ACWORTH -- Carla Angley's home has been turned into a tiny zoo.
"I have six dogs at my house right now, two cats, two birds, and some fish," she said with a laugh. Foster parents like Angley keep the Cherokee County Humane Society running. They don't have a facility to keep abandoned and rescued pets. Instead they rely on a network of foster homes.
She also calls herself the "thrift store librarian." The Cherokee County Humane Society thrift store on Fells Ferry sells everything from old paperbacks to unwanted televisions. "It's all to make as much money as we possibly can," she said.
Those dollars help save dogs like Hamlet from rural shelters in Georgia. "He had a brother that looked almost exactly like him, and he was adopted the first week that I had them," Angley said.
Hamlet has that bouncy way of moving marking him as a puppy. You don't even have to say his name, just give him any kind of look and he comes running. He's the only one left from his litter of six.
"Everyone loves him; he's the sweetest dog in the world," Angley said.
But Hamlet walks with a clear limp. His left leg flops around as he runs and jumps.
A new X-ray shows the problem: Hamlet was born with a crack in the growth plate of his leg. It never healed together and can't support his weight. At five months old, Hamlet has a lot of growing to fit into his Great Dame-Black Lab mix of a body.
"The heavier he gets, the worse it gets, and it's just going to continue to get worse and worse," his foster mom said.
If Hamlet doesn't get surgery to put in a steel plate and screws, he'll likely lose the leg.
"He can't walk on that bone because then it's going to cut off blood flow to that part of his leg, and then that would have to be amputated," Angley said. She said there are plenty of three-legged dogs that get along fine, but the bigger the dog, the harder it is on their bodies. "Unfortunately, this is going to be a pretty expensive surgery and we absolutely do not have the funds right now to go through with this," she said.
Until the surgery is done, no one will adopt him.
"They're like 'Oh! What happened? Did he sprain his leg? Did he break his leg?'" Angley said. "We have to explain to them what's going on, and even though they really love him and he's sweet, they're just more sympathetic and they go to look at other dogs."
So, Angley keeps filing her thrift store books. And Hamlet keeps being Hamlet: goofy, bouncy, slobbery.
He's waiting for another rescue.
"I'm a firm believer in karma, and what's going to happen is going to happen, and it's going to be for the best," Angley said. "So, I know there's a family out there for him."
The Cherokee County Humane Society is raising money for Hamlet's surgery. They're also looking for a family to adopt him. You can donate or apply for adoption by calling them at (770) 592-8072.