I have always held a love for animals in my heart, and during my last year of college, I decided that I wanted to do something to help the animals in the Atlanta community. My first thought was to volunteer at an animal shelter, but I decided against it when I attended an adoption event and almost started crying because I couldn’t take a dog home.
Luckily, I later discovered Atlanta Rescue Dog Café (ARDC), a non-profit organization in Atlanta that aims to prevent animals entering the shelter in the first place through the education of children and adults alike in the Atlanta area. By teaching people (especially children) not to fear dogs and how to treat them with love and respect, ARDC is tackling the pet-overpopulation problem in Atlanta and keeping dogs out of the shelters by using preventative measures.
The idea behind ARDC has been building up for twelve years, but the organization was only recently started by Emory alum Aaron Fisher. For years, he taught elementary students who were very interested in learning about dogs and cats, but they were too young to volunteer at any animal shelters. And since animal shelters are notoriously short-staffed, there was no one available to bring a dog into the classroom for a lesson.
Upon taking a look at the animal community, he noticed that despite all the impactful initiatives and organizations doing good, the number of animals entering shelters was continuing to increase. He also noticed that the incidences of animal cruelty also continued to rise.
As a life-long lover of dogs, Fisher could not stand idly by and watch the Atlanta dogs live in such conditions, so he started ARDC. Where is the café, you ask? Well, Fisher explains that the organization itself is the café in the sense that it is an environment in which conversation happens. ARDC is trying to start the conversation about what the Atlanta community can do to foster positive human-pet relationships and prevent animals from entering the shelter system. However, Fisher does plan to open a physical café to serve as a fundraising business, a place to hold his educational sessions, and a senior dog sanctuary.
As a fundraising initiative, Fisher currently makes dog leashes out of retired climbing rope from a local rock gym, keeping thousands of pounds of would-be waste out of the landfill.
Interested in volunteering? You can find all the information you need at www.AtlantaRescueDogCafe.org!