Brittany Mersfelder, The West Georgian

Furkids Animal Rescue Celebrates 20th Anniversary

       On April 9 Furkids Animal Rescue and Shelter celebrated their 20th anniversary with a gathering of volunteers and supporters for a massive fundraising event. Founder, Sam Shelton, was able to put her compassion for animals to good use and started Furkids Rescue and Animal Shelter in 2002.

            Furkids celebrated their 20th Anniversary with volunteers, veterinarians and many supporters. The night consisted of a meet and greet with “My Cat From Hell” show host on Animal Planet, Jackson Galaxy. Other activities included a dinner, a live auction and a silent auction.

            “This is such a very special occasion,” said Shelton. “You know you have moments in your life and events that take place. The memories of those events stay ingrained in your mind. They’re forged memories and for me, tonight is going to be one of those memories I will always cherish.”

Shelton gave a speech at the anniversary event and spoke about the history of Furkids. She stated that it all started with a mother cat and four little kittens in her backyard.

      “Twenty years ago I found a mother cat in my backyard,” said Shelton. “That moment was a profound life changing moment for me. I answered the call and in doing so, I found my dream. Today, I get to live my dream.”

Starting as a small organization, Shelton later had to upgrade to a roomier spot to house all the cats and dogs.

“If I ever wanted a normal life again, I could not let my house be the shelter, ” said Shelton. “Three years in, I have got to get a shelter. I knew I needed to have a shelter but not only for people to be able to see where their money is going but also for people to be hands on and get involved in the organization and be able to contribute. That was the first big step that we took.”

Furkids opened their first cat shelter in 2005. This not only created jobs but also created a space for people to volunteer and be able to share their time with an organization that truly cares about their mission. Shelton began running yard sales to raise money for her new nonprofit. This led to the opening of the thrift stores around the Atlanta area.

“We have opened four thrift stores,” said Shelton. “Without those thrift stores, they make up a third of our operating budget. We need a fifth location.”

In 2011, Furkids took over a dog rescue called Small Dog Rescue and has operated the shelter since.

At the live auction, Furkids raised around $70,000 which directly supports the shelter to fund the care for the thousands of animals Furkids provide for each year.

“When I started at Perimeter Petsmart in February of 2002, I was the lone person starting an adoption center in PetsMart,” said Shelton. “I put a note on the door ‘help needed’ and help came in droves. All the wonderful volunteers and supporters came in droves. Thank goodness because we needed help and because you came, we were able to grow and accomplish great things.”



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