Cowboy Robot

by Morgan Solomon

Photo: Morgan Solomon

Photo: Morgan Solomon

If you ever visit 1000 Faces Coffee, you may notice the face of a cheerful dog peeking out from next door at Align Machine Works. This is Robot, a sweet boy who is a Border Collie/Springer Spaniel mix. His full name is Cowboy Robot, and he belongs to Jeff, the Senior Project Engineer there. His quirky name originates from Jeff’s childhood; Cowboy Robot is the name he always wanted to give a dog since he was a child.

On August 21, 2012, Jeff rescued Robot from Posey Shelter Pet Promoters, a non-profit organization in Cedartown, GA. It is believed that Robot was born in October 2011, making him six years old. You would not know it from his laid-back temperament, but Robot just made the big move to Athens this year. Jeff moved from Thomasville, GA to Athens for work and to get back to his roots since he grew up in Watkinsville. Robot came along for the journey, and according to Jeff, has benefitted more than anyone else from the move. Since moving to Athens, Robot has more opportunities to get out and explore. He is also able to go to work with Jeff.

Speaking of work, Robot serves as the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Align Machine Works. His office specializes in product development, prototypes and turn-key manufacturing. Align Machine Works helps clients manufacture new products using techniques such as computer numerical control machining, laser cutting and die casting. Robot works hard to promote their services by using his cute face, charm and sitting ability.

When Robot isn’t working in sales, he is normally chewing on random pieces of plastic he finds around the shop. He would take some good old plastic over an apple any day—he hates apples. Don’t worry, it isn’t all work and no play for Robot. When he decides to take a break from work, he loves to spend his time howling at sirens and riding shotgun, because deep down he is just a good boy. 

BeauMonay the Skateboarding Bulldog

by Morgan Solomon

Beau showing off his skills. Photo: Morgan Solomon

Beau showing off his skills. Photo: Morgan Solomon

There is a new dog in town, and he might just be one of the coolest dogs to call Athens home. Meet Beau, the skateboarding bulldog. Beau breaks all of the bulldog stereotypes: he is energetic and determined. Beau belongs to Brookey Rickman who moved to Athens this August and is just as energetic and determined as her bulldog companion. The two combined make a great team.

Brookey got Beau during her junior year of high school. Before Beau, Brookey had a bulldog that fit the typical description of a bulldog: he was lazy and stubborn. She knew it was going to be different with Beau as she took him under her wing and set out to make him the best and coolest bulldog around. This November Beau will be turning five, and he can probablyskateboard better than most of us. Needless to say, Brookey succeeded.

 Before calling Athens home, Beau and Brookey moved from Dunwoody to Colorado where Brookey attended the University of Colorado of Boulder. According to Brookey this was the best two years of their relationship, but she expects that it will only get better from here on out. And she is right, Beau is already starting to make a name for himself in this bulldog-obsessed town. You can find him skateboarding around downtown and even follow him on social media at @beaumonay.

You might be wondering why would you teach your dog to skateboard? Well, besides the obvious answer that it is awesome, Brookey’s motivation was that she wanted to share something she was passionate about with Beau. She is also a skateboarder who loves the thrill and challenge of landing a new trick. Instead of excluding Beau from this activity, she decided to get him involved. The result is a bulldog who goes crazy over the sight of a skateboard. The second Beau sees a skateboard his immediate response is to bite at the wheels. This bulldog is so agile and strong—he demonstrates this anytime he jumps up to bite the wheels of a skateboard in Brookey’s hand.

Once Brookey puts the board down and gets a treat out, Beau is ready to go. He starts moving with the board using his little paws to get momentum. Once he has speed he hoists himself up onto the board and rides. His face is practically glowing as he glides through a parking lot, looking way more cool than I could ever hope to be.

