donate $20 to help rescue animals in need from every sheet set sold using our promo code and you’ll GET $25 off their regular price! That makes their $89.95 sheet sets (include fitted, flat, and pillowcases) only $64.95 including even California King Sets!

Please follow these instructions to make sure you get the discount price and Planned PEThood gets the $20 donation and you get a fabulous deal.


1. Go to www.PeachSkinSheets.com

– If you’re using a computer, select the “Shopping for a Fundraiser? Enter Here” link In the upper right.

– If you’re using a mobile device, tap the menu (3 horizontal lines) at upper right and then tap “Sign into the Fundraising Portal.”


2. Shop for your sheets!

3. When you’re ready to check out, enter our fundraiser code in the box provided: PETHOODGA

Online orders are shipped out within a few days all over the U.S. Plus, these make wonderful gifts for the person who has everything. The holidays are just around the corner…

Hurry! Our fundraiser ends Sun., Sept. 27!

Please note that fundraiser pricing cannot be combined with other promo codes, discounts, or specials including Colors of the Month pricing.

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Lucky Number 1,000 Takes a Ride

Madi Nix, Pennywise (the kitten), and Tanya Weaver celebrate our 1,000th transport!

When the Go Fix Georgia program began in May 2019, our team knew there was something magical in the works. This unique program was thinking outside of the box to ensure the health and safety of animals across the state. On August 20, 2020 the Go Fix Georgia program celebrated its 1,000th animal saved, Pennywise the kitten.

Pennywise poses after his extraordinary rescue.

Go Fix Georgia is dedicated to improving spay/neuter access to remote and rural animal shelters and communities across Georgia. The program is not complex, but it is wildly effective. In short, our dedicated staff and volunteers bring animals from county shelters to our Duluth clinic for surgery every week and then return them to the shelter for adoption. Every animal that enters the Go Fix Georgia program is guaranteed safety!

This program was initially created thanks to an innovation grant from Maddie’s Fund, and has been subsidized over the past year thanks to a Rachel Ray Save Them All Grant from Best Friends Animal Society. Without their investments, 1,000 animals would have been killed in rural shelters or adopted without being spayed.

Two kittens await surgery together.

Go Fix Georgia began in an effort to assist Newton County Animal Control, and has since added additional counties. In the beginning Newton County’s shelter did not have access to veterinary care or air conditioning, had a limited capacity to house animals, operated without a single rescue in their county, and only 47.5% of the animals that entered their facility left alive. They were struggling.

Just one year later, with the collective efforts of their staff and our program, immense progress has been made in Newton County. Their county commissioners allocated funds to expand their shelter, add air conditioning, require spay/neuter of all animals, and their euthanasia rate dropped to a record low. Animals in Newton County are now getting the care they deserve!

Planned PEThood’s goal is to broaden the scope of this service for Go Fix Georgia to include other rural counties and remote locations across the state. With access to affordable spay/neuter services, Planned PEThood aims to further reduce Georgia’s pet overpopulation problem, which causes the deaths of at least 40,000 cats and dogs in Georgia shelters each year.

The Go Fix Georgia model only works when we have two things from the county shelter – a team that believes in the effort and a way for the county to afford the services for their animals. Luckily, Habersham County Animal Control has both of those things, and just need a helping hand. Shelter Director, Madi Nix, has been working with us for a few months now and together we are making a difference in the lives of animals in Habersham County, like Pennywise.

Pennywise with her rescuer, Madi Nix, Shelter Director for Habersham County Animal Control

Pennywise took a wrong turn, and ended up 20+ feet down in a storm drain in a Dairy Queen parking lot in Baldwin, GA. He was sitting on a small ledge down there, just above all the “yuck” and water at the bottom. Thankfully, his cries were heard, and officers were dispatched to help! Unfortunately, the only way to save him would be to remove the sealed manhole. DOT was alerted, but it was time to improvise.

Madi had a 25 foot training lead in her car, along with her trusty “foster kitten supply” basket. So, she made a kitty elevator! She put some canned food in the basket, and lowered the basket down to the kitty. And waited. After about 5 minutes, kitten decided he was ready to go up and jumped in for a ride to the top!

Everyone at Planned PEThood was enamored with this sweet little kitten and his amazing story. So it made the fact that he was the 1,000th animal to ride our Go Fix Georgia van even more special.

Archer, one of the many animals transported to rescue.

In addition to animals transported for surgery prior to adoption, Planned PEThood networks with local rescue organizations to encourage them to pull from rural shelters like Newton and Habersham, adding those pets to the transport and moving more out of the shelter. Rescues and shelters often struggle with sending staff to remote shelters for rescue efforts, so many were eager and willing to aid us in our efforts. Roughly 400 of the 1000 animals we have transported have been rescue transports ensuring more room in rural shelters and less euthanasia!

Sometimes there are a little extra special patients onboard the Go Fix Georgia van. These two kitties had eye conditions that required specialized surgeries. One had an eye that was not functional and needed to be removed. The other kitty needed bilateral entropion surgery. This is to repair a condition where the eyelids grow inwards, instead of outwards like they should. Both of these surgeries would have cost Habersham County Animal Control thousands of dollars, which they wouldn’t have been able to afford. However, we happen to have an excellent surgeon on staff that was comfortable performing both surgeries at a fraction of the cost. While this is not a service we offer to the public, we do attempt to help shelters when we are able. While both of these kitties will have a few weeks of recovery time ahead of them, the surgeries were a success! They will no longer be burdened with the painful conditions they had and up for adoption very soon.

As we mark our 1,000th pet today, we know there are thousands more and we will continue to strive to be there. Rural shelters need our help, now more than ever and we look forward to the next 1,000. Thank you to all of our volunteers, fosters, supporters and followers who have helped make this happen.

If you have any questions or want to make a contribution to this effort e-mail gofix@PEThoodGA.org or visit PEThoodGA.org/GIVE

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