Convention-goers renovate animal shelters

American Veterinary Medical Foundation continues Our Oath in Action project for third year
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Dozens of volunteers turned out July 31 for the American Veterinary Medical Foundation’s shelter rehabilitation project in conjunction with the AVMA Annual Convention.

Dr. Lloyd V. Reitz
Dr. Lloyd V. Reitz helps repaint a room at Fulton County Animal Services in Atlanta as part of the American Veterinary Medical Foundation’s shelter rehabilitation project.

The third annual Our Oath in Action shelter rehab project benefited Fulton County Animal Services in Atlanta and Our Pal’s Place in Marietta, Ga. The project’s name refers to putting the veterinarian’s oath into action by promoting animal welfare. Hill’s Pet Nutrition was the premier partner for the event.

At Fulton County Animal Services, the volunteers focused on repainting rooms—beginning with the main adoption room.

“It’s an excellent project, to come in and renovate an old building such as this one,” said Shelton Robinson, kennel supervisor. Robinson added that the adoption room is what the world sees of the shelter.

Kittens at Fulton County Animal Services

Some of the Our Oath in Action volunteers were returning for a second or third year, while other volunteers were new.

Dr. Lloyd V. Reitz of Pennsylvania was one of the first-timers. He said, "It's a good opportunity to give back to the community."

Rita Fobian, wife of AVMF board member Dr. Clark Fobian, had always wanted to volunteer but couldn't find the time until this year. While painting, she said, "I think we'll make a big difference."

Zeb Huseman
Zeb Huseman, age 10, participates in yardwork at Our Pal's Place in Marietta, Ga., during the AVMF shelter rehab project.

The larger contingent of volunteers went to Our Pal's Place in Marietta, about 20 miles from downtown Atlanta.

Gigi Graves, executive director of the shelter, said afterward, "It was absolutely awesome to see two huge buses pull up and all of these great volunteers, all these great people, get off the buses and just work nonstop in some really tough heat."

Drs. Brian R. Huseman and Terri Johnston of Kansas, husband and wife, volunteered with three of their five children.

"We want to teach our boys the need for community service and volunteerism," said Dr. Huseman, who represents the American Association of Corporate and Public Practice Veterinarians in the AVMA House of Delegates.

A dog at Our Pal's Place

At Our Pal's Place, the volunteers divided into teams to complete a variety of tasks. One team dismantled, scrubbed, and repainted wire dog kennels while a second team cleaned the room that houses the kennels. Other teams turned to yardwork—replacing old mulch with new, clearing debris from a walking trail, and tending a memorial garden. Another team painted one side of the shelter's learning center.

Graves said the volunteers who run the shelter are so busy with basic operations that they rarely have time for other tasks, so they are thankful for the AVMF project.

"The Foundation is delighted to embrace these facilities, as our mission is all about promoting the health and welfare of animals," said Michael Cathey, AVMF executive director.