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Spring 2019 Issue 12


Atlanta’s Pet Lifestyle Magazine


with Man’s Best Friend + Thrift stores that do more than offer a good bargain Stretch into a workout that is G.O.A.T.

Omari Spellman and his dog, Milly




On the Cover Life Is Better with Man’s Best Friend

21 Pet Life Movers & Shakers


8 10

Social Influence

Doodle Bugs Shelby Steckbauer rides with That Dood Squad Rescue Hero

Second Life Atlanta Thrift store does more than provide a good bargain Pets at Work

All Paws on Deck Kabbage lets you clock in with your ’kritter’


Pet Life Entertainment


14 16

Pet Friendly Places

Where Ryan Roams Follow an Atlanta Humane Society rescue on her adventures throughout pet-friendly ATL Spotlight Dog Park

The Brookhaven Cherry Blossom Festival Annual festival is family, and dog, friendly Spring Calendar of Pet Events

Support animal welfare with everything from fun runs to gala events, including brunch!


Feature Pet Life Experts

24 26



Four Atlanta residents wouldn’t be without Man’s Best Friend


Catology 101

How to Talk to Your Cat From chirps to hisses, know what your cat means

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Fur Therapy

The Dog Whisperer Laurel-Ann Dooley helps socialize scared dogs Fur Therapy

No Kidding GOGA Goat Yoga begins third year in Milton

Veterinary Profile


Dr. Lynn Bahr Vet creates products to keep cats active Animal Law

Pot for Pets? Is cannabidiol hype, harmful or helpful?




PaWty Animals

Walk & Roll, Costumes on the Woof, Come Together Gala to Fix Georgia Pets, and Reindog Parade Socialites Lucy and Holly recap some of last season’s exciting events Event Spotlight

Come Together Gala to Fix Georgia Pets Spring 2019 | Atlanta Pet Life 3

Atlanta’s Pet Lifestyle Magazine Spring 2019 | Issue 12 P.O. Box 11633, Atlanta, GA 30355 For Advertising Rates Call 404-538-9895

To them, it’s playing freely. To you, it’s playing safe.

Publisher Joanne Hayes

Editor Lisa R. Schoolcraft

Creative Director Andi Counts

Account Executives Bill Garst

Website Development Management BHG Digital

Director of Audience Development

for 18 months


a Professionally Installed Outdoor Containment System.

Expires 5/31/19

Lia Picard

Copy Editor H.M. Cauley

Contributing Writers Cherese Cobb Carl Danbury Mickey Goodman Nicole Letts Sparrow Marcioni Laura J. Moss Courtney O’Neal-Hill Kathi Welch Claudine Wilkins

Cover Photography Sara Hanna


Photography Amber Corbi March–May 2019, Vol. 4, No. 12 Atlanta Pet Life Send your comments, questions or concerns to Submissions chosen for publication may be edited for length or clarity. Copyright ©2019 Atlanta Pet Life Reproduction in whole or in part is not allowed without written permission from the publisher. Printed in the U.S.A. by Walton Press, Inc.

4 Spring 2019 | Atlanta Pet Life

editor’s letter


he first recorded instance of the phrase “man’s best friend” is believed to have come from King Frederick of Prussia who in 1789 was quoted as saying, “Dog is man’s best friend,” apparently in reference to his beloved Italian Greyhound. But dogs have likely been man’s best friend for much longer than that. And why wouldn’t they be? Dogs provide hours of entertainment as puppies, are protectors of the family during their middle years and become true, constant companions as senior dogs. The spring issue of Atlanta Pet Life will introduce you to the best friends of metro celebrities and non-celebrities alike. The common thread among our cover profiles of Atlanta Hawks’ Omari Spellman, radio deejay Bert Weiss, nonprofit founder E. Vincent Martinez and Hollywood Feed regional manager Kelsie Pederson is their love of their four-legged friends. As the warmer temperatures arrive, we’ve provided some fun places you can take your best friend, including some upcoming pet-friendly events such as the Walk, Wag, N’ Run 5K Run & Fun Run on Aug. 24 in Lenox Park, or dog-friendly establishments such as Treehouse Pup in Atlanta. Don’t worry: We know cats can be great pet friends, too. After all, I have three cats, including a new rescue kitten I got in September I named Scotty. He has quickly garnered the nickname Naughty Scotty for all the kitten mischief he gets in to. So I read contributor Sparrow Marcioni’s tips on how to talk to your cat with great interest. Claudia Wilkins, attorney and founder of Animal Law Source, takes a look at some of the issues of giving CBD oil to injured or ailing pets. No matter who your best friend is, we hope you and your pet have years of fun together.

Behind the Cover Atlanta Hawks basketball rookie Omari Spellman arrived fresh off practice, and after a grueling, but successful two week road trip with the team, with his adorable Black Labrador puppy Milly. While we all oohed and aahed over her cuteness, she cuddled up to our publisher’s husband Sonny, then Omari and Milly worked the camera, posing like a couple of pros. Milly was rewarded generously with treats for her cooperation. Photographer: Sara Hanna

Shoot Assistant: Tyler Hayes

Lisa R. Schoolcraft Editor Atlanta Pet Life

Spring 2019 | Atlanta Pet Life 5

PET LIFE MOVERS & SHAKERS | Social Influence

Doodle Bugs

The Coolest Doods in Town: Meet That Dood Squad®

That Dood Squad® is the coolest crew in Atlanta. The dogs and their moms often work with brands, such as pet bandana companies, for photoshoots.

says. Before long, Country Living, MSN, “Good Morning America” and even Reese Witherspoon were posting the photo. The doodles became canine celebrities as their faces graced some of the country’s most well-known media sources. As That Dood Squad’s official puparazzi, Steckbauer is responsible for the troop’s adorable images — a process that can take several hours. “We shoot monthly, and we try to get 12 looks within that photo shoot day,” she says. If you’re wondering how to get seven dogs facing the camera at the same time, Steckbauer explains the moms are full of patience and a lot of tricks. “We’re talking to them constantly,” she says. “Sometimes we have a little shaker when we really need to get their attention on us. If I can get one click when they’re all looking, we move on!” The goal? To snap any sponsored content, build a stockpile of photos for the squad’s social media platforms and provide plenty of play time because, ultimately, it’s all about the dogs having a great time. “They know when they come to these shoots they’re ready to work. But we also want to have time for them to play and get their energy out. That’s the No. 1 thing. We want them to have fun,” Steckbauer says. It turns out that life is all about balance for everyone, including famous, photoworthy doodles.

