How Sherry Thomas “paw”sitively helps local shelters


Natalia Alvarez

Thomas, the volunteer head for the Acworth Petco, helps a client move along the adoption process. Thomas recruits volunteers to facilitate caring for the dogs and cleaning up after the event on adoption days.

Natalia Alvarez, Photographer

Sherry Thomas, adoption and foster coordinator for the Cherokee Humane Society, dedicates her life to helping animals in need. Thomas helps 300-500 dogs a year, finding them new homes and aiding those who cannot afford basic medical attention, which includes  heartworm prevention, shots, flea medicine, and routine checkups.

“I used to play hooky from school and go to the local shelter to bathe the dogs instead of going to school,” Thomas said.

Thomas, a non-profit volunteer, relies on community contributions and personal revenue to cover the expenses of fostering and running an adoption center.

Unfortunately, donations fail to cover the full cost of food, supplies, and medical needs, so it falls back on Thomas and her family to personally pay for the animals’ necessities.

When confronted with a shelter animal, most individuals show compassion, but when forced to choose between a shelter and a breeder, that compassion suddenly seems to disappear. Thomas works alongside local shelters who convince shoppers to adopt. Adoptions take place at Petco, allowing customers to engage with the dogs and speak to volunteers for information about the animals.

“Some shelters don’t have public adoptions in Georgia; the dog gets out by rescue or body bag,” Thomas said.

While Thomas represents the Cherokee Humane Society, she also runs the Acworth Petco location by herself with only volunteer and foster support.

Volunteers help Thomas set up crates and care for animals, playing a crucial role in the cycle of adoptions.

“Seeing how she [Thomas] dedicates her life to dogs is just really cool, and it really shows her character. It makes me want to help her even more,” volunteer and junior Eva Drobney said.

Adoptions take place every Saturday at the Acworth Petco location from 11-4. Customers can visit Thomas’s website to view the profiles of the dogs currently available for adoption, as well as the ones coming soon.

Thomas’s love for animals developed into a passionate commitment as the voice for the voiceless and she hopes to continue helping dogs in need.

“It [fostering animals] has its ups and downs because it’s physically a lot of work, and it’s emotionally hard because I have to pick and choose when I go to the shelter, when I really want to take them [the animals] all home,” Thomas said.