Animal shelter dog catches home
as search/rescue animal in Georgia
It's only fitting that a dog be named "Touchdown" in the city of Breckenridge.
With the long-standing history of football at Breckenridge High School, coupled with a downtown mural commemorating the city's state championships from the 1920s and 1950s, one might understand the residents' naming concept for their pets.
However, this "Touchdown" was able to cross the goal line and score a permanent home.
"Touchdown," a male chocolate labrador retriever was a pet at the city of Breckenridge/Stephens County Animal Shelter.
Former Breckenridge resident Cherry (Tindall) Patton helped find "Touchdown" a home through correspondence on the Stephens County Animal Shelter's Facebook page.
Patton had a friend in Atlanta, Ga. who is a search and rescue worker. Donna Maust saw a photo of "Touchdown" and made arrangements to pick Touchdown up and put him to work.
Stephens County Humane Society board member Quana Campbell transported "Touchdown" to the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, where Maust was able to see him for the first time.
Maust said "Touchdown" started his search/rescue operations training with helicopter flight training before going to work for the Central Georgia K-9 Search and Rescue Team.
The team provides land and water rescue. Dogs are used to scour the area by trail or by scent.
The team works the pets every weekend or up to two days a week
Depending on "Touchdown's" temperament, he could be used in recovering human remains, full search and rescue or as a therapy dog for elderly patients with Alzheimer's or other special conditions.
Humane Society helps bridge gap for shelter pets
Although the pet was housed at the Stephens County/city of Breckenridge Animal Shelter, a big part of helping "Touchdown" find a new home was because of the Stephens County Humane Society.
The shelter and the Stephens County Humane Society partner to help find homes for pets.
It's a partnership that has been a successful one going on 15 years now, said Kathy O'Shields, who is the coordinator for the local Humane Society.
"We are here for the benefit of the animals," she said. "We help work to find homes for the animals at the shelter. It's a process that we have put together and run for years and it has worked for us."
In 2012, O'Shields said the Humane Society paid out more than $10,000 in vet bills and vaccinations.
"All of that comes from donations," O'Shields said. "We get nothing from the taxpayers."
O'Shields said applications are filled out to provide homes for pets. A screening process is done of each applicant to ensure the pet will have a permanent, healthy home.
The shelter, located at 601 N. Dubois, was redone with the help of the Humane Society, along with the city and the county.
The city and county each provided $10,000, while the Humane Society raised more than $40,000.
"It shows that the people of our city and county care about animals," O'Shields said. "We're just continuing to find homes for our pets."