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Paws’ n Claws located next to the Athens Limestone Animal Shelter is not your ordinary thrift store. The volunteer-run store offers the community a unique way to make an impact on the lives of homeless animals cared for at the shelter while finding great bargains in return. All the money earned at the thrift store goes directly to the animals.

The idea of ​​opening a thrift store arose out of a garage sale and volunteers organized to raise funds with items that had been donated to the shelter but could not be used. “Doctor Pittman ended up buying this building from us and the donations started pouring in,” said Trish McCurrie, shelter staff.

The volunteers who run Paws’ n Claws say the addition of the thrift store has not only raised funds for the animals, but also raised awareness of the shelter itself.

“People come every day without knowing that the shelter was there. We have great donors who have been very good to us, ”said volunteer Beverly Billions.

Sherry Goodin, a volunteer at the thrift store and host family for the shelter, spends countless hours running the store and sorting donated items.

“If there are donated items that are damaged or that we cannot use, we try to donate them to other organizations or to the homeless. We want to pass things on if possible rather than throwing anything away, ”she said.

Goodin, who staff call Grandma, this week welcomed a foster puppy who needs treatment for scabies before being eligible for adoption. The treatment is possible thanks to the funds generated by the thrift store. Heartworms are a common illness seen in shelter dogs and treatments can range from $ 700 to $ 1,000. Shelters often struggle to find the resources to treat heartworms, but with the addition of Paws’ n Claws two years ago, dogs in area shelters now have the option of receiving treatment.

Priscilla Blenkinsopp, director of the Athens Limestone Animal Shelter, praised Billions and Goodin for their efforts. “We have had so many heartworm positive dogs this year. These dogs couldn’t get out of here without their help, ”she said.

Another area of ​​interest for volunteers is sterilization / sterilization. Billions said store funds were being used to help pay for dog and cat surgeries under special circumstances.

“Sometimes owners have a habit of bringing unwanted litters of the same dog or cat from mom. Money from the store can help us break the cycle by paying to have the animal fixed. We’re running a pretty hefty bill for all of the different treatments for animals, but that allows us to do them, ”said McCurrie. “These ladies (Billions and Goodin), they volunteer to come here and help us. They are absolutely amazing and we couldn’t do it without them. They are our godsend.

In addition to the Paws’ n Claws thrift store, the shelter also offers this year’s tree of blessing throughout the New Year. The Blessing Tree is a shelter wish list for animals ranging from litter to sponsorships. The shelter currently lacks wet food especially for puppies and kittens.

The Paws’ n Claws thrift store is located at 1701 Hwy 72 E and is open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and Saturday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. They are closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.