This holiday season, consider adding some paws to your family footprint. A relationship with a pet brings delight to children and adults alike, fostering empathy and responsibilty, as well as creating an incredible bond of unconditional love and support. When it comes time to select that new furry friend, don’t shop …  ADOPT! We spent an afternoon at the Atlanta Humane Society cuddling dozens of precious critters who are eagerly awaiting homes.

Atlanta Humane Society's VP of Operations, Tara High, brings her own rescue dog with her to work.

Atlanta Humane Society’s VP of Operations, Tara High, brings her own rescue dog to work with her.

Adopting a pet can be a wonderful experience, as long as some important points are considered prior to selection. Ask yourself:

  • What’s my activity level and personal schedule?
  • Am I ready for a 10-  to 15-year commitment?
  • Can I afford regular animal care, including vet checkups, grooming and boarding when necessary?
  • Do I have ample space for a pet to run around, or am I near a park? Will I be able to exercise my pet regularly?
  • Are there any special concerns for any family members?

These questions should help determine your readiness for a pet, as well as guide your search at one of Atlanta Humane Society’s two locations, either on the west side at Howell Mill Road or in Alpharetta on Mansell Road. AHS adoption teams know the animals well, understanding their personalities and temperaments in order to effectively counsel and educate the adopter for the best match possible. AHS places most pets within two weeks of intake, with puppies and kittens adopted out in an average of five days or less. Affordable adoption fees cover initial veterinary treatments, including spay/neuter services, microchipping and a follow-up exam. Rest assured, AHS is committed to finding homes for these animals and works with an equally devoted network of rescue groups to make that happen. Animals are never euthanized at Atlanta Humane Society based on their length of stay. In fact, euthanasia is only used at AHS as a last resort for animals with severe, untreatable medical problems or extremely violent, dangerous behavioral issues. The loving and welcoming environment at AHS conveys the care and concern all staff and volunteers feel for the animals fostered there.

Visit the Atlanta Humane Society, at other the Howell Mill or Mansell Road location, and adopt a special furry friend.

Visit the Atlanta Humane Society, at either the Howell Mill or Mansell Road location, and adopt a special furry friend.

Animals find their way to the Atlanta Humane Society through several different paths. Sometimes, they are sadly surrendered by an owner who can no longer care for them, and often they’re brought in from County Animal Services, rescued from abandonment or abuse. We had the pleasure of meeting sweet Lala, a terrier mix who’s finally recovered from some disturbing abuse-related wounds and now hopeful for the future. Freckles, a border collie/Australian shepherd mix, won our hearts with his soft, fluffy fur and playful demeanor. Freckles showed up at Dekalb Animal Control starving and with a hematoma in his ear, but under the care of AHS, he’s healing with gusto!

Atlanta Humane Society's VP of Operations, Tara High, first introduced us to Lala, a 12-pound terrier mix who loves to snuggle. She's just recovered from some abusive wounds and is ready to start a new life.

Tara first introduced us to Lala, a 12-pound terrier mix who loves to snuggle. She’s just recovered from some abusive wounds and is ready to start a new life.

SB writer, Katherine Snell, had a blast playing with Freckles, a lively Border Collie/Australian Shepherd mix who'd match perfectly with an active family.

SB writer Katherine Snell, had a blast playing with Freckles, a lively border collie/Australian shepherd mix who’d match perfectly with an active family.

Adopting a mature dog instead of a puppy presents distinct advantages — most have calmer dispositions, and many are housebroken and ready for training. These pets are so thrilled to be loved and thankful for human touch; it’s common to hear adoptive pet parents claim that THEY are actually the ones who’ve been rescued.

Sweet Sugar, a 2-year-old terrier mix at Atlanta Humane Society, would love to show off her gorgeous snow-white coat with a new family.

Sweet Sugar, a 2-year-old terrier mix, would love to show off her gorgeous snow-white coat and bond with a new family.

SB writer, Katherine Michalak, immediately scooped up Candice, a precious 7-year-old dachshund/Australian terrier mix. Look at that face... she's a doll!

SB writer Katherine Michalak immediately scooped up Candice, a precious 7-year-old dachshund/Australian terrier mix. Look at that face … she’s a doll!

The impressive facilities at Atlanta Humane Society feature spacious kennels, indoor playrooms, a special clinic area, pet supply shopping and an outside playground. We took some perky pals out for a romp in the yard. Sienna, a 6-year-old terrier mix, shows a calm, obedient nature by following closely to the commands of the AHS volunteer. Gary, a shitzu/Brussels griffon mix, is a real character, trotting about jauntily despite his amputated leg, a surgery necessary to relieve his constant pain from nerve paralysis.

Sienna's eager to please with a docile manner and welcomes attention.

Sienna’s eager to please with a docile manner, and she welcomes attention.

Gary, a Shitzu/Brussels Griffon mix, isn't slowed down at all by his leg amputation.

Gary, a shitzu/Brussels griffon mix, isn’t slowed down at all by his leg amputation.

The puppy area at AHS buzzes with activity and excitement. Rows of large enclosures give plenty of room for the little ones to frolic about, chasing their tails or tossing around toys. Their adorable faces peer up at visitors, anticipating the magic connection that will send them H-O-M-E!

Little Lennon imagines a warm home with playtime.

Little Lennon imagines a warm home with playtime.

This little cutie was fascinated by the clicking of the camera when we visited Atlanta Humane Society.

This little cutie was fascinated by the clicking of the camera.

On our visit to Atlanta Humane Society we met Baby Samson who seemed like an old soul.

Baby Samson seems like an old soul.

We couldn't get enough cuddles from these beagle mix pups at Atlanta Humane Society.

We couldn’t get enough cuddles from these beagle mix pups!

Kitties have quite the condo complex at the Atlanta Humane Society. Whether resting in their individual apartments or climbing about on obstacle courses, cats entertain themselves or happily pounce when someone shows up ready for games. Enter the kitty enclosure prepared to purr as friendly felines caress passing ankles.

This cat's an affectionate nuzzler who'd love to spend some time in a lap.

This cat’s an affectionate nuzzler who’d love to spend some time in a lap.

Twin black kitties peer out their window. at the Atlanta Humane Society.

Twin black kitties peer out their window.

This curious cream-colored kitty couldn't wait to play with us on our visit to the Atlanta Humane Society.

This curious cream-colored kitty couldn’t wait to play with us.

Striking green eyes deliver a piercing gaze from this beautiful cat at Atlanta Humane Society.

Striking green eyes deliver a piercing gaze from this beautiful cat.

Make this holiday full of tail-wagging memories to be treasured for years to come. Warm fur and sweet kisses keep life far more cozy than any blanket. Visit the Atlanta Humane Society to find the perfect pet eager to share the joy of the season and love for a lifetime.

Atlanta Humane Society thanks veterans for their service by giving them free pet adoptions!

Atlanta Humane Society thanks veterans for their service by giving them free pet adoptions!

If taking on a pet of your own won’t fit your lifestyle right now, please donate time, funds or supplies to the Atlanta Humane Society. Resources such as toys, towels and blankets are always in demand, and volunteer shifts provide an opportunity for pet/people interaction. Discover the ways you can help at atlantahumane.org.

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Thank you Catrina Maxwell of CatMax Photography for these precious pictures!

Thank you Catrina Maxwell of CatMax Photography for these precious pictures!

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