Written by Nicole Letts Photos by Shelby Rae Photographs


f you stumble upon a 1967 candy apple red MGB filled with seven doodles, grab your camera! You’ve discovered That Dood Squad.® Comprised of dog-moms and their pups, That Dood Squad is one fetching friend group. What began as a dog meet-up quickly formed into lasting friendships. These owners and their pet pals are 36,000 followers deep on Instagram (@thatdoodsquad), have been featured on Nashville’s “Pickler & Ben” and can be found cruising around Atlanta donning their cool-Dood attire. The squad includes Addie, Cedar, Charlie, Charlie, Lola, Packer and Sheldon. Each dog is brimming with personality that photographer, Shelby Steckbauer, mom to Lola, stunningly captures. Often photographed with ear-to-ear grins, these doodles bring happiness to their little corner of the internet. “People come to our Facebook page every day thanking us for sharing some positivity,” she says. The fandom began with one viral photo: a Christmasthemed shot from a local tree farm. “It just exploded,” Steckbauer

6 Spring 2019 | Atlanta Pet Life

These dogs are down for anything, including dressing in rain gear for potential spring showers.

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Second Life Atlanta

Nonprofit Raises $1.25 Million for Animals in Need Written by Cherese Cobb | Photos courtesy of Second Life Atlanta


n Feb. 16, 2011, Tanya Mahrous and her husband, Toby Tobias, opened Second Life Atlanta thrift stores in Avondale Estates. The couple’s dream was to give homeless pets a second chance by financially supporting the animals and the people who care for them. Since then, the nonprofit has donated more than $1.25 million to 60 animal rescues and spay/neuter programs. Its grants have helped spay more than 7,500 family pets and strays. “We can never adopt our way out of pet overpopulation if they continue to breed. It’s like digging in the sand,” Tobias says. They’ve also fostered more than 135 cats and kittens. “We’re proud to have found homes for several FIV-positive cats, oneeyed cats and numerous senior cats,” Mahrous says. “We wanted

Top: Riley with the Luckydog Mobile truck. Right: Cats like Bagley are ready for adoption. 8 Spring 2019 | Atlanta Pet Life

Lucky was Second Life Atlanta’s first Chief Smile Officer.

Top:, Riley, helps Toby and Tanya at the front desk. Above: Ricky gets comfy at Second Life Atlanta. to follow our passions and make a difference in the world for animals — without sitting in a cubicle for the second half of our careers.” During her high school reunion, she accidentally walked into a similar thrift store in her hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska. She quit her job as an airline marketer and spent a year creating a business plan, researching the industry and shadowing a thrift store owner in Lincoln. She and her husband also started volunteering at animal rescues. “We realized how much they struggled to raise money and how hard the volunteers worked even with full-time jobs,” she says. Their inspiration was Lucky, a 75-pound Dalmatian that was just days away from being euthanized. Strong willed with Houdinilike escape artist skills, the 6-year-old dog had been returned to the shelter twice. He’d been deemed “unadoptable” by the staff, but a volunteer wouldn’t give up on him. She asked the couple to foster him for a few weeks. “We took him to one adoption event.

That was it,” she says. “He was with us for 11 years.” Lucky was designated the chief smile officer (CSO). He sat in the store’s window and watched people walk by, while Mahrous manned the register by herself. “We joke that he kept us in business that first year,” she says. They didn’t have much in their store, but passers-by would see him and buy something. “He was with us for the first 11 months, and then his old body gave out,” she says. Three months later, the couple met Riley, a German ShorthairPointer mix, on a trip to visit relatives in Egypt. They fostered him because he was sleeping on a metal bed without a cushion in a shelter that had 400 free-roaming dogs. “We say his official breed is snuggle hound,” she says. “He just won our hearts over and has become our new CSO.” Eight years later, Second Life has 30 active volunteers and sells gently-used clothes, shoes, housewares, furniture, artwork, books and accessories at two stores next door to each other. While they don’t consign, the owners get everything from antiques more than 150 years old to new designer items. On the third Saturday of every month, they also have a 40 percent-off sale storewide. A line of 15 to 20 people winds around the building before the doors open at 11 a.m. “It’s truly like a treasure hunt at our stores,” Mahrous says. “We get so many people telling us that we’re their favorite place to shop.” Second Life Atlanta | Tanya Mahrous and Toby Tobias 1 N. Clarendon Avenue | Avondale Estates 30002 | 678.974.5671 | Facebook:@secondlifeatlanta Twitter and Instagram: @secondlifeatl Spring 2019 | Atlanta Pet Life 9


All Paws on Deck

Kabbage lets you clock in with your “kritter” Written by Cherese Cobb | Photos courtesy of Kabbage


abbage has an Atlanta headquarters that doesn’t operate like traditional workspaces. It’s not just the free lunches, ping pong tables or kegerators with digital beer-ranking systems coded and designed by Kabbagers. But those perks don’t hurt. “It’s the people who have that fire in their bellies to be successful, like to raise a hand to help others and aren’t afraid to raise a hand when they need help,” says Amy Zimmerman, head of global people operations at Kabbage. The employees are insatiably curious and deeply caring, and they aren’t waiting on someone else to deliver the answers. Kabbage turbocharges small-business owners by looking at their characters and live business data from the past three months, approving access to more than $5.6 billion in less time than it takes to check out at the grocery store. It’s also set up an online community called the Small Business Water Cooler, where business beginners share their successes, seek advice and celebrate failures. At the company’s Midtown offices, pets are people too. On employee volunteer days, Kabbagers lend a hand at local rescues, shelters and spay/neuter events. “Agencies like PAWS Atlanta and the Lifeline Animal Project rely heavily on volunteer support so they can keep their overhead costs low. We’re happy to step 10 Spring 2019 | Atlanta Pet Life

in to walk the animals, clean their cages and bathe and feed them — whatever the agency finds most valuable,” says Kate Prince, a Kabbage operations team member. “Volunteering is a nice way to break up the work week and get to know teammates with whom we might not spend time in the office. We often benefit just as much as the recipient of our work.” On any given day, 10 dogs are on the floor, but cats are included, too. Kabbage CEO Rob Frohwein brings in his cats from time to time. His 4-year-old Magnus loves to fetch his stuffed lobster and hit ping pong balls back to staffers. Ashley Petrilli, a partner marketer, says her miniature pinscher also sees the office as an outing. “Prudence loves Kabbage so much that her ears perk up, and she runs to the door when I tell her she’s going to work with me,” says Petrilli. “She likes to sit in everyone’s laps and give them kisses.” Kabbage’s “kritters” roam conference rooms, snuggle in owner-supplied beds and play with squeaky toys. “Employees are responsible for the animals, but there are no limitations to where they can go,” Zimmerman says. Pets must be up-to-date on their shots, electronically registered and preferably potty trained. “There’s still an accident from time to time,” Zimmerman admits. Most pets are kept off the furniture because some employees have allergies to

Top left: Kabbage lets employees bring “kritters” to work. Top right: Buster sits in on Kabbage’s new hire orientation. Bottom: Staffers attend a city hall meeting with their pets. dander and saliva. While these employees don’t pet the dogs, they refer to them as Prozac. “My guy [Bruster] is so goofy with his tongue hanging out,” Zimmerman says, pointing out the healthy and somewhat distracting laughter and barking in the background. “I’ve never seen anybody, even investment bankers that are buttoned up, not smile.” Sometimes the pets get more attention than their owners. “What always cracks me up is how everyone is like, ‘Good morning, Ruben! Oh, hi!’” says Michelle Lisowski, head of brand. “I’m always an afterthought.” Kabbage | Paul Bernardini and Amy Zimmerman 730 Peachtree St. N.E. Suite 1100 Atlanta 30308 | 888.986.8263 | Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @kabbageInc

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Where Ryan Roams Spring 2019 Follow Ryan, an Atlanta Humane Society rescue, on her adventures throughout pet friendly ATL. Written by Nicole Letts | Photos by Amber Martin Smith


n Atlanta spring is tough to beat. We’re defrosting from winter’s last breath, watching temperatures steadily rise and enjoying longer days. As a result, Atlantans are beckoned outside, and that means making our way to the plentiful outdoor establishments. Parks are packed, the Beltline is bustling and courtyards are canine-filled. With patio weather upon us, it’s a prime opportunity to plan a date with your pup. To get in the springtime spirit, Ryan and I have a few recommendations for dog-friendly, sun-drenched spots to add to your spring adventure bucket list.