When Beau is not showing all of us up with his skateboarding skills, he likes to spend his time snuggling. This is not a problem for Brookey, since she cannot get enough of this handsome boy. She loves bulldogs and Beau because the breed is spunkier than anyone realizes. Beau crushes the lazy bulldog stereotype everyday by being ready for adventure and excitement, just like his best friend Brookey. Follow Beau on Instagram and find him around town so you can see this skating bulldog for yourself. Oh and be sure to bring pupperonis... they are his favorite. 

Auto the Brewery Cat

by Morgan Solomon

Photo: Morgan Solomon

Photo: Morgan Solomon

Creature Comforts first opened in 2014 in the old Snow Tire Company building in downtown Athens. According to their website, the brewery takes “inspiration from those who crave curiosity and share its reward.” This idea is reflected in the different beers that they have taken time and curiosity to perfect. Creature Comforts has become an essential fixture in downtown Athens. Not only can humans have fun at the brewery, dogs are welcomed. It is almost impossible to go to Creature Comforts and not see at least three cute canines.

You probably did not realize it, but there is a furry feline who calls Creature Comforts home. Meet Auto the Brewery Cat. This green-eyed kitten was found on the day of the brewery’s Automatic can release in 2016. She was named after this pale ale and is called Auto for short.

The brewery creates a sense of community through its beer. For example, Automatic is a reference to the community of Athens. It is named after the slogan of Weaver D’s, a local restaurant whose slogan was the inspiration of REM’s album Automatic for the People. And now it is the inspiration for Auto’s name.

Auto was rescued in July 2016. One of the brewers found her meowing in an empty grain bin outside of the brewery. She was tiny, dirty and scared. They immediately grabbed gloves and reached for her. Auto was apprehensive of being rescued at first but soon realized that they were there to help her. She was around 8 weeks old when found, making her a little over a year old now.

Since that day, Creature Comforts became Auto’s new home. Now you might be thinking, I go to Creature Comforts all the time but have never laid my eyes on this cute kitty. While Auto does venture up to the brewery area on occasion, she spends most of her time in the downstairs offices of Creature Comforts. There she can lounge in the air conditioning while keeping an eye on the bottle conditioning beers. 

Auto is very independent and enjoys exploring the brewery. She loves to sleep in boxes and on top of important papers, as well as watching birds from the large office window. However, when a pallet jack or forklift is in use, Auto will hide until she knows that they have left for good. When Auto is not sleeping, being doted on or hiding from pallet jacks, she helps around the brewery by acting as pest control and boosting office morale.

She can also boost your morale on Instagram. Auto has an Instagram that she is in control of, constantly posting cute selfies that will make your day. She has over 2,000 followers, and you can help that number grow by following her @autothebrewerycat. So grab a six-pack of a Creature Comforts brew, follow Auto on Instagram and have a great night in insta-stalking this adorable kitten.

Acupuncture for Pets

Photo: Jessica Boston

Photo: Jessica Boston

by Kaley Lefevre


Acupuncture, a centuries-old traditional Chinese practice, has recently made strides in popularity amongst Athens veterinarians. This natural approach to healing has resulted in notable success, specifically among patients who were not benefitting from Western medicine.

Dr. Heather Fields, a veterinarian at Sycamore Veterinary Services, said one of the most amazing events she’s participated in involved a paralyzed dog who was not responding to any Western medicine she prescribed. With the use of acupuncture, however, the dog walked again. Fields said she chooses to incorporate acupuncture with herbs and Western medicine simultaneously, considering that all the drugs will work together in different ways to help the patient find relief.

“We treat internal medicine problems, skin problems, anxiety and more,” Dr. Fields said. “You name it, and there’s a treatment regimen with acupuncture to treat it.”

Acupuncture is able to address these various problems by stimulating different channels in the patient’s body. This stimulation releases anti-inflammatory mediators and opioid receptors and also stimulates blood flow and healing. The body is essentially finding ways to heal itself, resulting in less side effects, aside from the initial discomfort of the acupuncture process.

Photo: Jessica Boston

Photo: Jessica Boston

Because of the side effects that accompany Western medicine, Dr. Fields said she has some pet owners who request natural medicine and practices before Western drugs. She prefers to try a natural approach with her patients before introducing them to other drugs.

