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With the help of our Transport Team, the Atlanta Humane Society is able to give animals from rural shelters the opportunity to gain greater exposure to new families in the much more populated Atlanta area.

Last year, the AHS transported more than 5,000 animals from smaller rescues, all of which were able to find loving homes, something that may not have been possible had they stayed in a small rural area.

This year, we are working hard to find loving homes for more than 8,000 animals.  This includes all the animals brought to us by our Transport Team, which works with our great rescue partners located all across the southeast.

The Northeast Georgia Animal Shelter in Lavonia, Georgia is one of our best partners.  They do a wonderful job of rescuing animals and bringing them to their shelter, but finding homes for an overwhelming amount of animals is not possible with their sparse population.

Fortunately, the AHS has the resources to help care for these animals and find them the loving homes they deserve.  So far this year, we have done one transport a month and each time we have been introduced to an extra-special animal we know we were meant to find.

Meet Winston. In early January, Winston was found wandering on a farm in Northeast Georgia.  He was picked up by animal control and waited for his family to come find him, but no one ever came.  He was soon on his way to NGAS, where our Transport Team meet him and fell in love.  We see a lot of cute puppies every day, but Winston caught our eye.  A Chow Chow/Golden Retriever Mix, we knew Winston would find his forever home very quickly.

Once Winston was back at the AHS, a medical exam revealed he had a hernia that needed repair; a quick fix that can easily be done during a neuter surgery.  Post-surgery, something appeared wrong.  Winston’s eyes were clearly very irritated and the skin around them was extremely dry and was beginning to crack and bleed.  Our shelter veterinarian examined Winston and discovered that Winston was suffering from Demodex Mange a very itchy skin condition caused by a mite.  Demodex is common in puppies and young adults that have inadequate or poorly developed immune systems. Fortunately, Demodex can be treated, but even in very mild cases, the treatment requires at least one month of topical ointment and weekly medicated baths.

Our amazing Admissions staff took charge and started the vigorous treatment that would help Winston. But the unfamiliar environment of a shelter can be scary for a young puppy, and Winston would cower in the corner of his enclosure, refusing to make eye contact with anyone.  He did everything he could to avoid being picked up.  It was clear he did not trust people at all.  The effects of Demodex are often made worse by stress and the staff knew that finding Winston a loving foster home was critical to his recovery.

The moment Winston arrived at his foster home, it was like he was a new dog.  He loved his foster sister, Hazel and like all little brothers, he would torment her mercilessly until it was time to snuggle up on the couch for a nap.

Over the course of several weeks, Winston would come back to the shelter to get weekly medicated baths and bi-weekly topical treatments.  Nearly all the fur fell off his face and in patches all over his body, but he was still as handsome as ever.  Over the course of his treatment in foster care, he became more social, more playful and stayed as sweet as can be.  His fur is growing back a little more each day and he is almost back to his former teddy bear-like appearance.

Amazing stories, like Winston’s, wouldn’t be possible without our Transport Team. It’s their dedication that allows the Atlanta Humane Society to offer sanctuary and rehabilitation to as many animals as possible across the southeast, giving them a helping hand and a second chance at life.

March 18, 2015