Canines for kombucha Head to Atlanta’s first kombucha taproom that’s completely dog-friendly. Cultured 12 Spring 2019 | Atlanta Pet Life

Above: Dogs are welcome inside and out at Cultured South’s kombucha tasting room. Below: Finish off a doggy picnic from Southern Bistro with a handmade dog bone at Cultured South.

South is located off the buzzing Westside Trail of the Beltline at Lee & White, one of the city’s foremost food and beverage districts. At the fermented food epicenter, there are ample picnic tables outside for pets and their people to enjoy water and kombucha, respectively. Even better? Dogs are welcome inside, too. Large garage doors allow the outdoors in, and tons of seating create a relaxed, hospitable vibe. What’s better than a flight of locally made kombucha and a few hours with friends in the spring sun after a trip down the Beltline? Ryan Says: Cultured South’s branded treats by Big Daddy Biscuits were the highlight of my tap room trip. Cultured South 1038 White Street SW | Atlanta 30310 | 404.549.8314

A true neighborhood favorite, find dog-friendly dining at Treehouse.

Delicious doggy bags A Sandy Springs restaurant that offers a complete doggy dining menu is our kind of place. The restaurant’s quaint, shade-filled patio is canine cordial. Owners can request doggy bowls of grilled chicken, bacon or rice, and can even take home a complimentary doggy bone, too. We ordered ours to-go for a pup-approved PerkNPooch-1/4H_Ad-2.indd picnic. Ryan enjoyed her bowls. If you really want to make your dog’s day a great one, throw her a doggy birthday party at Southern Bistro. Dog-centric parties are one of the restaurant’s pet-friendly offerings.


11/20/18 8:19 P

Ryan says: Bowls of bacon and chicken give the phrase “doggy bag” an entirely new meaning. Southern Bistro 4920 Roswell Rd | Atlanta 30342, 404.705.8444

Outdoor dining digs A Buckhead institution, Peachtree Hills’ Treehouse Pub is always brimming with pooches. Visitors are encouraged to bring their dogs to any of the outdoor tables around the restaurant. Pups are provided with water bowls along with plenty of love and undying attention from the staff. While the restaurant encloses the patio for cooler weather, spring usually signals the tin roof’s removal. Once the umbrellas are up and the misters are on, it feels like a garden oasis in the middle of a bustling city. Head to Treehouse to celebrate the dawn of spring with your furry BFF. Ryan says: There are always friends to see at Treehouse. Employees welcome us with open arms, water bowls and lots of attention. Treehouse Pub | 7 Kings Circle NE | Atlanta 30305 | 404.266.2732

Spring 2019 | Atlanta Pet Life 13


The Brookhaven Cherry Blossom Festival This two-day music and art extravaganza will get you and your family out and about — including the family dog. Written by Cherese Cobb


ifteen minutes north of downtown Atlanta, the Brookhaven Cherry Blossom Festival is the perfect excuse to come out of hibernation, shake off your winter blues and bloom with your family and four-legged friends. The annual spring celebration began in 2014 when the city planted 240 Yoshino and Kwanzan cherry trees in Blackburn Park on Ashford Dunwoody Road. The free event, held this year from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. March 30 and 31, has featured acts such as the Steppin’ Stones, Transviolet and Wesley Cook on a big stage. Its Kidz Zone has 17 rides including a mechanical bulldog, an 18-foot rock wall and a bungee trampoline. “We make sure that no kid is ever bored waiting to get on a ride,” says Patty Hansen, Brookhaven’s director of fund development and special projects manager. Here, clowns create balloon sculptures, stilt walkers carry cotton candy and jugglers toss hula hoops. “We have some really fun Shakespeare actors and one clown that blows those giant bubbles. . Of course, there will be outrageously fantastic face painting.” The Pet World area has a lure course by Badferret Lure Chasing that last year raised money for Angels Among Us Pet Rescue. Initial runs are $10, with additional runs priced at $5. During the pet parade, you might see Callie and Ollie zooming

14 Spring 2019 | Atlanta Pet Life

around in their Oscar Mayer wienermobile and decked out pets in a costume contest. “We’ve added a new category: cutest couple. It’ll go to the pet and owner that puts together the cutest dual look,” Hansen says. “We have Dahlonega Action Dogs who’ll perform agility and disc demonstrations.” The Dogs incorporate music, instruction, Q&A and a chance to meet the border collies. Sponsors are also bringing treats and a variety of water bowls. A whimsical artists market will feature

90 regional artisans and their jewelry, pottery, paintings, photography and folk art. “Six of them will be interactive,” says Hansen. Jeremy Thomas will allow you to try your hand at glassblowing, while Sean O’Shea, a modern-day blacksmith, will create functional and buyable steel artwork. “We’re really excited about that. We recognize that this is a huge family event. An artists market might not be the place kids want to go with their parents, so we’re trying to make it a place where kids

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Spring 2019 | Atlanta Pet Life 15 1591 Access Rd. • Covington, GA 30016


Spring/Summer Calendar Bow Wow Brunch April 14 3143 Maple Drive, Atlanta Brunch for a good cause? Head over to the Atlanta Humane Society’s Bow Wow Brunch at Flourish by Tony Conway and the Legendary Events team. It’s the Humane Society’s largest fundraiser with the proceeds directly benefitting the organization.

Aggression in Dogs: Defensive Handling and Training May 4 245 Dekalb Industrial Way, Decatur If you’ve wanted to learn how to work with aggressive dogs, whether as a trainer, a behavioral consultant or a volunteer in a shelter, now is your chance. Offered by Michael Shikashio and Trish McMillan of Canine PHD, the two-day workshop is comprehensive and covers defensive handling as well as behavior modifications.

Above: Ahimsa   House volunteers. Left: Cat Yoga. Lower left: Vickie Kirbo at Doggies on the Catwalk 2018.

Georgia Dachshund Races

Party for the Paws

June 15

May 4

2405 Sugarloaf Parkway, Lawrenceville

2740 Caldwell Road NE, Atlanta Grab your pup and go to the most happening PAWrty in town. Party for the Paws benefits PAWS Atlanta, a dog and cat rescue organization. The party is held at Puppy Haven and features food trucks, a photo booth, live music, vendors, beer tent, bounce house and more. Don’t have a Fido of your own yet? Don’t worry, there will be pups up for adoption at the party, too, so you never know!