Dr. Angela Dodd of Animal Wellness Center of Athens said she has also seen extraordinary results from the use of acupuncture, even with her own pets. Though she is still a traditional veterinarian, she chose to take a course with the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society to learn about the many other ways she could treat her patients.

“[Traditional Chinese medicine] is a whole other mindset; it’s a whole other way of looking at a patient; it’s another way of thinking about a patient’s problems; and it’s another way of treating that patient,” Dr. Dodd said.

 Because of her understanding of Chinese medicine, Dr. Dodd said she has also found it to be beneficial to incorporate both natural practices and Western medicine simultaneously.

Dr. Dodd, like Dr. Fields, admits that the specifics of the actual acupuncture process are complicated. By sticking needles into the area causing problems for the patient, she is increasing blood flow and nutrients to that area, pulling waste products away and strengthening the organs that are causing issues.

“I’ve seen success time and time again,” Dr. Dodd said. “[Practicing Chinese medicine] adds another dimension to our practice that has proven to help our patients.”

Simply because of the lack of side effects, Dr. Dodd encourages pet owners to consider natural medicines and herbs before resorting to traditional Western medicine and surgeries.

“I like to use everything I have to treat animals because [they are] so important to me and to so many other people,” Dr. Dodd said. “These animals are members of the family and deserve to be comfortable.”

Clementine's Second Chance

Photo: Jessica Boston

Photo: Jessica Boston

by Megan Hong

I’ve been in rescue for years, and I still am never prepared for the urgent pleas we receive at Circle of Friends Animal Society. A volunteer at Barrow County Animal Control (BCAC) recently messaged me: “Possibly hit by car. Having issues with its back end. Any possibilities?” She proceeded with an adorable picture of a tiny dilute calico kitten. I, of course, said yes.

At first, BCAC believed she couldn’t use either of her back legs, but when we got her to Bates Animal Hospital in Watkinsville, we noticed that it was just her back left leg. Dr. Bates did x-rays, and our little calico kitten Clementine had no breaks or fractures. The bizarre part is that she has no deep feeling at all in her back left leg—which would likely indicate a spinal cord injury of some kind, but her right back left was functioning fine.

Dr. Bates suggested waiting to see if we could get any function back in her leg (and waiting until she is bigger for amputation if that is the route we need to take). He also said to reach out to Dr. Dodd at Animal Wellness Center of Athens for acupuncture and laser treatment. Dr. Dodd has started acupuncture and laser treatment for Clementine in the hopes that she will regain some mobility in her leg. Dr. Dodd said that she has noticed more reaction to the acupuncture recently compared to the first few rounds, so there is some progression!

Although Clementine has obvious trauma to her leg, she doesn’t let it slow her down. She climbs, plays and wrestles like any other happy kitten. She scales the cat tree and even climbs into our bed at night to sleep! 

Clementine is available for pre-adoption through Circle of Friends Animal Society and should be ready to go home in four to six weeks.

The Simple Things

Photo: William Wise

Photo: William Wise

by William Wise, Walton County Animal Control Director

I’m a good pet owner. I know about all those things that good pet owners do: spay and neuter, heartworm preventative, socialization, no chaining, annual vet visits, current vaccinations. Simple. With a sense of pride, I look down at my dog lying nearby and see what is hanging on his collar: nothing! 

During a recent review of our shelter at the Walton County Animal Control, an evaluator noted that it is often the common, simple things that we overlook. The things we all know to do are often the things we neglect, because “everybody knows that.” We think we are in compliance through knowledge but may actually fail to implement it. Likewise, as a pet owner, we can overlook the simple things… simple things that can have huge ramifications when neglected. Simple things that can mean life or death for a beloved animal.

One of those simple things is an identification or rabies tag. As good pet owners, we know the importance of an ID tag in reuniting an owner with a lost pet. But look at your dog right now. Does she have a tag on her collar? We all know our dog or cat should have on a tag, but does he? A study published in Preventative Veterinary Medicine revealed that only 33 percent of owners keep ID tags on their pets.

