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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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 


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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An Important Message from Our Executive Director

Last night, as I sat listening to the birds chirping in my backyard, I was struck by how strange the world feels right now. Our daily lives have completely changed. We are in the process of creating new daily rhythms that don’t include offices, schools, restaurants, or any social gatherings. 

At the same time that all of this isolation is occurring, our connections to each other, and to our pets, have never been more palpable. Our pets have become a constant source of love, comfort, and distraction during these challenging times.

When I started the Planned PEThood of Georgia 10 years ago, I was driven by a desire to help pets and the people who love them. It was a simple mission that grew into an organization that currently runs six distinct life-saving programs. We reach communities and animals in ways I had not imagined 10 years ago, and I am wildly proud of how much our staff and volunteers give to the community. 

We feel fortunate to be a recipient of the CARES Act’s Small Business Loan program. With this assistance, our dedicated staff members will continue to receive their paychecks during this time. We continue to navigate this strange new world and how to give back while protecting our volunteers, staff, and patrons. 

While our payroll is secure for now, 60% of our programs are on pause, including the revenue-generating programs that fund our rescue efforts, rent, utilities, insurance, and… well, you get the idea. However, there is good news!

Our rescue program is flourishing with an abundance of foster home and adoption applications flooding our inboxes daily. Animals are being adopted faster than ever before, and we even have a waiting list for kittens.   

At Planned PEThood of Georgia, we are taking the COVID-19 pandemic one day at a time, and we truly appreciate your support during this challenging period. Everyone at Planned PEThood is thankful to have you as a friend. We hope you and your family are healthy and safe. Our receptionists are checking messages daily to keep you informed. Please reach out to us if you need anything. 


Elizabeth Burgner

Executive Director 

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3-year-old and 5-year-old Brothers Raise Kittens and Release Feral Cats

3-year-old Jakob and 5-year-old Markus have an intense love of animals. But really, they had no choice in the matter. Their parents, Jennifer and Al, have been training them since birth! As long-time animal lovers and rescuers, Jennifer and Al felt it was important to teach their children how to care for animals in need.

Together, this family of four helps orphaned kittens and momma cats get the vital care they need after being rescued as foster parents for Planned PEThood of Georgia.

Not only do the boys help their parents care for the cats and kittens, but they help to prepare them for adoption. Handling the kittens gives them important exposure to children that helps at adoption events. A friendly kitten is more likely to be adopted! The animals aren’t the only ones benefiting from this relationship though. The boys learn lessons about compassion and responsibility while making a difference. “It is a life lesson that can’t be learned in schools. So, I can’t get mad when they don’t want to do online learning. They rather play with the kitties!” says Jennifer.

3-year-old Jakob even took a turn releasing a community cat with his dad after TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) recently. For those of you who don’t know, TNR is when a community cat (sometimes called wild or feral) is humanely trapped, spayed/neutered and ear tipped, and then returned to the place it was trapped. This is the only humane and effective way to reduce cat overpopulation. Watch Jakob release his first community cat below!

Markus, Jakob, Jennifer and Al are making a difference in our community. We look forward to seeing who these sweet young boys grow up to be. 

If your family might be interested in fostering please visit our foster page or email our foster coordinator. Together, we can make a greater impact. 


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NEW Home Delivery Instant Rebates for Flea/Tick and Heartworm medications

Unfortunately, fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes don’t miraculously disappear during quarantine. Warmer weather and increased outside activities can increase these pests on your beloved pets, but we can help.

Home delivery of your pet’s preventative medications is a great way for you to get vital pet products during social distancing. Right now, Planned PEThood’s online pharmacy is offering NEW Home Delivery Instant Rebates on a variety of Flea/Tick and Heartworm products. Visit our online pharmacy now. Many of these products require that you have been seen at our clinic in the past year, however you can purchase products like Advantage on our pharmacy page without ever being a client. 

 E-mail info@PEThoodGA.org if you have any questions.        

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Adoptions increase 20% in March 2020

The ONLY positive thing to come out of COVID-19 is the fact that animals across the country are receiving more love than ever before from their owners. Not only are pets getting more love, but homeless animals are being fostered and adopted at record rates! It is wonderful to see the demand to save lives increase so dramatically! 

In March 2020, Planned PEThood’s adoptions increased by 20% compared to the previous year. A total of 59 pets found loving homes in March! Below is a list of all the babies that found forever homes and some of their happy pictures. If you want to see your happy picture here next month view our adoptable animals. Congratulations to all of the lucky families! 