Yoga With Cats May 4 6570 James B Rivers Drive, Stone Mountain You may never be as flexible as a cat, but you can at least try to emulate a feline in this free yoga class. Benefitting Atlanta Animal Rescue Friends and held at its shelter in Stone Mountain, the class will also be attended by shelter cats. You may even find a kitty to take home.

Furkids Pet Adoptions June 22

Doggies on the Catwalk

5354 McGinnis Ferry Road, Alpharetta

June 1

Don’t miss the chance to meet your new best friend. Go to Fido’s Market in Alpharetta on the fourth Saturday of the month where Furkids will have dogs available for adoption. While you’re there, check out the inventory of natural pet care supplies, including dog food, treats and toys.

Greenberg Traurig 3333 Piedmont Road, Atlanta Pups and celebrity models get the runway treatment at this popular annual event. Looks are provided by Saks Fifth Avenue, and the awws are provided by lovable pups. The event benefits Doggies on the Catwalk Foundation that provides funding to individuals with disabilities who need dogs to improve their lives, and to the organizations that provide homes and safety to dogs in need. 16 Spring 2019 | Atlanta Pet Life

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Georgia Dachshund Races benefitting Little Paws Dachshund Rescue. Grab a seat and watch as doxies race each other. The winners are sent to the national competition in Ohio. Your four-legged friend is welcome to join. Along with the races, enjoy a costume contest, fastest nose contest and obstacle course.

Dog Days 5K June 22 3150 Old Alabama Road, Alpharetta On your mark, get set, go! Hosted by

Every Saturday from noon to 2:30 p.m., Orphan Annie Rescue sets up at PetSmart with adoptable pets. The no-kill rescue organization takes dogs from all over Georgia that were placed high-kill shelters (many of them on their last day).

Five Star NTP, the Dog Days 5K is held at Alpharetta’s Newtown Park. Run with or without your pup and know that a portion of the event’s proceeds benefit the Atlanta Humane Society.

Walk, Wag, N’ Run 5K Run & Fun Run

Read to Dogs

Aug. 24


Lenox Park, Atlanta Whether you’re a walker or a runner, strap on your shoes and hit the pavement for Ahimsa House, an organization that aids victims of domestic abuse and their dogs to escape dire situations. This 5K is also a Peachtree Road qualifier.

Meet Adoptable Pets

3238 Cherokee Street, Kennesaw Believe it or not, dogs benefit from being read to, too! Mostly Mutts needs volunteers to read to its high-anxiety dogs every Wednesday evening. Children are especially encouraged to volunteer as this also gives them a chance to practice reading.

Saturdays 128 Perimeter Center West, Atlanta

12850 Highway 9N Alpharetta, GA 30004

The powder white sands of Destin and Sandestin await you with a wide range of affordable pet accommodations.

For pet-welcoming memories! Book your rental now and we will make a donation to a local pet shelter or rescue group.

Spring 2019 | Atlanta Pet Life 17



on Atlanta morning radio for 18 years Written by Courtney O’Neal-Hill | Photos courtesy of Bert Weiss


ost of The Bert Show on Q99.7 FM, the nownationally syndicated program also reaches 20 other markets across the country. Outside of the show, Weiss is the owner of English bulldogs, Riggins and Tyra. “I got them both as pups from a dad of a Bert’s Big Adventure child,” he says, referencing his nonprofit that provides an all-expenses-paid, five-day journey to Walt Disney World for children with chronic and terminal illnesses and their families every February. “He breeds English bulldogs, and I’d always wanted to own one.” Weiss recalls having dogs in his life from an early age. “I remember growing up in New York with my mom, and we had this awesome German shepherd and a Shih Tzu.” When he moved to San Diego to live with his father, he helped him breed Doberman pinschers for a while. After radio stints in San Diego, Dallas and Washington, D.C., Weiss made the move to Atlanta to helm his eponymous show in 2001. “Because of the show, I never thought I’d be able to own a dog,” Weiss says, but the laid-back nature of the English bulldog breed plays well into Weiss’ extremely busy schedule. “I’m up every morning at 3:45 a.m. to get ready, and I’m usually not back home until noon,” he says of his weekday routine. “Then, I walk the dogs for about 20 minutes, and they usually get some other type of exercise, and that’s it for them. That’s all they need! English bulldogs just fit my nutty lifestyle so easily.” Five-year-old Riggins, whom Weiss describes as “very English bulldoggish” and the most laid back of the two dogs, loves human interaction but is quite skittish of other dogs due to an attack by two strays one afternoon while he and Weiss were on a Brookhaven stroll. “I’ve gotten him help through a trainer, and he’s getting better, slowly,” he says. “He gets along very well with [1-year-old] Tyra, even Bert Weiss has two English bulldogs, Riggins, who is 5, and Tyra, who is 1.

18 Spring 2019 | Atlanta Pet Life

though she’s extremely hyper and all over the place.” Riggins, whom Weiss also describes as “a lover of the concept of walking more than actual walking,” often finds himself as the star attraction by Weiss’ side across his social media platforms. He’s also been with his owner through some rough times, including his 2015 verypublic divorce from now-ex-wife, Stacey, after 18 years of marriage. “Riggins was with me through that time, which was very tough. He’s always been right there.”

Both dogs are considered family by Weiss’ sons, Hayden and Hollis; his live-in girlfriend, Tiffany; and her daughter. “Everyone at home is in love with Riggins and Tyra, although Tyra, well, she’s more of a boxer than a bulldog–stubborn, full of life and wants to play all the time,” Weiss says with a laugh. Despite his bulldogs’ opposite personalities, Weiss’ voice lifts at every mention of them. “Why are dogs considered ‘man’s best friend?’ Because you really get the feeling that it’s a true partnership and relationship with them, and it’s not like that with any other animal, in my opinion. I just don’t know what I’d do without my two.”

ht r thoug e v e n I says, show, Weiss of the ” , e g s o u d sh a “Bec own a e Engli h o t t f e o l b e r natu eiss’ I’d be a into W d-back i l l a l e e w h s but t play le. g breed busy schedu o d l l u b ely extrem

Spring 2019 | Atlanta Pet Life 19



unleashes motivation Written by Courtney O’Neal-Hill | Photos courtesy of Tomas Espinoza

ount on “They c love us us and y. itionall uncond an More th g, anythin always they ’re o be happy t , even with us e’re in when w ood. a bad m y can And the , r minds read ou really which is creepy!”


uba native E. Vincent Martinez came up with an idea more than a decade ago when he was teaching fashion at Midtown Atlanta’s Grady High School. “I wanted my students to get involved in some philanthropic way, and as a dog lover, Doggies on the Catwalk just made sense,” he says. When he left Grady, Martinez took Doggies on the Catwalk with him. Now in its twelfth year, the annual fashion event that mixes pups and posh is a city favorite, raising funds for local animal welfare causes. Emceed by Martinez’s friend and Atlanta television media royalty, Monica Pearson, the event also features notable area personalities and professional models in haute couture while walking the runway with a dog. For years, the event only included rescue dogs on stage with hopes the event’s spotlight would get them adopted. Now, it features service dogs through the Milton, Georgia, organization Canine Assistants. The

