Occupation: Founder-president, Take-A-Chance Animal Rescue
Q: What is Take-A-Chance Animal Rescue?
A: A dog rescue shelter. We save dogs from death row and bring them here to rehabilitate them and find them a family. We show them something better than what they’ve seen and often they’ve seen life at its worst. All our dogs here are from death row.
Q: How long have you been open?
A: One month. We started May 1.
Q: You said dogs. Do you take other animals?
A: We’re licensed as a dog rescue.
Q: You say your dogs are from death row, where from?
A: Usually Clayton County near Atlanta. It’s one of the biggest dog fighting areas in the country and a lot of their dogs are from that world. They euthanize about 25 a day.
Q: Do you take local dogs?
A: We see ourselves contracting with local animal control in the future but since we just opened we’re concentrating on dogs about to be euthanized. We don’t have the same level problem here as further north.
Q: How many dogs do you have after a month?
Q: How many have been adopted?
Q: Since your dogs come from fighting backgrounds, aren’t they dangerous?
A: We won’t take dangerous, aggressive dogs — we can’t. If a dog proves aggressive and dangerous we have to have them euthanized. We can’t have a dog like that around and certainly can’t adopt them out. But we get to choose the dogs we rescue and there are plenty of great ones. A lot are initially classified as aggressive but aren’t. They’re sweet as can be but have had unfortunate circumstances. They might have been involved, but might have been a bait dog or a dog not involved in fighting at all.
Q: Bait dog?
A: Sounds terrible, right? They’re used for training other dogs. You can imagine the abuse but they’re not bad dogs.
Q: You say you rehabilitate them. How?
A: Love and attention. Lots of love and attention mainly. We walk them, run with them, play with them, pet them, hold them and spend as much time as possible with them. You wouldn’t believe the transformation. We have volunteers that work with the dogs to give them as much attention as possible. We can always use more volunteers and, of course, people to adopt. We take care of regular care and medical needs, too.
Q: How do you assure dogs are safe? We’re primarily talking about pit bulls aren’t we?
A: Yes, but there are other breeds here. Pit bulls and similar dogs have gotten a bad rep. The real problem isn’t usually with the dogs but with owners. If they’ve been trained to be aggressive and fight, of course they’ll be dangerous. And if owners don’t train them adequately and give them proper care there might be problems because they are big, strong dogs, but these things are the owner’s fault, not the dog’s. They can be the sweetest, greatest dogs there are but they need activity. They like to work. That’s why we’re so active with them. All the dogs, not just pit bulls.
Q: How did you come to open a rescue shelter? It’s a nonprofit venture, correct?
A: Right. We’re still working on all our nonprofit paperwork, but we are. I’ve wanted to do this since I was a kid. At five, I told my parents I wanted to be a vet but I just wanted to save dogs. I always brought strays home. I’ve worked on and off as a vet-tech for 14 years and worked locally at Town & Country Animal Clinic. (By the way, Town & Country does our vet work and people can donate to our dogs’ care by giving straight to them.) But as far as this place, I’ve been telling our 5-year-old son, “Go for your dreams. They’re worth working for,” and I guess I realized I better start taking my own advice.
Q: Are you from here?
A: No, St. Louis and southern California. My husband is in the Marines stationed at Robins Air Force Base.
Q: What happens if you get transferred?
A: Actually, he has orders for Alabama next spring but we’re going to stay open. McKenna Mauldin, a volunteer who’s our team leader, is going to head it. I plan on opening a rescue shelter in Alabama. Maybe there will be a whole chain in a few years.
Q: How are you funded?
A: We’re just doing it. We don’t have a bunch of money, that’s for sure, but we’re doing it. We depend on donations and volunteers. We believe in what we’re doing and that these dogs deserve a chance. We’re introducing ourselves to the community and making our niche among similar agencies — who are great.
Q: How are you introducing the shelter?
A: People are always welcome to call us at 478-225-2924 or come by 205-A Old Perry Rd. in Bonarie. We’re on Facebook at www.facebook.com/takeachanceanimalrescue and there you can get information about events and go to our website for hours and events. The last Saturday of every month we have an open house with 20 or so vendors, sort of a mini swap meet. June 25 we’re having a Summer Bash with a cookout and stuff for kids and families. Oh, and every third weekend we’ll be at Tractor Supply Co. on Watson Boulevard with our dogs for people to adopt. They can start the process.
Answers may have been edited for length and clarity. Compiled by Michael W. Pannell. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.