New hairdos, manicured nails and most importantly, a place to call home: Dogs from the largest rescue situation in Habersham County came together for a grand reunion Saturday at the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia.
The private event was held for adopters of the Habersham Rescues to celebrate their life-saving efforts and to get to know others who had rescued the animals from the same situation, and share techniques for taking care of these dogs.
More than 350 animals, 260 of which were dogs, were confiscated from a Habersham County property in April by multiple humane societies and animal control agencies.
“We assisted Habersham County Animal Shelter and Control. ... We ended up pulling 52 of the dogs here and some of them had puppies, so 60 by the end of the day,” said Julie Edwards, HSNEGA executive director. “The other ones were taken by rescues across the country including Habersham and some in North Carolina.” Teresa and Clarence Bramblett pleaded not guilty in June to 340 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty.
Dog behaviorist Angie Woods of Buford said “any time we can save a dog versus breeding a new dog, we are saving a life.
“It is important to rescue because we have an overpopulation problem. Dogs don’t know their rescues, every dog is different. Everyone needs to learn about dog behavior and psychology, learn how to apply it to that dog you meet. Dogs need structure and need to know the parameters of life. What you put into them is what you get out.”
After the rescue, Woods hosted a one day informational class for the Habersham Rescue group to come learn about how to take care of their dogs. She had about 15 at the class.
The humane society set up a private Facebook group for the adopters of the Habersham Rescue.
“The group is for the adopters of the ones that came from us, Habersham and Brother Wolf — a rescue in North Carolina — to allow the adopters to have a place,” Edwards said. “These dogs had a lot of issues mentally, physically and emotionally.”
Edwards said it takes a lot to adopt a dog that has been in a puppy mill or neglectful situation because “you are basically starting from scratch like they are a puppy.”
“They have to have a lot of adjustment to a home because they have never lived in a home, learn how to be pet and loved, how to walk on a leash and be potty-trained. They don’t have any of those skills,” Edwards said.
It has been five months since the rescue, Edwards said.
“We want to set aside time to celebrate because there has been a lot of sadness and heartache around these dogs, so this is a chance for us to get together and celebrate how far they have come. A lot of them now are so much better,” Edwards said.
Edwards thanked the dog owners for opening their homes and said because of them the dogs “have a great life now with love, you, food and a home.”
“I know it has been a challenge,” Edwards said. “Your patience and love is what has turned these guys around. I know how much is means to them and it has changed their lives.”
Humane Society of Northeast Georgia volunteer Valerie Hall and her two daughters, Britney and Ashley, adopted Milo, who was 8 weeks old at the time.
“We have three rescues, one from here and two from another, they are awesome and need their second chance at life,” Valerie Hall said. “Rescuing is the way to go.”
Two-year-old Fifi, a small white dog from the rescue situation, was adopted by Gainesville resident Grace Freeman.
“My daughter is a groomer in Cumming. She went up there and groomed the dogs for four days, she saw Fifi and knew I was looking for one, so I told her if she found one there to grab her,” Freeman said. “My daughter got her for me and I didn’t see her until the day we went to pick her up. When they went to take her out of her crate and I had her in my hands, I melted.”
Freeman called her new family member the “queen of the house.”
“She is still very timid but she is adapting very well. She knows my house is her house now,” Freeman said. “She just took over and goes to sleep wherever she feels comfortable. I have a bed for her and she loves that little bed. She is very calm and lovable.”
Freeman said she would “definitely recommend adopting a rescue.”
“I think Animal Control is a very good organization and I would recommend anyone, if they are going anywhere to rescue a dog, go to the Humane Societies or Animal Control first,” Freeman said.