E. Vincent Martinez’s standard poodle Simone is just one of his three dogs. The other two are Yorkies Barrett and Bixby.

20 Spring 2019 | Atlanta Pet Life

nonprofit educates and provides animals for children and adults with physical disabilities and other special needs. Currently a fashion design instructor at the Art Institute of Atlanta and publisher of fashion blog “fashionado,” Martinez and his fiancé, Alex Page, are owners to Yorkies Barrett, 8; Bixby, 9; and 10-year-old standard poodle Simone, who was gifted to him by a former Grady student. “We’re like the Brady Bunch,” Martinez says of his blended family, as Barrett and Bixby belonged to Page when he and Martinez met years ago. “They’re our babies,” he says. “I enjoy making a special concoction of dog food for them every day. They count on us and love us unconditionally. More than anything, they’re always happy to be with us, even when we’re in a bad mood. And they can read our minds, which is really creepy!” Around the signature event’s 10th year, Martinez launched the Doggies on the Catwalk Foundation that raises funds for pet-based nonprofits providing assistance to individuals with special medical needs and funds for organizations giving homes to animals who need them. Canine Assistants and Pets Are Loving Support (PALS) are two of the foundation’s beneficiaries. “Fix Georgia Pets, which provides spay and neuter services, is another nonprofit that we’ve raised funds for,” he says, adding that the foundation has donated $185,000 over the past few years.


adjusting to atlanta Written by Carl Danbury | Photos by Sara Hanna


t turns out that Milly and her owner, Atlanta Hawks rookie forward Omari Spellman, share more than a townhome. Spellman, the 6-foot-9-inch, 245-pound power forward fresh from another Villanova national championship, was selected in the first round by the Hawks. Shortly after his move to Atlanta and his 21st birthday, Spellman brought Milly home, and her boundless energy, constant companionship and endearing expressions of love tugged at his heart, despite her “turnovers” on the clean floor after the pair had just returned from hour-long walks. “Like others who are single dog owners, I would get frustrated with some of the things she did,” Spellman says. “It’s a learning experience. I am actually thinking about getting a second dog, now that I have the hang of it and know what I am doing.” But like Milly, Spellman admits he has made his share of rookie mistakes too. “Early in the season with John (Collins) being out and Vince (Carter) being in his final season, I was playing a lot of minutes,” Spellman says. When Collins returned to the lineup, Spellman’s minutes decreased. He saw just 15 minutes of action in December and was sent to the Erie BayHawks of the G League to rehab a hip injury and receive a much-needed dose of confidence. “I was struggling with some things personally and with my weight. I had to work my way through the adversity, and I still am,” he says. “Being a professional is an adjustment, a big learning curve. I thought I could come in and average a doubledouble (points and rebounds) and turn the league on its head. Sometimes, things don’t go as you planned.” Spellman believes true character comes when one hits adversity. “I won’t lie, I hit it early on, and I crumbled,” Spellman says. “I have been working through it and trying to become mentally tougher than I was in college. I have learned to try to improve step-by-step and day-by-day.” Milly has provided emotional stability during Spellman’s adjustment to the pro ranks. “It is truly rewarding to have a companion

that is with you all of the time when we are home. She is always super excited to see me, always jumps on me. Wherever I go, she follows. She helps me put things in perspective. Things may be rough right now, but they could be worse. I am grateful for her. It is reassuring to have her. She loves me, and I love her.”

“It’s a learning ex perience. I am actually thinking about getting a second dog, now that I have the ha ng of it and know w hat I am doing.”

Atlanta Hawks rookie forward Omari Spellman brought his puppy Milly home shortly after his move to Atlanta.

Spring 2019 | Atlanta Pet Life 21



stakes career in pet market Written by Courtney O’Neal-Hill | Photos courtesy of Gene Pennington


elsie Pederson grew up on a small farm in Kentucky with all types of animals, but one in particular was her favorite. “I really developed a love for dogs,” she says. ““The farm is really where it all began for me.” Today, she’s the proud owner of Labrador-mix Conley, 5, and pit bull-mix Drax, almost a year old. “They’re both rescues, and they’re truly my children,” Pederson says. “Coming home to them means everything to me.” In perhaps a nod to her love of dogs, Pederson joined the team of cat-and-dog specialty pet store Hollywood Feed in 2012. She took the leash as regional manager of the company’s Atlanta market in 2016, when its first metro location opened in Roswell. In a little more than two years, the chain has grown to 19 stores in the

t a ca n w o ou e to , but y at v a re th ’t h don work he m, and u o “Y s.” to the dog st love ur store a r o lea no t at ws i s o u h s m ly real

metro area, including its latest in Decatur. “Some of the workers bring their dogs to work, and many of our customers bring their cats and dogs in as well,” she says, while walking the aisles of the Decatur store. Stocked with a wide-range of pet beds, including its Mississippi Made brand that’s sourced and produced in the United States, foods, collars, toys and more, the store is laid out like a four-legged-friend’s heaven. The Memphis-based chain also donates several thousand pounds of food and other supplies to rescue group partners each year. Pederson says Hollywood Feed emphasizes customer service above all else. Its sales associates receive hours of training and regularly undergo updates on new products. “Everyone here loves pets,” she says. “You don’t have to own a cat or a dog to work here, but you must at least love them, and that really shows in our stores.” Pederson’s eyes light up as she talks about her two dogs. “I buy them stuff from the store all the time. Like I said, they’re my children, and I don’t know where I’d be without them.” But Pederson isn’t partial to any one breed. “Honestly, I like all dogs,” she says. “Obviously, working here was a good fit for me, but believe it or not, I didn’t have a dog when I first started with the company. But, that quickly changed!” The chain’s work with dog-rescue groups puts Pederson in contact with several dogs on a consistent basis. “It’s hard not to take many of them home with me. I have a feeling I’ll end up with a third sometime soon. But for now, there’s nothing in this world like the two I have.” Kelsie Pederson’s Lab mix Conley visits her at Hollywood Feed’s Decatur location.