“But he’s an indoor dog.” Accidents happen: doors are left open; squirrels run by; kids drop a leash; thunderstorms pop up and random fireworks go off; the pest control guy comes in and forgets to shut the door behind him. Not to mention natural disasters, house fires or other unforeseen circumstances. Even if you have a perfectly-trained dog who is always walked on a leash, it is possible to end up losing your dog. 

I want you to consider another viewpoint on this issue. Having a tag on your dog or cat can be an issue of life or death in another capacity. A simple tag on your dog may save the life of a shelter dog. How so?

As the director of an open-intake shelter, I have to come in each morning and assess the available room. There must be some kennel space for the day’s possible intake. The officers working after-hours and weekend emergencies must have a kennel or two if needed. Unfortunately, there are times when we reach capacity and some animals must be euthanized. Each animal that comes into the shelter puts a strain on space, and sometimes tough decisions must be made. 

So how does your dog’s tag come into play? Recently, a dog named Ginny came into the shelter on a day when we were at full capacity. Her intake prompted one of those “tough decisions,” and a couple of dogs were put down. A few hours later Ginny’s owner came and claimed her. At the time of intake, we had no idea who owned her, and no crystal ball to know she’d be claimed so quickly. Had she had on that simple tag, she could have been re-connected with her owners even faster, and two dogs could have possibly been spared another day. 

So tagging your pet may not just save the life of your animal, it could also spare the life of a shelter animal waiting on a home. Don’t neglect the simple things. 

Wrecking Barn Pups: Amos & Francis

Photo: Morgan Solomon

Photo: Morgan Solomon

by Morgan Solomon

One would think it impossible to work on a farm without thumbs, but Francis and Amos—the resident dogs at the Wrecking Barn Farm in Loganville, GA—are proof that you do not need opposable thumbs to get the job done.  

Wrecking Barn Farm was established in 2015 by the owners of the Wrecking Bar Brew Pub in Atlanta’s Little Five Points. The farm is owned by Bob Sandage and managing partner, Stevenson Rosslow. The farm works closely with Wrecking Bar, growing fresh organic produce that is used in countless dishes on the restaurant’s acclaimed menu. The farm’s produce is also used by other restaurants, a growing local CSA and local farmers’ markets. The farm covers 63 acres, of which seven are currently being used in cultivation. The owners plan to make it even more impressive by eventually building a brewery and barrel aging room and adding an event space to the farm.

Amos, a sweet boy who greets anyone on the farm with a warm smile, was rescued in August 2014 by Rachel Hennon. He was found in South Atlanta by a friend of Hennon when he was around 10 weeks old. He is a terrier mix with a short black coat and white markings on his chest.

Francis, who is hard to miss because of his perky ears and happy face, was rescued in 2010 by Shannon Wright. He was part of a litter born to a Blue Heeler and Australian Shepherd. Wright came across Francis’ litter and adopted him when he was just a small seven-week-old puppy.

Photo: Morgan Solomon

Photo: Morgan Solomon

Both Hennon and Wright studied at Savannah College of Art and Design, but they never knew each other during that time. Each of them had their own journey in realizing that they wanted to work in agriculture. They worked at the same farm in Georgia but at different times. Their paths finally crossed when they both started working at Wrecking Barn Farm. Hennon began working on the farm as the manager in October 2015. This is also when Amos began working on the farm. Wright and Francis became a part of the crew in February 2016.  

Amos and Francis, while very cute and cuddly, are also extremely hard workers. They both help around the farm by doing various tasks like eating weeds and chasing deer and birds away from the produce.

 But it isn’t all hard work—there are plenty of treats involved. Amos will even steal cabbage and carrots from the bucket when nobody’s looking (or so he thinks) to treat himself, while Francis loves blueberries. Sometimes they get into trouble when they “accidentally” eat radishes, which, unlike weeds, they are not supposed to eat.

