Each year 10,000 abused and neglected dogs are brought to Atlanta’s Fulton County Animal Control. Though half of those animals are adopted out to loving families, nearly 5,000 dogs become casualties in the most populated animal shelter in Georgia. That’s where people like Michael Rowe ’95 come in. Michael works for the Barking Hound Village Foundation Rescue, a non-profit that rehabilitates and find homes for dogs that end up on the shelter’s death row. Their mission is to save the lives of lost, abandoned and unwanted pets in Fulton County. And that mission, according to Michael, falls right in line with his life course.
Back in June of last year, three pit bull puppies found Rowe as he walked his pit-pointer mix, and through his search for a good home for those pups, he stumbled on Barking Hound. This wasn’t the first time Matt had found himself seeking help for a misplaced canine in his community. After spending some time with the organization, Michael seized an opportunity to carry out this work full-time.
“[People] have always said, ‘Do [for a living] what you like to do anyway,” says Michael. “Well, I’ve always taken the dogs in…I’ve done that all my life. This is something I really love doing…and I think I’ve found my niche.”
There are only a handful of full-time associates at BHVFR, so Michael shares a number of different responsibilities—but his main job is preparing 60 dogs each month for a new home. Unlike most other animal shelters, Barking Hound guarantees a home to the 60 dogs they take in each month, relocating them through other rescues in the northeastern U.S.—where strays are fewer and sterilization laws are stringent. Each month, Michael selects the dogs he is confident the foundation can place, and spends the entire month rehabilitiating, socializing, and nursing sick dogs back to health. After placing the dogs on their website for other reputable rescue organizations to see, the dogs are then transported to the partner rescue, where a loving family meets the dog. In less than two years, Barking Hound has saved the lives of over 1,500 animals.