Atlanta Business Executive Millard Choate Makes Significant Donation to Furkids

Posted on Sunday, May 19th

Donation Prompted by Love of a Family Dog Will Support Upgrades at Dog Shelter

Atlanta, Ga. (May 19, 2013 2013) – Business executive Millard Choate has made a $100,000 challenge donation to Furkids ( to be dedicated to upgrades at the Furkids dog shelter in Forsyth County.  

The donation is one of the most significant individual donations received by Furkids.  It challenges Furkids donors and supporters to contribute matching funds to complete the renovation of the organization’s 34-year-old dog shelter.  Furkids is the nonprofit animal rescue organization that cares for more animals (more than 600) than any other animal group in the area.  It operates a large dog shelter and the largest no-kill, cage-free shelter for homeless cats in the Southeast.  

Furkids announced the donation last night during the organization’s 11th birthday party as a surprise in honor of Millard’s wife, Sue Choate, an advocate for animal welfare, and to commemorate Sadie, the Choate family’s beloved Weimaraner and Sue’s constant companion.  Sadie died in April 2013 at the age of 13 years.  The announcement also was a surprise to Furkids advisory board member Anne Stockton, the honoree of the 11th birthday celebration.  Ms. Stockton has served for more than 30 years as an active volunteer in the animal rescue community.  She is the retired executive director of SmallDog Rescue & Humane Society, which originally bought the building and converted it to a shelter for homeless dogs.  Furkids acquired SmallDog Rescue & Humane Society in 2011.

The 4900 square-foot Furkids dog shelter houses approximately 45 homeless dogs rescued by Furkids and available for adoption.  Planned renovations to the exterior include grading, new fencing, additional parking in front of the building, new concrete pavement in the rear, new dog runs, and outdoor landscape work that will expand the useable area of the dog recreational area, make it more animal and people-friendly while controlling erosion and runoff from adjacent properties.  Interior renovations include the addition of a lobby to welcome visitors, additional windows to allow more daylight into the facility, relocation of a public restroom, additional meet and greet rooms, new flooring, new kitchen and prep room, and a new quarantine area.  The goal is to allow more families the opportunity to visit with dogs for adoption with the objective of increasing adoptions and saving more lives.  Furkids will begin the renovation as soon as possible, with the more critical exterior work of erosion control, landscaping and fencing to begin within approximately 60 days.  New areas of the shelter will be designated as Sadie’s Place. 

“Millard Choate’s contribution is a significant financial gift to Furkids, and an answered prayer for all of us who have been struggling with how to upgrade our dog shelter,” said Samantha Shelton, Furkids founder and executive director.   “What’s equally significant is that Millard’s gift goes far beyond money. This contribution is part of a love story – a dog’s love for his owner, a woman’s love for her dog, and a man’s love for his wife.  We are sincerely touched by the depth of this gift and are so grateful for it.”

When Furkids took over SmallDog Rescue & Humane Society in 2011, the organization needed to create a more welcoming and operationally efficient shelter for rescued dogs, to provide a better shelter life for the animals and a better experience for volunteers, adopters and the pet therapy groups that visit the facility.  The planned renovations are designed to provide a happier, more healthful, and more homelike  environment for rescued dogs, and a more welcoming atmosphere for potential adopters and people who participate in pet therapy with Furkids dogs.  Furkids, which hosts a number of adult pet therapy groups and children’s volunteer opportunities, is the only animal rescue organization that welcomes children of all ages to volunteer.

“Millard Choate’s contribution will have a tremendous impact on the lives of our dogs and the people who love them.  We are confident that people who care about homeless animals will meet Mr. Choate’s challenge and help us complete the upgrades as soon as possible, Ms. Shelton said. 

Millard Choate is President of Choate Construction Company, one of the largest commercial building contractors in the southeastern United States. 

“The Choate family was blessed with Sadie, who enriched our lives and was both the source and recipient of immeasurable love, said Millard Choate.  “My wife, Sue, and our daughters, Emily, and Katie, love dogs of all types, and we hope this renovated and improved facility will result in the adoption of many more dogs.  This will inestimably enhance the lives of many people.”.

 Furkids has added a special page to its website, for donors to contribute matching funds to the Millard Choate matching grant.


Editor’s note:

Furkids is a 501(c)3, charitable, non-profit organization that operates the largest cage-free, no-kill shelter in the Southeast for rescued cats and a no-kill shelter for dogs where they can experience the best care in a loving environment until they are adopted. The Furkids mission is to help end pet overpopulation in Georgia through sterilization, high-quality adoption and by providing valuable spay/neuter services and pet care education to people in the community.   Each year, Furkids rescues, shelters, sterilizes, rehabilitates, and places hundreds of cats and dogs in permanent, loving homes.

Furkids, which cares for more animals on a daily basis than any other local organization, including the Atlanta Humane Society, has rescued and altered more than 8,000 animals since its founding in 2002.  Approximately 600 cats and dogs are in the Furkids program today, in the Furkids shelters, 13 PetSmart and PETCO adoption centers and foster homes.