You can support all the hard work these good boys put in by eating at Wrecking Bar Brewpub or joining the farm’s CSA, which is short for Community Supported Agriculture. If you decide to participate and choose to pick up from the farm, you might be able to meet Francis and Amos and let them know what you think of their tasty produce by giving them each a good ole belly rub. 

Breed specific Labels: Why It Can Hinder Dogs from Being Adopted in Shelters

by Lindsay Baker

Photo: Susan Hawkins

Photo: Susan Hawkins

Take a look at the photo on the right of Lyta at the Athens-Clarke County Animal Control. What breed would you label her as? Based on her appearance, one might say she has Labrador Retriever and perhaps another American Staffordshire Terrier. And based on her appearance, those would be reasonable guesses. But they may also be entirely incorrect. Recent studies show that trying to determine breed based on appearance alone is highly inaccurate. This is because only a small portion of a dog’s DNA has to do with their physical appearance. 

When a stray or lost dog ends up at a shelter, they are impounded—a process that typically includes determining age and sex, administering vaccination(s), dewormer and other medical evaluations or procedures deemed necessary. Finally, they get labeled as the breed they most resemble (here in Northeast Georgia, “pit bull” type mixes and Labrador mixes tend to be common breed labels given at shelters). Assuming they are healthy and no owner steps forward within the hold time, the dog will be made available for adoption. The paper on their cage will reflect all the details that are currently known, including things like age, personality and assumed breed. 

A recent study showed that approximately half of all shelter dogs labeled as pit bulls did not have any pit type breeds (also sometimes called “bully breeds”) in them at all. This is a real problem because unfortunately some breeds, especially bully breeds, still have a negative stigma attached to them. When the only media coverage they get is negative and involves attacking another dog or a human, many people believe all pits must be vicious attack dogs that are most certainly not family dog material. I’m going to go out on a ledge here and say that any of us that have interacted with a pit-type dog know them to be extremely kind, loving and gentle dogs—there’s a reason they were formerly used as nanny dogs!—but if your only experience with them is hearing how horrible they are, of course you don’t want to adopt a “pit bull mix.” 

Our local animal shelters have made leaps and bounds of progress over the past several years, but we still have room to improve. If you’re looking to adopt a dog, I urge you to look beyond what the cage card says and view each dog as an individual. Judge them based on personality, not a breed label. It’s unfair to make generalizations about a shelter dog that is probably a blend of six, eight or even 10 different breeds anyway—at that point, breed-specific personality traits are often lost. Also, pits are some of the BEST dog models, as evidenced by Lyta here who is still looking for a forever home! 

Stu Hopps Finds a New Home as Quincy

by Amanda Newsom

Photo: Georgia House Rabbit Society

Photo: Georgia House Rabbit Society

Last December around the holidays, my mom opened her back door to find a matted grey rabbit that clearly didn’t belong in the wild and texted me a photo, and so we were immediately on our all-too-familiar rescue mission for him. From my experience working with local shelters, I knew the best organization to contact first: the Georgia House Rabbit Society (GHRS).

We contacted them and agreed to help find a foster home until they could get him vetted and up for adoption. Luckily, a friend put us in touch with Stephanie Aarstad who had experience working in shelters and with rabbits. She agreed to take him in temporarily, and so the path to a new home began!

 Quincy started his new journey in life as Stu Hopps, named by Stephanie’s boys who are big fans of the movie Zootopia. His fur was matted, he has a crooked foot from a prior injury that didn’t heal properly, and he didn’t seem to feel well when Stephanie first got him. GHRS provided everything she needed to care for Stu Hopps, from housing to food to toys—the only things they don’t provide fosters with is love and greens. They gave her an educational packet and talked her through everything she needed to know about caring for a rabbit. 

Though Stephanie had been around rabbits at previous jobs as an animal control officer and veterinary staff, she had never owned one before. About her decision to foster Stu, Stephanie said, “I love rabbits and thought it would be fun to have one visit for a while—plus my kids would get a kick out of it. We had a spare room, a suitable cage and lots of love to spare.”

