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Pets: PALS approaches 20 years of helping the ill keep their pets

Noodle from PALS

When Eric Adelberg lost his sister four years ago, he got three new family members by adopting her pets: a miniature pinscher, a chihuahua and a nine-year-old cat.

“I just couldn’t let anybody take them away from the family,” says Adelberg, who had previously avoided being a pet owner due to the associated costs.

The price of food and pet care became an additional challenge for Adelberg, who has been HIV-positive for 20 years and lives on a fixed income.

“My HIV is pretty much under control, my problem is with the medications,” Adelberg says. “I have a very difficult time tolerating any of the medications, so I’m usually pretty nauseous most of the day.”

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Pets: Coalition to Unchain Dogs serves Atlanta’s pups in need

Kate Trahan from the Coalition to Unchain Dogs

Anyone who has been to Midtown can see that in the LGBT community, pets are often surrogate children. From the largest St. Bernard to the tiniest toy poodle, canines enjoy the privilege of being more than human’s best friend — they are family and are as close as can be. But there are some practices humans partake in where the barrier between species creates a misunderstanding for which the dog pays the price.

Some pet owners think that by putting a dog on a chain, they are protecting it from harm by keeping it close by and still giving it the freedom to roam. Kate Trahan of the Atlanta chapter of the Coalition to Unchain Dogs says otherwise.

“Tethering can create bad tendencies that make dogs most prone to depression or aggression,” she says.