If you adopted a pet from us we would love to see updates! E-mail us anytime at info@PEThoodGA.org 

March 2020 Adoptions: Angel, Angelica, Beau, Beethoven, Brooks, Bubble, Buzz, Cannoli , Cassie, Cha-Cha, Champ, Cheeto, Chloe, Cocoa, Cosmo, Crumpet, Crystal, Curious George, “D,” Daisy Mae, Donovan, Dudley, Elsa, Elliot, Emerson, Fred, George, Ghost, Gigi, Harlow, Hulk, Icicle, Jessie, Jupiter, Kona,  Maui, Meowzer, Mia, Moana, Nigel, Peaches, Pogo, Popsicle, Purrcules, Riley, Sam, Sanford, Scone, Scotland, Sir Shenanigan, Snugglewumps, Skipper, Squeaks, Stripe, Stripes, S’more, Sybill, Taffi, Tormund, Woody

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Limited Appointments Available for Puppies/Kittens & Heartworm tests ONLY on April 2 & April 4

During Gwinnett County’s stay at home order only essential businesses are allowed to remain open, including veterinarians. The Georgia Veterinary Medical Association does not consider spay/neuter surgeries and annual vaccines as essential services at this time, but it is essential that kittens and puppies receive their initial vaccines and boosters. Additionally, it is critical that all dogs remain on heartworm prevention. 
For this reason, we are welcoming patients for appointments ONLY if they are:
– Under 6 months of age for vaccinations/boosters
Dogs that are in need of heartworm tests in order to receive prevention
You can either email info@pethoodga.org or leave a voicemail at 678-561-3491 to reserve a spot. Appointments are available from 10am-3:30pm on Thursday, April 2 and 9am-2pm on Saturday, April 4 ONLY. You must have an appointment to be seen on these dates.
At the appointment time, clients will be asked to wait in their vehicle and call. Staff will come out with paperwork and will take the pet inside without the owner.
This is a pilot date, and we hope to be able to offer these limited services for additional appointments in the future. 
Current clients may still request flea medication and heartworm prescriptions at our Online Pharmacy 

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COVID-19 Updates

October 26, 2020: Any appointments booked moving forward will require a deposit. Vaccine clinic appointments will require a $15 deposit per pet and spay/neuter surgeries will require a $5 deposit per pet. These deposits are applied toward your total at check-out and become a donation if your appointment is not rescheduled 48 hours before your appointment or missed entirely. These fees will help to cover the cost of our veterinarian and the loss of revenue our clinic will incur by not showing up for an appointment. COVID has changed the way organizations that rely on donations and grants have to survive. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation on this matter. 

August 3, 2020: As a precaution we will not be accepting cash at our clinic. All major credit cards are accepted and can be paid over the phone after the services are rendered.

May 20, 2020: Beginning June 1 there will be a $3 COVID-19 Anesthesia Surcharge for all owned cats and dogs at the time of their surgery. (This will not apply to feral cat surgeries.)

Due to COVID-19 we have had to move away from drugs that are also used in human medicine. Unfortunately, the alternative medications are most costly. We apologize for any inconvenience, and hope this $3 charge will not be a burden on anyone. Thank you for your understanding!

Additionally, we will now allow feral cats to be dropped off on Mondays and Tuesdays without an appointment. Same rules as before COVID-19 apply. Two cats per person per day. Please see our community cats page for more information. 

May 7, 2020: Our clinic is open for spay/neuter, however due to our closure for the past 5 weeks we are booked until June. You may schedule an appointment below or call our front desk at 678-561-3491 to make an appointment. Until further notice, feral cats must also have an appointment. Thank you for your understanding during this challenging time.

March 27, 2020: Due to COVID-19, our clinic will remain closed until at least April 30th. All spay/neuter surgeries, including feral/community cats, are canceled until April 30th. Please call us at 678-561-3491 or email info@PEThoodGA.org if you have any questions. We are checking these periodically.

During this time, please ensure any unaltered animal stays inside and does not have access to other unaltered pets if possible.

We look forward to being able to serve the community again very soon. We hope you and your family stay safe. Remember, social distancing does not apply to your pets. Our rescue program is still operating during this time. If you are interested in fostering or adopting, now is a great time!

Animal shelters and rescues across the state are closed to the public, leaving homeless animals in desperate need during the worst time of year; kitten season. Requests for help continue to pour in, but the consequences of Coronavirus make saving additional animals a difficult decision. Our vaccination clinics are on hold, our public spay/neuter operations are closed, and our bank account is dwindling.

Unlike larger nonprofits, we do not have endowments, investments, or any other rainy-day fund to rely on during troubling times. Individual donors, like you, have always been our biggest supporters. If you are able to make a gift during this difficult time, please consider helping Planned PEthood of Georgia weather this storm.

You can donate by credit card or Paypal on our website at: https://pethoodga.org/give/

Checks can be mailed to our clinic at 2860 Buford Hwy Duluth, GA 30096

If you are interested in becoming a foster home learn more at:

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