22 Spring 2019 | Atlanta Pet Life

Spring 2019 | Atlanta Pet Life 23

PET LIFE EXPERTS | Catology 101

How to Talk to Your Cat

Written by Sparrow Marcioni


ost people talk to their pets and assume they understand exactly what’s being said. Often, owners perceive a reaction that indicates Fido or Fluffy does understand, but is it the words, tone of voice or body language our creatures understand? For instance, how many times have you had to give your cat a pill or apply flea medication, and before you take a step, your cat, who never hides, is under the bed? How did they know? Cats are very perceptive. They watch your eyes, hear your tone of voice and keep an eye on your hands and body language, just as they watch other cats. Feline language is a complex mix of facial expression, tail position, ear position and other forms of body language, in addition to scent and sound. Your eyes are most critical because they look where your attention is focused. Cats consider staring rude or aggressive behavior, so unless you are disciplining them, you should not stare with your eyes wide open. Try slightly closing them or looking sideways and winking or blinking to get them to return the gesture. Cats usually do not vocalize when communicating with another cats, with the exception of a hiss or growl. But vocalizing is how they communicate with us. Cats learn to make demands by observing which of their sounds cause the desired human responses. When teaching your cat to understand you, use different tones of voice for each command. One of the most valuable words is “No!” Focus your attention directly on

24 Spring 2019 | Atlanta Pet Life

them with a stern face and speak in the same firm, authoritative tone each time, possibly adding a hand gesture to point at whatever it is you want them to stop doing. We are constantly teaching the cats at La Maison du Chat not to claw furniture, so our command for that is “no claws” with a gesture to move off the furniture or a tap on their paw. It takes a little time, but most can learn. Of course, some will choose not to listen and may require additional motivation to obey your wishes. Always use your gentle, loving, higherpitched voice when offering treats and rewarding them for obeying, even if it’s just telling them they’re good kitties. And always do so with a smile. Your gestures should match your command. If you say “no” and pet your cat instead of pushing her away, she will interpret your actions as a welcome signal. And always be consistent with your requests and responses when you speak. Listen and watch for their responses as well. For instance, if their tails are straight up, they are happy, but if the tails are twitching, they are excited or anxious. If the tails are vibrating, they are very excited to see you (or the plate of food you are holding.) If their fur is standing straight up along their spines, it’s a sign of extreme aggression, but if they are puffed up all over their bodies, they are afraid. In a cat fight, the aggressor’s fur is usually standing up along the spine, and the victim will be puffed up all over to make themselves look bigger and fiercer. If their tails are low and tucked under, they are frightened. You can tell cats are excited or aggressive when their eyes are dilated, but slow blinking is like blowing you a kiss. If their

Here are a few tips on how to interpret their sounds and gestures: • A short meow is usually a way of saying “Hello,” while multiple meows mean they’re happy to see you. • A mid-pitch meow means they want something. • A long, drawn out meow means they really want your attention. • A low-pitched meow is usually complaining. • Purring can have multiple meanings, so it’s important to consider the circumstances. It usually means they’re content and happy, but sometimes it can mean they’re sick or feeling threatened. • Hissing is a sign of anger or sometimes fear and is intended to make you back off. • Clicking or chirping means they have seen a bird or other prey. ears are back against their heads, they are showing fear, anxiety or aggression. But rubbing against you, head butting, sniffing, nose kisses or licking are all signs of affection. With a little practice, you can talk to your cat, even if your friends eye you suspiciously. Sparrow Marcioni is the chief animal behaviorist at La Maison du Chat, a Reiki practitioner and founder of CatRangers Rescue. Contact her at or 770.831.5513.

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Laurel-Ann Dooley

The Dog Whisperer Written by Mickey Goodman


aurel-Ann Dooley doesn’t run a nonprofit for pets and has never received an award for her volunteerism, but nonetheless, she’s become a rock star in the Atlanta animal rescue world. “Until three years ago, I was a cat person,” says Dooley, a freelance writer, former attorney and “mother” of felines Bandit and Piper who lives in VirginiaHighland with her husband and daughter. “But when I took some kittens I’d been fostering to DeKalb County Animal Services for delivery to new homes, I saw row after row of dogs vying for attention. “They looked so lonely, I couldn’t help myself. I stayed and played with one of those square-faced, squat-bodied dogs that resemble a pit bull, the kind that people are afraid to adopt. And I discovered just how loveable they are.” She later encountered a dog huddled alone on the floor of his run. Dooley sat next to him and lured him out with soft whispers. She became the first stranger to fully earn his trust, and fellow volunteer Amy Caldwell dubbed her “the dog whisperer.” Dooley travels frequently so can’t adopt a dog but still wanted to become a frequent volunteer. She signed up for “Dog Walking 101” and settled into a routine of walking dogs several times a week. She splits her time between the DeKalb County facility and Fulton County Animal Services, both managed by LifeLine Animal Project, which works to end the euthanasia of healthy and treatable dogs and cats. It quickly turned into a near daily occurrence. “The more I do it, the more I want to,” she says. Next, she added “Dog for a Day” where volunteers pick up dogs and take them on day outings to parks or dog-friendly cafes. “The dogs wear ‘Adopt Me’ vests and

26 Spring 2019 | Atlanta Pet Life

Laurel-Ann Dooley

“They looked so lonely, I couldn’t help myself. I stayed and played with one of those squarefaced, squat-bodied dogs that resemble a pit bull, the kind that people are afraid to adopt. And I discovered just how loveable they are.” help spread awareness of the need for forever families,” she says. “I also post their pictures on social media and laminate their photos to hang on their cages. It causes

people to stop and take a look at my shy friends.” She also volunteers as a Weekend Warrior and takes on short-term fosters dogs that are entering the adoption process. Prior to bringing a dog home, she walks the potential pet by the cat cages to see how they’ll react. As for Bandit and Piper, they take the canine visitors in stride. Over time, Dooley’s reputation as the “dog whisperer” has increased in strength, particularly with dogs that are afraid of human contact. “I’m a shy person so I can relate to them,” she says. Says Caldwell, “Laurel-Ann’s patience, care and love for some of our most scared dogs make such a huge difference in their lives by encouraging them to trust people and helping to make them more successful once they find their forever homes. Her kindness goes such a long way!”

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Atlanta Pet Life

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GOGA Goat Yoga begins third year in Milton Written by Lisa R. Schoolcraft | Photography by Andrea Ferenchik


hree years ago, Cathi Huff was having a bit of empty nester syndrome. Her son and daughter had left for college, and she was looking for her second act. The certified health coach was trying to figure out how to incorporate that skill into her life’s new chapter when a friend suggested she get a couple of kid goats for her five-acre Atlantis Dream Farm in Milton. GOGA Goat Yoga, as she calls it, soon followed. “We held our first class April 10, 2017,” she says. Some local television publicity led to a “flood of interest overnight. As the season progressed, I realized it was more than goat yoga.” It quickly became clear the animals were providing therapy to the guests along with a yoga workout. But, Huff admits, it’s a lot of work. “Last year, I really wondered if I wanted to do it again,” she says. “But therapists were reaching out; private schools were reaching out. The lightbulb went off when I realized this is more about animal therapy.” Cathi Huff, below, founded GOGA Goat Yoga three years ago at her five-acre Milton farm. She now offers goat yoga summer camps, private events, birthday parties and more.

