Furkids to Celebrate 6th Birthday

Posted on Thursday, March 6th

Birthday Bash to Feature Auctions, Entertainment, Food and Beverages

Atlanta, Ga. (March 6, 2008) – Ichabod is a Maine Coon cat who almost died from starvation and dehydration after being locked in a vacant apartment for six weeks without food or water.  Jack is a tuxedo cat who was found in a parking lot, starving, wheezing, and crying out to anyone who’d pay attention to him, after his owners moved and left him behind.  Mr. Red is loveable red tabby with FIV who was starving and sick, who survived by scrounging food from a hotel dumpster.  Today, all three cats are healthy, happy members of adoptive families, thanks to the efforts of Furkids, one of Georgia’s leading nonprofit animal rescue organizations.

On Saturday, March 29, friends, volunteers, sponsors and adoptive families will help Furkids mark its extraordinary 6th birthday at The Pavillion of Dunwoody with a fundraising birthday bash, a combination of fun and fundraising.

Furkids was founded in 2002 when then-Equifax executive assistant Samantha Shelton found a mother cat depositing three newborn kittens in her back yard.  What began simply as a quest to find shelter for four cats in a place where they wouldn’t be euthanized has grown into a nonprofit organization that today operates the largest cage-free, no-kill shelter in Georgia.  The organization has been confirmed as one of the top charities in America by Independent Charities of America.  Since its inception, Furkids has rescued and altered more than 3,000 animals.

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.   To that end, Furkids nurses and neuters all of its rescued animals, keeping them healthy and happy in its cheerful, cage-free shelter or in foster homes until it can place them into permanent homes.

The organization began as a network of foster homes conducting adoptions primarily through the PetSmart Perimeter location.  In its first year, Furkids rescued 216 animals; in 2007, it rescued 838.  Today, Furkids continues to utilize foster caregivers and also houses approximately 200 cats in its shelter.  In addition, it operates the adoption centers at four PetSmart locations in metro Atlanta and last month, dedicated a new in-shelter surgical suite staffed by part-time veterinary professionals where cats can be neutered without the need to travel to veterinarians outside the shelter.

The fundraising birthday bash will include both live and silent auctions featuring a full array of bid items – including pet products and services, jewelry, home furnishings, artwork, sports memorabilia, travel packages and other merchandise — valued at more than $40,000.  The celebration will have live entertainment, an extraordinary dinner buffet and an open bar for wine, champagne and beer.  The party is scheduled for 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. at the Pavillion of Dunwoody, 5510 Chamblee Dunwoody Road.  The cost is $50/person. Furkids will use the proceeds to expand its veterinary neutering services from part-time to full-time.  Partygoers can register and donate in advance at www.furkids.org.

Pet overpopulation is a staggering problem in metro Atlanta, and the statistics paint a grim picture.  As of 2005, in 19 county animal control shelters, 130,000 animals were impounded (www.SPOTsociety.org). Of the animals impounded, a mere eight percent were reclaimed and only 22 percent were adopted or transferred to rescue agencies. In rescuing and neutering homeless animals and guaranteeing that they will not be euthanized, Furkids plays a critical role in combating pet overpopulation.

“It has been such an honor – and so exciting — for all of us to see Furkids flourish in just six years,” said Furkids executive director Samantha Shelton.  “Furkids doesn’t just rescue, neuter and shelter homeless animals, but we use a scrupulous adoption process to place them into permanent homes.  It’s rewarding to see the loving relationships that blossom when humans open their hearts to homeless animals, and it’s humbling to recognize the numbers of volunteers and donors who help Furkids bring people and animals together.  This organization simply would not function without the generosity of our volunteers and sponsors, and on our 6th birthday, I respectfully thank them.”

Furkids, a registered 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization, has approximately 400 homeless animals in its no-kill program.  Most are housed in bright, open rooms at the Furkids facility.  Neutering is a keystone of the organization’s program.  Furkids sterilizes all of the unaltered animals in its program before placing them in adoptive homes, providing the service to more than 750 animals last year.

And what about Ichabod, Jack and Mr. Red?  Ichabod’s owner says, “He’s a ham, a golden retriever in a cat suit.”   Jack’s owner says he never stops talking.  “He’s the most expressive, verbal cat I’ve ever seen!”  And Mr. Red is starving no more.  He is Mr. Personality, in a class by himself.  A Furkids volunteer adopted him, and last year, the Georgia Lottery chose him as one of the five felines featured on its “Fat Cats” scratch-off