Meet Staff and Dancers Who Rescued Their Beloved 4-Legged Friends

Atlanta Ballet is supporting The Homeless Pets Foundation again during our run of Atlanta Ballet's Nutcracker by collecting animal and office supplies. You can drop them off with us at The Fox Theatre through December 18 (click here for a general wish list) or you can click here for the Foundation's Amazon wish list. Thank you for your support!

This cause is near and dear to our hearts. Below are some personal pet rescue and adoption stories from Atlanta Ballet staff and dancers.

Rachel Van Buskirk, Atlanta Ballet company dancer
I got Henna, my oldest kitty, at Atlanta Humane Society. I had a long break at work and went to "just visit." It was obviously true love and meant to be but I had to go back to dance. For the rest of rehearsal, I was thinking of her and itching to get back to her. So as soon as I was done, I ran back over to make it official! Mitsou, my youngest cat, I found online through Southern Animal Rescue. I went to go see her sister Gilly actually. Their mom was found pregnant with a broken leg behind a dumpster. She was a beautiful cat and was getting around fine even though her leg had healed incorrectly and stuck out stiff. Mitsou made an impression on us with her fiery temperament so we brought her home that day! She's been living up to that impression ever since.

Alan Strange, IT/Database Coordinator
This is Tusken. A lovable adorable ball of fluff that was unceremoniously dropped off in front of our apartment. She got along well with the children and the other animals in the neighborhood so we took her in. Her hobbies include playing in mud and napping on clean laundry whenever possible. We’re also pretty sure she thinks she is a dog.

This is Rider. We found him when he was a tiny kitten….or rather, he found us. He is very sweet, and fiercely protective of our children. He’s also an avid hunter and likes to share his gifts.

Leslie Campbell Judge, Atlanta Ballet Boutique General Manager
Our family has rescued mutts for decades now, and I am sharing photos of a few of these amazing family members. One was about to be put down at Cherokee Humane Society, one was thrown away in a cardboard box and left at the door of Petsmart at Northpoint (best of the bunch), and one was rescued from a Lab group that had an adoption day for their mixed breed dogs, harder to place. These sweet furry angels have been the center of our families life, so appreciative of any kindness. We can never give them an iota of what they have given to us. Bring on the puppies!

Tricia Ekholm, Chief Marketing Officer
Cleo was found in a grocery store parking lot by Sharon, Dean of the Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education. Cleo was maybe 6 weeks old when she was found. Sharon nursed her to health, and then we adopted her.

Corinne Weintraub, Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education Associate
I adopted my cat, Boss, about a year and a half ago. When I first saw him, he was hiding under the crates, hissing at all the other cats in the shelter. When I was taking him home, I hadn't even opened his carrier when he started purring. He was so happy to be out of the shelter. He's a loving and dopey cat, who rarely ever leaves my side!

Mary French, Operations Director
We found Memphis 10 years ago at Bully Breed Rescue in Ohio as a 10-week-old puppy. He was supposed to be a fighting dog, but in our house he only fights for room on the sofa! Cute and 80 lbs of snuggle!

Lindsay Smith, Associate Director of Ticketing & Patron Services
When my husband and I first moved in together, a kitten (older, just on the verge of cathood) showed up in our front yard one day. "Don't pet it! Don't feed it!" I said because I didn't really want a pet. She had no intention of leaving though; she curled up on our front step and went to sleep. Two days later we thought she was gone until we realized she had gotten herself stuck up a tree in our front yard! My husband decided to put a can of tuna at the bottom of the tree to encourage her to get down, and I said, "Fine, but once she eats that tuna, she'll belong to us forever, like Persephone." That's how our Persephone got her name, and she's been with us for 12 years now. We always say she was our first child.

Julia Berg, PR Manager
This is Zeke. I adopted him about six years ago when I was living and working in Austin, TX from an organization called Austin Dog Rescue. I knew he was meant to be my best furry friend as soon as I saw him! Zeke makes us laugh every day with his sweet and a goofy personality - he brings so much joy to our family and friends. Zeke and I have been through so much together, and I can't imagine my life without him in it! When he is not napping, Zeke loves to chase squirrels in the backyard, wiggle on his back, chase his tail, and snuggle up with his owners on the couch.