28 Spring 2019 | Atlanta Pet Life

She conducted a summer camp last year with about a dozen children, Each day, she taught them yoga and conducted mindfulness sessions. “I don’t think you are ever too young to learn about mindfulness and know what that means,” Huff says. “School is so competitive these days. This teaches children to close their eyes and be in the now.” Along with programs for children, Huff expects to offer summer camp again this year. She’ll also have aerial yoga, where participants are attached to silks. But the goat yoga is for young and old alike, she insists. “We’ve done adult birthday parties, bachelorette parties and corporate events,” she says. Some of her farm animals, which have grown to include a retired thoroughbred, three miniature horses, 10 goats, two pigs, two bunnies, two cats, two dogs and several chickens, will also be debuting soon in a children’s book, “Unlikely Friends, Dolly the Donkey.” Huff says the book is about Dolly, a miniature donkey, who arrives on the farm and becomes friends with three animals with disabilities. Huff’s GOGA Goat Yoga will also be featured this spring on Old Navy’s social media platforms as part of the clothing company’s “United States of Fun” campaign. Despite the buzz surrounding her goat yoga, Huff says the goal is health and wellness. “It’s about being here and quieting your mind,” she adds. For more information, visit GOGA at

Spring 2019 | Atlanta Pet Life 29

PET EXPERTS | Veterinary Profile

Dr. Lynn Bahr

Vet creates products to keep cats active

Dezi & Roo’s Wiggly GM2

“If owners were able to see life from a cat’s point of view, they would realize they may not be meeting all of their cat’s needs.”

Written by Laura J. Moss


r. Lynn Bahr didn’t always want to be a veterinarian. In fact, she was pursuing a degree in physics with dreams of becoming an astronomer when her cat, Rudolph, suddenly became ill. “While working with a veterinary friend to [help Rudolph], the desire to become a vet myself manifested,” she says. “I realized that I’d better serve this world by becoming an advocate on behalf of cats. At that time in the 1980s, being a feline-only veterinarian was a novel idea, but I was

30 Spring 2019 | Atlanta Pet Life

determined to create a practice that was solely devoted to cats and the people who love them. Rudolph taught me everything I needed to know about what cats want and need, and vet school gave me the tools to make it happen.” Bahr graduated from The University of Georgia’s College of Veterinary Medicine in 1991 and began practicing in Atlanta, where she realized that as feline friends transitioned from outdoor pets to indoor ones, they were developing a new set of medical and behavioral issues. That’s when she began dedicating more time to

educating cat owners about environmental enrichment, but finding that products to help cats cope with the stress of living indoors were in short supply, she launched her own line of cat products. “I created Dezi & Roo,” Bahr says. “Our products are designed to keep cats active, engaged and entertained so they can live happy and healthy lives. Cats have little say in most aspects of their lives, which is not only frustrating for them, but also leads to depression and a host of health problems. If owners were able to see life from a cat’s point of view, they would realize they may not be meeting all of their cat’s needs.” Now, Dezi & Roo, named after Bahr’s own felines, is a full-time venture, and Bahr designs toys that engage all cats, including declawed kitties that often have difficulties playing due to pain and balance issues. “As a pro-claw veterinarian, I’m proud to say I’ve never declawed a cat,” she says. “I became a veterinarian to help cats, not harm them. Speaking out against this cruel procedure is something I feel is necessary. It’s my mission to advocate for the wellbeing of all cats and the reason I not only became a veterinarian, but also founded Dezi & Roo.” For more information about Dezi & Roo visit

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Pot for Pets? Is cannabidiol hype, harmful or helpful? Written by Claudine Wilkins, founder of Animal Law Source


ot a pet that freaks out over thunderstorms, fireworks, vet trips, car rides and separation anxiety, or is just plain hyper? Or an older pet with joint pain or GI issues or cancer? Some owners have found that a dose of CBD can make a big difference. Most people hear CBD (cannabidiol) and automatically think marijuana, but it’s important to understand the difference between CBD and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). CBD is made up mostly of hemp, while THC is the psychoactive component of marijuana. CBD gives a relaxing sensation but does not give the high that THC does. Found in pot and hemp, CBD is also the key ingredient in Epidiolex, a seizure medication that is the first cannabisderived drug approved by the FDA. In humans, CBD oil has been found to reduce anxiety and treat epilepsy, even in drug resistant cases. It also relieves pain and benefits the heart. Though there is no 32 Spring 2019 | Atlanta Pet Life

scientific proof on this now, it may help treat the symptoms of cancer treatment such as nausea, chronic pain and loss of appetite to help keep animals comfortable. “After years of back pain and facing back surgery, I tried CDB therapy, and it drastically changed my life,” says Michael Dunn, founder of Blue Ocean Lifestyle and CDB America Shaman stores. “I am living proof of the benefits, so I changed careers to help others. I opened two CBD stores in the Atlanta area.” Cannabis can provide many benefits to humans, from everyday health to treating diseases, but it has not been proven to work in animals. The veterinary community is not going to condone CBD treatment until evidence-based medicine is solid. Currently, the American Veterinary Association (AVMA) does not allow veterinarians to recommend or prescribe cannabis to their clients. With most technology, law is often lagging behind, and so is the case for cannabidiol therapy. But the 2017 House of Delegates meeting at the AVMA annual

convention discussed marijuana therapies for pets, and recommendations included having the AVMA investigate working with other research organizations and medical stakeholders. Right now, there is a lack of research on the effects of CBD therapy in pets. AVMA is concerned that pets may die as a result of possible overdoses, negative drug interactions or bad ingredients from an unregulated seller. Go to to find our published “Animal Law Source Toolkit©” on this subject for pet owners. For additional information, Animal Law Source at

Can veterinarians prescribe or even recommend CBD Oil for pets in Georgia? No. Regardless that some states have legalized marijuana, and physicians can recommend cannabis for medical purposes to their patients without any disciplinary actions, the laws are different for physicians and veterinarians. So even

in jurisdictions where marijuana is legal, without a specific authorization for veterinary use, veterinarians are not protected in recommending and discussing its use to clients.

Can veterinarians discuss cannabinoid products as a treatment option? Currently there are no FDA-approved marijuana or hemp products for use in animals, and thus the legality of veterinarians recommending any unapproved products can be confusing. Furthermore, any discussion regarding any therapeutic regimen should be consistent with a valid Veterinarian-Client Patient-Relationship (VCPR).

If a vet cannot recommend it, can a pet owner buy and use CBD for their pets? Yes, anyone can buy CBD oil online, and there is fierce competition to attract pet owners. But remember, it is unregulated field. Dosages and drug interactions could be harmful or even fatal. There are side effects. Since the AVMA warns veterinarians not to recommend CBD therapy at this time, who will you consult with about these issues? If you plan on using CBD, you should at least tell your veterinarian and

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keep several things in mind: • Cheaper is not always better, don’t look for the cheapest product you want to make sure you are getting good quality oil for your pet, be sure to research where and how the hemp was grown. • CBD not THC. Some CBD oils can have higher levels of THC than others. Be sure you are checking the concentration and buying products with high CBD and low THC. You want your pet to have the relaxation and health benefits without the intoxication. • Good quality CBD oil is manufactured using the whole plant which adds terpenes as well as flavonoids from the hemp plant, making the benefits all that much greater. • CBD oil is a new industry there are no regulations that control the manufacturing process. How does company produce their oils and if they use the “whole plant”?