Once Stu was neutered and had a vet visit to be sure he was healthy, he began to feel better and act more like himself. Stephanie and her family earned his trust and learned more about rabbits as pets. They are quiet and clean pets, though, as Stephanie said, “successfully keeping a pet rabbit healthy and happy is not as simple as sticking it in a rabbit hutch outdoors and throwing it poor-quality pellets and water occasionally.” They do require care beyond the efforts of having a dog or cat, but they can be wonderful companions. 

Stu enjoyed time on his floor pallet with his foster family and enjoyed playing with toys—his favorite was a jingle ball that he would throw up in the air! When he wasn’t playing or following Molly the Maltese (his new instant friend, mostly on his end) around the house, he would relax on the couch next to Stephanie or one of her boys. If he required pets, he would nudge one of them with his head to let them know they had a job to do. 

Stephanie says, “I never knew rabbits had so much personality. Stu Hopps taught me so much about rabbits. By the time he left our house to be put on display for adoption at the [GHRS] shelter, he was a different rabbit. He trusted us, loved us and communicated with us. He was no longer skinny. His fur was shinny and soft, not matted, and he was happy. I absolutely took so much joy in turning something that was neglected and tossed out to fend for itself into a beautiful, healthy, loving furry friend.”

GHRS is the only licensed rabbit rescue in Georgia. A no-kill and self-funded organization, their goal is to educate, rescue, rehabilitate and re-home domestic rabbits. They work throughout the state to help rabbits like Stu Hopps, a classic example of the work that they do on a daily basis. With the help of Stephanie as a foster parent, they were able to find Stu Hopps a new home this May with a family who has four other rabbits. They named him Quincy, fitting as their fifth rabbit, and he bonded particularly well with their rabbit Jackie who is now his “wife.” 

Quincy had a happy ending that could have easily ended badly, as he clearly was a pet who had been let out into the wild by someone who decided they no longer wanted him. Domestic rabbits cannot survive on their own in the wild, so taking them to a shelter is a more humane way to find a new home for an unwanted pet rabbit. 

If you are considering a rabbit as a new pet, the GHRS is a perfect first place to look. They offer a Rabbit 101 class that will help you learn about rabbits as pets, and they have some great information on their website: If you’re not quite ready to commit to the 10 to 12 years as a rabbit parent, they are always looking for temporary foster homes or volunteers who can spend even a couple hours a week at their shelter in Marietta, GA!

Acrocats come to Athens

by Taylor Solomon

Photo: Taylor Solomon

Photo: Taylor Solomon

When I bought my ticket to see the Acrocats at the Morton Theatre, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I knew if I did not go I would forever wonder what went on the day a bus full of cats came to town. And I mean that literally—when I walked up to the venue the night of the show, I was greeted by a large purple bus featuring the faces of Tuna, Jax, Buffy and Oz, the evening’s furry feline performers.  

Acrocats, and their sister performance group The Rock Cats, was started by Samantha Martin, an expert animal trainer and cat lady (she’d be the first to call herself such and would take it as a compliment). Martin started training her own cats to play instruments in the world’s first (and only) cat-fronted rock band, The Rock Cats. She quickly realized they could take the show on the road. Now over 10 years later, Martin has fostered and found homes for over 200 cats and kittens while traveling with and training them all.

Acrocats is part trained-animal show in which animals (mostly cats, along with a chicken and groundhog) perform tricks: playing instruments, jumping from stool to stool, balancing on balls and walking on tight ropes (just to name a few acts). Of course as well all know, even the most well-trained cats in the end are going to do what they want, whether it’s part of the planned performance or not. Martin herself said, “Nothing teaches you humility like a trained cat act in front of a live audience.”

