ATLANTA — The DeKalb and Fulton Animal Shelters are busting at the seams.
They take in nearly 40,000 dogs a year.
People who run the shelters got in touch with K9Kait - where 11Alive reports on animals - to plead for people to foster or adopt. But they're also thinking outside the box ... or firehouse ... to help find these pups homes.
And for Capt. Gary Menard, there's no dog too big or too small. His clip of a squat challenge with a pup went viral - and helped get the dog adopted at record speed.
"Everyone here is a big animal lover. To be a firefighter you have to have a big heart for everything," he said.
The squat challenge was just the first time the Decatur Fire Station teamed up with Lifeline Animal Project to help homeless pets find a family. They also put together calendar photos featuring the firefighters and their adoptable dogs.
"They're always willing to do anything for shelter animals," said Communications Director for the group, Karen Hirsh.
She says with 40 to 60 dogs coming in to their shelter every single day, they need to find new ways to find them homes.
"All of us here love animals," said firefighter EMT Kelvonte Byrd. "Me, myself, I am a big dog lover, so anytime I can interact with a dog I do."
Firefighter EMT Sumaya Pigette echoed that, saying how fun the partnership has been.
"The dogs all had their own personalities," she explained. "Some of them didn't want to be bothered, but then they gave us the treats."
And for Assistant Chief Ninetta Violante, she said it was a good break from the routine.
"It was nice to do something that wasn't atypical emergency call," she said. "It was furry and it was cuddly."
The firefighters said finding these dogs homes is just an extension of how they serve the community they love.
"We in Decatur like to think outside the box, and we are always thinking of how we can help animals, people - everyone," Violante said.
Lifeline is holding a clear the shelters event next week, and the firefighters are going to help with that too!
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