A woman laughs as a dog jumps up onto a table to greet her. The Canine Rescue of Athens hosted their Mutt Strut for the year in Bishop Park on April 28, 2019 in Athens, Georgia. The festivities included contests, raffles, and shopping to support the shelter. (Photo/ Kathryn Skeean)

Going to a local farmers market, one might expect to see vibrant colored produce and products. On Saturday, Aug. 17, attendees just might hear the sound of a dog barking in the distance.

Athens Canine Rescue, an all-breed nonprofit, has been tabling at the Athens Farmers Market during summer months to find its rescues a forever home. Dogs up for adoption are rotated out to ensure they’re happy, healthy and ready for potential new families.

Melissa Shockey, foster coordinator for ACR, said it’s her job to talk to all the volunteers’ foster homes and help match them with the canines. The rescue gets all of its dogs from shelters in Athens-Clarke, Oglethorpe, Oconee and Walton counties. Each dog up for adoption has all of its vaccinations.

The Athens Farmers Market has been great for the nonprofit’s publicity in terms of getting people to learn more about ACR and even volunteer for events throughout the year, Shockey said.

“It’s a really good way for us to meet new volunteers and get dogs adopted,” Shockey said.

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The rescue’s adoption event is different from those in the surrounding areas, as people who are interested in fostering or adopting a dog cannot adopt on the same day and must take an application home beforehand. If they do decide they’re ready for the added responsibility, they’ll then go through a reference check.

Sarah Thurman, the market manager for the Athens Farmers Market, said the market provides nonprofits like Athens Canine Rescue a chance to engage with the community.

“The Athens Farmers Market is about great food and great community and animals are a part of a great community,” Thurman said. “So we are happy to facilitate the connection between people and their future pets.”

Athens Canine Rescue to host 2019 Mutt Strut fundraiser

ACR has also opened up the floor for attendees to contact them before the event to have a specific time for a requested dog to drop by and meet their potential owner.

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