Even though I've lived inside the perimeter since September 2013, I feel like I'm just now shedding my Atlanta green-ness. And that's only in some areas. Thankfully, I've run into loads of people in the dog area who've been willing to offer help and resources, and I wanted to pass them along to anyone else in the same boat. Of course there's much, much more to be discovered, so if you have your own recommendations to add, please leave a comment below!
First, I'll say that there are a lot more independently owned pet stores than I would have expected. In my hometown, we had a PetsMart and a PetCo in the city next door then the feed and seed store where we'd get our chicken feed. Here in Atlanta, there are more pet stores that I've been able to visit. So far I've visited two locations of Red Bandana (I like their rewards program), Intown Healthy Hound, and The Clean Dog. Everyone I've met in each of these stores has been very kind and helpful and completely willing and able to tell me everything I could possibly want to know about their products and what would be best for Mako.
Second, a true godsend for a young couple looking to save money, Atlanta has a pop-up low cost vaccine clinic that travels to different locations throughout the month. Mako just got his rabies shot Saturday from the vet conducting the clinic, and again I was overwhelmed by how helpful and kindhearted the vet was. He could tell Mako was our first dog as a couple, so he showered us with important beginner info, just in case.
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Thanks to the clinic, I learned that dogs, cats, and ferrets are required to be vaccinated against rabies in Fulton, Dekalb, and Catoosa counties, and you get to pay a fee for following through on what you're required to do. When vaccinating your dog against rabies, the vet should give you certain information to fill out with instructions on how to proceed with the county, but here's some additional information on pet licensing fees by county in the Atlanta Metro area.
Third, the dog parks. The folks from Mako's shelter, Our Pal's Place, warned us about bringing our new puppy to the big dog park at Piedmont Park. Dogs are pack animals, and sometimes they can pick on the new kid, so they recommend against the Piedmont Park dog park. We really want to work on getting Mako socialized, though, so we may let him visit soon, under much supervision. Also, we've been told that Grant Park has a hill where many dog owners will let their dogs play off leash. We love Grant Park's shady trails, so we'll probably end up there on many weekends.
Finally, I want to give a shout out to our vet's office at East Atlanta Animal Clinic. I've had to take Mako their twice, and everyone in the office was nothing but friendly, comforting, and educational. They greeted Mako with excitement and love, and they greeted me with professionalism and smiles. I've always left their office feeling confident we have the best people taking care of Mako. The waiting room has only ever had maybe one other pet there, which means it's not a frantic environment like vet offices often are. Truly, I wholeheartedly recommend this place. (Here's my Yelp review.)