The other part of the show expands on the humility (and heart) mentioned by Martin, a side of animal performance not always thought of in conjunction with traveling circus acts. Professionally, Martin is an animal trainer; personally, she is an animal lover and advocate. She spends one part of the show talking about the importance of animal rescue and training your pets. She demonstrates using a whistle and clicker to train a cat and models several tricks while explaining how they could be used in your home in regards to pet safety. She is vocal about the fact that she has been lucky enough to be given a platform and uses it to inspire others to train their own cats.

Seeing Acrocats and the Rock Cats was a fun, energetic and humorous evening. I fell in love with Martin and her passion, as well as her team of cute kitties. For more information on the Acrocats and their upcoming performances, visit

Dusty: R. Wood Studio

by Morgan Solomon

Photo: Morgan Solomon

Photo: Morgan Solomon

When visiting R. Wood Studio, one can take in beautiful pieces of pottery and observe the process of pottery being made. Visitors with a keen eye might even notice a face peeking at them from one the pieces. This little face belongs to Dusty, the studio’s resident kitty. Dusty was a feral cat that adopted the studio as her new home, and now visitors can find this sweet orange and black cat when they come by the studio.  

R. Wood Studio was started by Rebecca Wood. Rebecca lived in Athens where she earned her degree in painting and drawing in 1977. After years of painting still lifes, Rebecca made the decision to try something new and eventually began to make pottery. Despite having no experience with pottery, Rebecca created beautiful plates, finding her new medium.

The studio has now been around for over 20 years and continues to produce beautiful pottery, ranging from brightly-colored plates to delicately-designed floral wall hangings. You can find pieces in many stores around Athens, as well as 22 other states across the country.

Dusty must have great taste in pottery and art, as she chose this colorful studio as her home. The more Dusty began to show up at the studio, the more the artists began to treat her like their own. They feed her and take her to the vet in order to make sure she is healthy, and she has everything she could possibly need. Dusty’s favorite thing to do is to lay inside of the different pottery pieces in the studio. While Dusty is very cute, she can also be the cause of mischief—she keeps the studio artists on their toes as they try to rescue any mice or lizards that Dusty might catch. Although she can cause trouble, they lover her “sweet and spicy” personality.

Dusty does come and go as she pleases from the studio, but no matter how often she leaves, she always comes back. She must have known that she would find a loving and welcoming family behind the bright doors of R. Wood Studio.

Our First Success Story: Bootsie Finds a Home Thanks to Classic City Paw Print

by Amanda Newsom

Photo: Circle of Friends Animal Society

Photo: Circle of Friends Animal Society

Our first issue of Classic City Paw Print was met with a good deal of positive feedback from the community, but our favorite email was from Circle of Friends Animal Society (COFAS) to say that Randy, a dog who was featured in our May issue, had been adopted as a result of someone seeing him as she perused the magazine. 

Randy came to COFAS when one of their foster parents found him in a church parking lot in Commerce, GA right before Thanksgiving. The maintenance man said Randy had been there for over a week already. His rabies tag led COFAS on a month-long search for his owner that took them to South Carolina, but they had no luck. 

It might be better that way anyhow, as Randy seemed to have been abused by a previous owner. He was very afraid of brooms and being put in his crate, but he opened up in his foster home and learned to trust and love his foster family. Cathy Wood of COFAS says, “Randy’s foster mom called him ‘the Velcro dog,’ as he was always at her feet following her everywhere.” He loved to play with toys and his blanket and to climb on his foster mom’s shoulder to snuggle.

Meanwhile, Kirsteen DeVorsey had recently lost her 14-year-old dog to cancer and was becoming open to the idea of adopting another dog as her companion. She started browsing adoptable pets online and happened to pick up the debut issue of Classic City Paw Print. While looking through the adoptable dogs to see which might be a good fit for her, she came across Randy. 

She said his “profile described him as ‘snuggly, affectionate and feisty.’ He sounded perfect. It also mentioned that he had been up for adoption since November. The fact that he had been available for seven months concerned me, so I decided to visit [him] that Saturday when Circle of Friends would be holding a meet and greet.”

