How to make (non-human) friends in Atlanta

By: Danielle Z Shojaie, 1st Year Epidemiology

For me, one of the most difficult parts of being away from home is that I miss my dog, Baron. I even thought about bringing him here to Atlanta, but he is bigger than what is


approved by most apartments and he would miss my mom too much. So he stayed in Texas, and I am left figuring out other ways to get my “furry friend fix” while living in Atlanta.


Besides my personal love of animals, having a “furry friend” can be very beneficial to people. As any good public health student would ask, where is the evidence for this? I will leave it to you to Google, but suffice it to say, there is plenty. Now let me tell you how to make friends in Atlanta that might be a little smaller and hairier than average

Even though I couldn’t bring Baron with me to Atlanta,  many students have brought pets  and some have gotten them since moving. This includes my roommate, who got a kitten when we moved to Atlanta. Now I have an additional roommate named Leopold Patrick,

Leopold Patrick

who goes by Leo and basically runs our apartment. Leo was adopted from one of the shelters run by the Atlanta Humane Society.


Since moving here, the Atlanta Humane Society has become one of my favorite places to go for a study break. Not only do I get to play with all of these cute animals, but a lot of the volunteers appreciate having other people to help socialize the animals so they are comfortable with people when they are adopted. The Atlanta Humane Society is a great place to volunteer and learn more about pet adoptions upon moving to Atlanta.

But you don’t always have to leave campus to get your cute animal fix. Rollins is here to help! Emory Mental Health Alliance (EMHA) has events that include puppies due to the positive effect animals can have on people’s mental well-being. This is a large part of the reason why therapy animals have become part of the culture related to mental health. Also, Emory’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) has a full-time therapy dog to help students and they are frequently at spotted at university events (Her name is BEOWULF!).

Beowulf, the therapy dog

Just a last thought for you animal lovers, Atlanta is very pet friendly with many parks that allow animals, as well as restaurants that have seating for people who bring their pets. For those of you who are not animal fans, don’t worry there are plenty of spots to be found where you won’t run into any critters!

*Advisory Warning: having furry friends is probably not one of the better ways to spend your time in Atlanta if you have allergies (especially for the months of March and April).

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