There are risks when giving our pets CBD oil. An animal’s liver immediately processes cannabis and then eliminates through their urine. Cannabis can also affect the production of liver enzymes and how the liver metabolizes certain drugs. The production of salvia is affected by cannabis causing dry mouth which may cause excessive thirst. High doses of CBD may cause low blood pressure as well. It is important to notify your veterinarian before giving your pet CBD to discuss negative drug interactions. The cannabis industry is growing at incredible rates and benefits are front page news. Evidence-based veterinary medicine is paramount, and the laws and regulations are moving very fast in this arena. By the time this article is published, I expect there will be more changes. Know what you are getting into and speak to your veterinarian.

What are the side effects?

Copyrighted by Claudine Wilkins, Founder Animal Law Source (2014), Past Chair of the Animal Law Section to the Georgia Bar,, 770-356-9770, Special thanks to Cassidy Brook for her contribution.

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Reindog Parade

Walk & Roll Alpharetta, Oct. 14, 2018


alk & Roll is a new outdoor redcarpet pet charity event organized and hosted by Greta Russo of SUP Creative Group, a company that plans corporate and socials events. Held at Alpharetta’s Wills Park, Walk & Roll included swag bags for all registrants, a pet costume contest, food trucks and doggy-centric vendors. The event raised funds for Throw Away Dogs Project, a charity that trains dogs to be military canine soldiers, K9 officers or therapy dogs, and Pit Sisters, another charity that provides homes to hard-to-adopt dogs in need. Thanks to sponsors, donors and the pet-loving community, more than $2,000 was raised.

Walk $ Roll

Walk $ Roll For information, visit, and

Costumes on the Woof Atlanta, Oct. 25, 2018

H Walk $ Roll 34 Spring 2019 | Atlanta Pet Life

Walk $ Roll

OWL-O-Ween in Atlanta started off right by celebrating at the Eighth Annual Costumes on the Woof, a fundraising gala at Loews Atlanta Hotel to benefit Lifeline Animal Project. Pet parents dressed up their favorite pooches and themselves, and strutted their stuff for a good cause. Tickets included two Halloween-inspired cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, complimentary goodie gift bags and a photo booth, plus access to silent auction bidding. PaWty Animals Lucy & Holly joined furfriends for a dog costume runway show and a chance to

win prizes, sip on pooch cocktails, enjoy small bites and strike a pose at the photo booth. Emcees were Kristin Klingshirn and Moe Mitch of “The Bert Show,” and the guest judges included Instagram celeb Tuna Melts My Heart, TV personality Nikky Williams and Atlanta Pet Life’s Lia Picard. Founded in 2002, LifeLine is an Atlanta-based nonprofit working to end the euthanasia of healthy and treatable dogs and cats in metro area shelters. For information, visit

Come Together Gala to Fix Georgia Pets Buckhead, Nov. 1, 2018


tlanta Pet Life’s Bill Garst and contributing writer Kathi Welch were among the guests at Fix Georgia Pets’ Seventh Annual “Come Together” gala and auction at the Buckhead home of Fix Georgia Pets founder Ginny Millner and her husband, Guy. The nonprofit, dedicated to ending pet overpopulation and euthanasia in Georgia, hosted acclaimed fashion designer Josie Natori as

Come Together Gala

runway? Held annually, the parade is the only day of the year when four-legged family members are allowed to set paws in the gardens. “PaWty Animals” and Santa’s Elves, Lucy and Holly, were on hand to cheer everyone on. Guests enjoyed connecting with local canine enthusiasts and businesses in the Doggie Expo, and having their photos taken with Saint Nick. Pooches of all breeds and sizes arrived dressed in their holiday attire and paraded before a panel of judges to compete for prizes — or just to show off for fun. Parade hosts and emcees were Victoria Stilwell, star of Animal Planet’s hit TV series, “It’s Me or the Dog,” and Holly Firfer, Atlanta TV and radio personality. Parade judges were Joanne Hayes, publisher of Atlanta Pet Life, Simply Buckhead, and 17th South; John Lemley, newscast anchor and investigative reporter for “Crime Stories with Nancy Grace on SiriusXM”; Kimberly Lace, co-host of HGTV’s “Curb Appeal”; Rodney Ho, AJC blogger and columnist; and Vincent Martinez, owner of Fashionado and founder/manager of Doggies on the Catwalk Foundation. For information, visit

Come Together Gala

Costumes on the Woof

the special guest. The event was co-chaired by Millner and Michelle Sullivan, and honored Janet Kellett for her service to the group. Guests enjoyed an evening of fine dining, signature cocktails and live and silent auctions for such gems as a week at Nuevo Vallarta Five Diamond Residence valued at $100,000 and a Tuscany vacation in Casa di Montebello, a renovated 17th century villa near Florence, Italy, valued at $4,000. More than $200,000 was raised. The centerpiece of the evening was a fashion presentation featuring The Natori Collection’s fall 2018 line. For information, visit

Reindog Parade

Reindog Parade Atlanta, Dec. 1, 2018

Costumes on the Woof


eindog Parade at the Atlanta Botanical Garden marked the beginning of HOWLiday fun. What better way to get pets in on the magic than dressing them up in their holiday finery and showing them off on the costume

Reindog Parade

Atlanta GirlZ Club | Lucy, Holly & Kathi Welch Follow us on Instagram: @lucyandholly_atlgirlzclub Spring 2019 | Atlanta Pet Life 35





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36 Spring 2019 | Atlanta Pet Life



Event Spotlight

Animal Lovers

Come Together


ix Georgia Pets held its seventh annual gala, called Come Together for Fix Georgia Pets, and auction Nov. 1, 2018. Held at the Buckhead home of Ginny and Guy Millner, the event featured dining, cocktails, an auction and a fashion presentation featuring The Natori Collection’s fall 2018 line. Items up for auction included pet portraits, works of art, spa certificates, gift bags and other goodies. Event chairs for the Come Together gala were organization co-founder Ginny Millner and Michelle Sullivan Fix Georgia Pets works across the state in assisting underserved communities with spay/neuter programs. These programs help to reduce dog and cat overpopulation, thereby reducing the number of pets that enter the state’s shelters. In the past two years, Fix Georgia Pets has led the state in:

Josie Natori, Guy Millner and Marilyn Krone

Laura Pierce, Michelle Sullivan, Tracy Dean, Ginny Millner and Joanne Chesler Gross

Alex Page and E. Vincent Martinez

• Increasing the number of pets saved in Georgia by over 10 percent. • Reducing the number of cats and dogs euthanized by 25 percent. • Decreasing the number of homeless animals entering shelters by 10 percent. For more information, visit

Victoria Stilwell, Claudine Wilkens and Andrea Peterson

Matt Tinkler, Stacy Wright, Kathy Welch, Bill Garst and Ginny Millner 38 Spring 2019 | Atlanta Pet Life

The Natori Collection’s fall 2018 line was featured at the event.

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Profile for Atlanta Pet Life

Atlanta Pet Life Spring 2019  

Atlanta Pet Life Spring 2019