When she met him, after their introduction, he walked right up to her and let her pick him up. She didn’t know this at the time, but Randy had never done that with other perspective pet parents. Some people had been interested in adopting him, but he just didn’t seem to be comfortable with them. But with Kirsteen, it was love at first sight for both of them! “She told me that I was the first person [he] wasn’t afraid of. I adopted [him] that day.”

Randy became Bootsie and is loving life with his new mom, Kirsteen. He really enjoys playing fetch in her fenced yard, and she takes him on walks each morning around her neighborhood and then on another walk later in the day at Sandy Creek Park. 

After just a week and half together, Kirsteen said, “He is so happy with his new home, and neither of us have any regrets. Even in this short amount of time, he has brought me so much happiness. I can’t imagine life without him. And watching him slide across the hardwood floors with a toy in his mouth never fails to make me laugh.” 

Do you need a tissue yet?


Our hope is that this story about Bootsie will turn in to dozens (and hundreds) of success stories for other homeless dogs and cats in our area. It is the main reason Classic City Paw Print was launched, and we want it to be the main reason it keeps going. 

You can help pets like Bootsie by telling people about the featured adoptable animals in our monthly magazine, which locals can pick up in person (distribution locations are listed on our website under the current issue), and anyone can view the issues and articles online at While Classic City Paw Print is published and edited as a mostly local effort, the articles we feature and the adoptable pets looking for homes are not restricted to Athens, GA! 

Gilly: Winterhawk Pottery & Home

by Morgan Solomon

Photo: Morgan Solomon

Photo: Morgan Solomon

Gilly, a tan dog with big, pointed ears that look like they could hear for miles, peers around the legs of her owner, Leigh Ann Templeman. Her big eyes are wary yet excited; like she is happy to see you, but is not quite sure about your presence yet. She stands close to Leigh Ann, who is arranging some pottery on the shelf.

Leigh Ann owns Winterhawk Pottery & Home, a local Athens business on Macon Highway. Winterhawk Pottery was founded in 2000 by John Winterhawk. The pieces John created took inspiration from the artwork found in southeastern Native American burial and temple mounds. The pieces feature different images of mountains, bears, wolves and horses, all emphasized by rustic glazes and designs. John decided to retire in 2010 and Leigh Ann took over, continuing to create the beautiful pieces that represent Winterhawk Pottery. When the business relocated from Watkinsville to its’ current location, Leigh Ann introduced Winterhawk Home, a collection featuring home goods that complement the rustic pottery.

Gilly spends a good amount of time at the studio. When she is there, she does not leave Leigh Ann’s side; constantly following her, as though she is making sure Leigh Ann does not drop anything. If she ever did drop anything, Gilly’s big eyes seem to say that she would be there to catch it.

The Templeman family found Gilly and her two brothers on the side of the road in Rogersville, TN on December 30, 2010. They brought the three puppies back to Athens where they found homes for the boys and decided to keep the little girl. This was at the height of popularity of Kristen Wiig’s Saturday Night Live skit where she portrays Gilly, an interesting and humorous elementary school student who isconstantly causing trouble. Leigh Ann’s children had been quoting the skit all week, saying “Gilly?” in the same accusatory tone of Gilly’s teacher. The name seemed like a perfect fit for this silly puppy who still needed to grow into her ears.

Gilly’s unique name is not her only claim to fame. Over six years ago, Leigh Ann uploaded a video titled “Doggie Door Faceplant” to YouTube that features Gilly struggling to get her body through the doggie door, resulting in her doing a face plant. The video has over 300,000 views. The numerous views garnered a lot of attention, resulting in Gilly being offered multiple commercial deals. Her clip is featured in a Texas Wesleyan College commercial and one for Comcast XFINITY. Her big break even gave her the opportunity to bring in some money for her family.

Take a trip out to Winterhawk to have the opportunity to meet this charming star. As Gilly lays by Leigh Ann’s feet under the register, she looks up with big sweet eyes. Her timid and sweet personality does not give any hint that you are dealing with a local celebrity, but rather a look of concern about when her next treat is coming.