Repeat after me: You want me. You really, really want me.

I’m not going to lie to you. As I have said before, I am not really an “animal person.” You won’t see me doing a lot of moaning and sobbing about the suffering of our four-footed friends…. I only have so much room in my cramped little heart for angst, and it’s primarily focused on people.

And yet, every once in awhile I cave and find a pet cause that moves me –like FurKids ( and I, too, get all gushy about the cutie pies you see here. (Each one of the pets you see is available for adoption – so hide this blog from your kids or you’re dead in the water.)

Don't hate me because I'm beautiful

I was introduced to FurKids by Renae Glass, who works with my husband at Oglethorpe University and who lured me to the giant flea market she was putting on to raise funds for the cause. I have to tell you, it was an awesome event and my staggering number of purchases didn’t disappoint Renae, who obviously knows a manic bargain hunter when she sees one. It’s been one big lovefest since then.

Whadda I have to say to go home with you?

FurKids was started in 2002 by Samantha Shelton, who just couldn’t bear to see another animal put down for lack of a good home. She began to partner with PetSmart to host adoption centers in stores — and the idea took off. Now in its eighth year, FurKids has become Georgia’s largest cage-free, no-kill animal rescue shelter, manned by over 100 volunteers, with adoption centers in five metropolitan Atlanta PetSmart stores.

Put down? Are you kidding me?

The need is great. In a mere 19 counties in Georgia, 130,000 animals are impounded, and only 8% will be reclaimed. From 60-90% of these animals will be put down for lack of a home — and even I think that’s a crying shame. FurKids is out to change those statistics. In 2009, they saved 543 animals from being put down, and neutered each one; they also found 559 animals loving adoptive homes, helped to open adoption centers at local PetSmart and PETCO stores; and cared for over 200 animals a day. In recognition of its having saved over 5,000 animals since its inception, at a bare-bones cost, the organization has been named one of the top charities in the country by Independent Charities of America.  FurKids employs only 3 full-time and 2 part-time people, largely because their volunteers are so passionate, committed and reliable.

I am irresistible..aren't I? Aren't I? Aren't I??

Renae, for instance, is so devoted to the cause she often works 30 hours a week at FurKids, in addition to her 40 at Oglethorpe. Plus – just in case you’re ever in Atlanta – thanks to Renae and some other folks’ efforts, FurKids’ flea market has become a gigantic hit on Holcomb Bridge Road, so check out the website for dates.  Scoring great stuff at insane prices for a great cause…. for me, that’s pure animal instinct! (And February is free spaying month, so get in line!)

My $100 today goes to FurKids, in lieu of adopting any of the pets I’ve featured and feel totally bad that I’m not taking home … And no, I am not going to adopt Mr. Chocolate Cutie-Pie over there to my right… I am not… despite how adorable he is and how friendly he looks…I am not..